Andrew Baker is leaping straight into his role as the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music’s new Lachlan division director.
Mr Baker, an accomplished violinist, recently took over the role from Margaret Willmott, who retired after many years with the conservatorium.
While he is still settling into his role at the Forbes-based school of music, Mr Baker is already tuning up his instrument for a workshop for adult string musicians.
The workshop will take place over three days from September 21-23 and is set to bring up to 50 violinists, cellists, bassists and viola players from all over the state to Forbes.
Mr Baker said musicians of any standard were able to join in.
“The workshop will be for any age of adult, any standard and even those who haven’t played before but want to learn,” Mr Baker said.
However string ensembles from Sydney, Canberra and Wagga Wagga have already indicated they will attend, along with staff from the Australian National University School of Music, who Mr Baker said were keen to expand their network to regional areas.
The new director said the workshop presented an exciting opportunity for string players, but he also hoped it would be an opportunity to form new social networks.
“I’m only new here, I’m a string player and I’m asking for anyone who plays, who has played or would like to play a string instrument to come along to the workshop, say hi and basically, play a string instrument with others who like the same thing,” he said.
Mr Baker said part of his role at the conservatorium was bringing music to a broader part of the population.
Andrew has taught music in Orange for the last six or seven years and while in the city, played with the Orange Symphony Orchestra, the Macquarie Philharmonic and also travelled to Wagga to play with the city’s Riverina Chamber Orchestra.
The Lachlan campus of Mitchell Conservatorium has about 10 teaching staff offering instrumental tuition, but also providing direction to musical groups like Forbes and Parkes town bands, and several community choirs.
Mr Baker said tuition is available on virtually any instrument imaginable.
“If we don’t have an instrument teacher here, we can certainly source [tuition] through Skype or video conferencing or through workshops,” he said.
“We can also provide group tuition to schools or other community organisations.”
Mr Baker said Mitchell Conservatorium has a number of performances booked for the next few months.
The students of tutor Janelle Coady will give a performance on September 16 and around the same time, the Bathurst Chamber Orchestra and Tallis Jazz Quartet will visit Forbes.
The current teaching term will also end around September and Mr Baker said anyone interested in learning or rediscovering music is welcome to contact the Lachlan campus.
“We’ve actually got a lot of room to grow,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic team here and we are ready and willing to take on more students.”