Teaching & Research
Louise has been lecturing in the jazz area of the Queensland Conservatorium since she migrated to Brisbane in 1999, and she now holds the position of Senior Lecturer. As a full-time staff member, her duties include teaching, research and administrative service. She served as head of area from 2001 to 2013.
Louise feels that teaching is an essential part of being a musician. Music is a treasure which belongs to all of humanity, and there is something deeply satisfying about sharing knowledge and insights with like-minded (mostly young) people. While she is able and willing to impart knowledge and model good practice to her students, she finds that her life is equally enriched by their enthusiasm for learning and different perspectives on music.
Her areas of teaching specialization are ear training, composition and of course teaching piano, but she has also lectured in literature courses, directed ensembles and taught theory and small group arranging. She is currently deeply involved in supervision of research candidates at the Masters and Doctoral levels. (Anyone who has taught jazz at the tertiary level in Australia will understand the need to be an adept multi-tasker!).
Louise is a proponent of the Third Stream Ear Training method, developed by the extraordinary musical genius, Ran Blake, during his tenure as a lecturer at New England Conservatory. The core practice in this aural training method is the memorization and singing of melodies. While the melodies maybe selected from a wide range of musical traditions and genres, they could equally be selected from only one style or genre for the purposes of specialization. Memorizing melodies by ear and learning to reproduce them vocally is a profound way to learn music. Your ear comes to understand not only the basic pitch and rhythmic materials in the melody, but also (for example) the song form, the groove, the harmonic structure, the relationship of the melody to the harmony, the way the soloist interprets the melody, his or her individual approach to phrasing, intonation, dynamics, melodic embellishment, as well as the meaning of the lyrics if there are any, and/or the possible extra-musical meaning of the piece. Music studied in this way enters the long-term memory, becoming a resource for future composition and improvisation. Ran Blake’s Primacy of the Ear which presents this method in detail, is highly recommended to anyone who wants to find out more about this approach to aural development.
Louise’s principal research focus has been her artistic practice as a performer and composer. She is also interested in the implications of gender in jazz, given that there are comparatively few successful, high profile female artists not only in Australia, but anywhere in the world. Her Doctoral studies focused on her own development as an artist in a variety of male-dominated music communities, and this inevitably inspired an interest in the experiences of women musicians in general. Her paper ‘Perspectives on the Melbourne Women’ International Jazz Festival’ was published in the Jazz Research Journal in 2014.