The Long Lasting Impact of a Great Teacher 

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For Glynn Sergeant

My first year at high school was one I did not enjoy very much, largely due to the fact that the subject I LOVED most was delivered in a most uninspiring way. My very formal and traditional music teacher commented to my mother at a parent teacher meeting, that I had “no aptitude” for music despite getting 93% for my music exam and playing for multiple assemblies (I wonder if she even knew who she was talking about?). Very odd.

Anyway – I voted with my feet and went to the local high school for 4th Form. Best thing I ever did. That’s where I met Glynn in 1981 and from the first class – I knew I was in the right place.

Pink Floyd

Anyone who ever went through Mr Sergeant’s class remembers “Be Careful with that Axe Eugene” being played while we tried to fathom what it was all about. Glynn’s passion for Pink Floyd was legendary. In fact the passion he exudes for music was so overt that you couldn’t help but be caught up in that yourself.

I remember him playing us things like “Stimmung” by Karlheinz Stockhausen – my first exposure to chance music. We got to explore all manner of music which was fuelled by his study at Ak Uni with John Rimmer, who also ended up teaching me years later.

Double Bass

I went to a concert by the Police at the Logan Campbell Centre in 1982 and saw Sting play the double bass. We had one at school, so a week later I started learning bass. Playing this instrument was pretty uncommon and this gave me a key to many opportunities which I would otherwise not have received – especially once I got to Ak Uni.

As a bass player I became very popular with composers and played the works of many of my peers, as well playing in the uni orchestra which exposed me to a very wide range of music and techniques and helped to develop me personally.

Harmony Singing and Chamber Music

I love singing and resonating with other people and it started with Glynn. I have never forgotten singing “Quitting Time” by the Roches with two good friends – one of whom remains a best friend to this day. The pleasure of singing in multiple part harmonies is bliss.

Thursday mornings were early starts with the string trio chamber group (plus me on piano). I played the cello part on piano and we learned “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart. I loved the range of music I was encouraged to immerse myself and it has helped me to be very broad minded musically.

Music School

I hadn’t imagined going to University to study music but Glynn suggested it, I applied straight out of yr 12 and was surprised but delighted to be selected. Auckland University was an extension of the exploration and hunger for musical learning that was ignited at school by Glynn.

I visited Glynn and his wife Val in my regalia when I graduated for both my B.MUs and my M.Mus (hons) because I wanted Glynn to see tangible evidence of his influential teaching.

Music Teacher

In 1991 – ten years after stepping into his classroom – I went to Teachers Training College to complete my Dip.Tchg. I had done some teaching before this but this was the formalising of my qualifications and intentions to become a full time classroom teacher. After 27 years in the classroom I remain a committed classroom teacher who wants to be the best teacher I can be, rather than to become a manager – I believe in the master teacher who hones the art of teaching over their lifetime. This is what I saw Glynn model.

Love and Family

One of the most wonderful outcomes from the hands of Glynn was when we co-wrote a song for the school production of Zigger Zagger. The song was for the “judge” and “policeman” characters to literally sing their conversation – I can still sing the whole thing. I was the judge and a young man named Nigel was the policeman. We had to spend a bit of time together at lunchtimes practicing the song…and now we have been together for 32 years and have two children (20 and 16). Not many music teachers have that level of lifelong impact!

I love my family!

I love music!

I love my job!

I am forever grateful.

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