Even though Elliot only moved from the UK recently, he already feels embedded in the Fintona community. ‘I have never taught at a school where the students’ passion for learning is so outwardly obvious, where the level of mutual respect is consistently outstanding, and where the commitment to learning outside the classroom is so overwhelmingly positive,’ he said.
Have you always wanted to work in education?
After leaving school I ended up taking a gap year as I couldn’t decide if I wanted to study music or biomedical sciences. I clearly settled on music and studied a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in jazz musical performance and composition at Birmingham Conservatoire and then gained my teaching qualification.
What musical instruments did you learn growing up?
At primary school, I started on the classic children’s instrument, the recorder! I quickly moved on to piano and trumpet. I was a member of six ensembles during high school and five whilst at college. I now play the trumpet, piano, trombone, euphonium and French horn.
What skills are important when teaching music?
For me, an openness to creativity and an awareness that music is subjective, much like an art form. There is no right or wrong way to create music and it is a very humbling feeling. I also believe that music should be fun. The most challenging skill to master is that of knowledge. I always want to be able to teach a broad range of musical topics and styles, which requires me to have a strong understanding of these. I am constantly developing my understanding of new styles of music to best educate the students.
‘I have never taught at a school where the students’ passion for learning is so outwardly obvious.’
Tell us about some of the rewarding aspects of teaching?
Watching students overcome hurdles, whether that be in my classroom, an orchestral environment or just in day-to-day activities is a hugely rewarding aspect of my job. For me, it is incredibly gratifying to see the impact I have on the students and watching them grow through the positive interactions they have with staff and other students is the reason I came in to teaching.
Music concerts are also a big area of enjoyment for me. Watching the school bands and orchestras progress over several weeks and perform at the highest standard gives me hope that music will always be an integral part of our students’ development.
What brings you happiness?
Since moving to Australia, I have become a massive fan of gardening. I’ve converted half of my garden into a vegetable plot and now grow 20 to 30 types of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. I also play tennis with both my wife and our friends. I’m a big nature lover and really enjoy hiking and in Australia, so far, I’ve hiked at Wilson’s Prom, Cathedral Ranges and the Otway National Park.