We are big fans of Nigel Patrick here at Small City, Big Personality. Abou three years ago I wandered into the Acoustic Music Workshop where Nigel, Edis and Susan run private lessons and group workshops. Before long I had rekindled my love of playing a musical instrument and was signed up for ukelele, blues guitar, rhythm guitar, classical guitar and was even attending seminars on singing. Just two weeks after I started playing the ukulele he had me up on stage the day after the Christmas lights were turned on playing and singing Status Quo songs!
They are such a lovely, patient knowledgeable bunch of people that I couldn't get enough. In his previous life, Nigel worked in I.T. and although he enjoyed it immensely he was always thinking about music. He soon realised that no matter what job he did music would always be a distraction and so five years ago he made the bold decision to jack it all in and follow his dream. He set up the Acoustic Music Workshop with his friend and now business partner Edis and with Susan joining in soon after.
He works on his lesson plans in the morning and in the afternoon he gives lessons in schools, students homes or at the workshops premises on the shore road. Basically anywhere he can bring an instrument and plug in his projector. Nigel took some time out of his busy musical schedule to sit down and have a chat about his work, his music and supercomputers in today's Workdays and Weekends article
Tell us the weirdest / funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
Working in IT in the early 1980s was fascinating. Computers were massive back then and were often located in purpose-built computer suites with double glazed windows. Other employees could gaze through at the many flashing lights and flickering terminals. Every new machine that appeared meant lots of associated training for us techies. In 1985 I spent 6 weeks in Holland learning about a very large and expensive computer that one of our customers had just purchased. There were 8 of us on the course, six Dutch, one Austrian and me. The course was meant to be in English but the instructor was Dutch and very soon he was just talking to the Dutch guys in Dutch and ignoring the Austrian guy and myself. I quickly made friends with Manfred even though he didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any German. I still don’t understand how the 6 weeks were so funny and informative and yet I never learned a word of Dutch or German. Manfred appeared to be of the same mind.
What signals the start of your days off?
Days off start with planning where and when we go for a walk. Never anything challenging, just a couple of hours maximum. Usually in the afternoon so we don’t have to rush anywhere. Every walk must include a café /coffee shop/cake shop. This is a deal breaker! I won't go otherwise.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I was a chef at a Michelin 2 star restaurant for a weekend. The average spend per diner was £100. I have never done this before or since.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
Visiting New Orleans, the home of Jazz and Blues. There are many US Cities claiming a musical heritage like Memphis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia etc but New Orleans is the one with the best street music, the best food, the best climate. Do you remember the James Bond film where a New Orleans funeral band play the most wonderful slow soulful funeral march? I think I saw that film in 1970 and have wanted to visit the place ever since.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Apart from ‘picking tatties’ in October I once sold Betterware products door to door (the things we did as penniless students). Betterware was a cheaper version of Tupperware back in the 1970s. I never made much money at this. Sometimes an old dear would ask for an item but have no way of paying for it. I never had the heart to take the brush/mop/tea towel back off her. I would just let her keep it for free.
Who or what inspires you?
Tough question. So many musical heroes to choose from. My biggest inspiration has to be the most fearsome, soulful, annoying, gifted musician to have come out of America in my lifetime. Nina Simone.
Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?
Any summers day at the seaside on a Scottish sandy beach with music on the radio, sandwiches in the cool box, tea in the flask and ice cream at a nearby café.
What’s the best part about your job?
Seeing my students grow and flourish. Learning a musical instrument is more than just mastering the instrument, it is about mastering life. Having confidence in your voice or in playing an instrument is the route to a successful life. All of my students can learn to play or sing.
Complete this sentence; the best things in life are….
often found when lost in music.
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