Influencers #1 : Mr Spikes & Miss Davies

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting a few short blogs about people, places or things that have had a big influence on me and my music.

First up, Mr Spikes & MIss Davies.

My secondary school music teachers. Both total legends!

What Mr (Roger) Spikes showed me was that there was good music in nearly every genre. He disregarded the classical hierarchy with glee – he would teach us about Ravel and Debussy and Stravinsky but also Radiohead, Aretha Franklin and Natalie Merchant. He’d get us singing Bach and Eurhythmics in the same concert. I was reminiscing with some old friends recently and we could all recall Mr Spikes playing REM’s ‘Nightswimming’ to 700 odd pupils in a school assembly. I remember crying. That song still makes me cry. Something about the combination of the strings and Michael Stipes’ voice and songwriting.

Miss (Jan) Davies, who died the year after I finished school, amongst many other things taught us Bach in a brilliant and gentle way. There were only 4 of us doing Music A Level and on Friday afternoons, we had 2 hours of harmonising Bach chorales (as far as my foggy memory can recall). She unravelled the mysteries of harmony before our ears and taught us about perfect, imperfect and plagal cadences and leading notes and dominant 7ths and all the knowledge that I take for granted now. She also showed us that Bach broke his own ‘rules’ regularly, something which I still have to remind myself of when I tie myself in harmonic knots. I often use the mantra ‘What Would Bach Do’ but also remember that I don’t have to do that - sometimes parallel fifths are exactly what’s required!

These two, alongside my inspiring piano and cello teachers, helped to lay the musical foundations which hold me steady to this day.

Immense gratitude to Roger and Jan! xx

My new album 'Where Does It Hurt? An Introduction to Katy Rose Bennett' comes out on October 30th 2020. You can pre-order it from my bandcamp here as well as via all the usual digital platforms from the day of release.



RT @awquietrevhfm: 2/4 Plus on 22 June’s playlist music from @josienneclarke @outsidechild13 @WillVarleyMusic @Qwahamaman @VanWyckMusic @kt

3 hrs ago

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