Here at Musical U, we are constantly inspired by the stories of our members. We all have our own successes and accomplishments. Through sharing, we can help others reach their goals.
As our community grows, we like to take the opportunity to highlight some of our most inspiring members. This month, WoolC offered to sit down with us and answer a few questions, discussing some of her biggest successes and challenges as a lifelong musician.
WoolC began playing piano in 1953 in her homeland of Jamaica. She has an incredible background in education, teaching various subjects such as Spanish, English, Math, Music Theory; and also trained choirs and entered them in music festivals. In 1992, WoolC traveled from the US to Cambodia and began teaching English as a second language shortly after receiving an MA in TEFL.
Musical U: Thank you, WoolC, for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Welcome!
WC: Thank you for inviting me!
MU: Let’s start with some basics. Where did your user name come from?
WC: My late father, Cecil Woolery, was a self taught musician, choir director, and nit-picking theorist who, against all odds, insisted that his four daughters should have piano lessons.
MU: What are a few of your favorite songs?
WC: My favorite tracks are “Refresh My Heart, Lord” by Hillsong Music Australia, Alvin Slaughter’s “Thanks, Thanks, I Give You Thanks,” and Beethoven’s 4th Symphony.
MU: What instruments do you play?
WC: Organ, piano, viola, and I am planning to learn the guitar.
MU: Before joining Musical U, what were you feeling stuck with?
WC: My plan was to return to Cambodia as a music teacher, not an administrator. I had certificates but had lost the skills. I needed to improve in every area. My attempts at taking private lessons had failed.
My listening skills were appalling and I was simply aching to improve those. I could sit at a desk and harmonise a melody following the “rules,” but I couldn’t hear what I was writing.
I had passed an exam in which I sat at a desk and wrote a melody to eight lines of Shakespeare and then harmonized it for SATB, but I couldn’t hear what I was writing. That was driving me mad!
I had to improve my listening skills! I must be able to unravel melodies! Talk about being frustrated! I must be able to recognise chord progressions…How? Where? When? You could say I WAS STUCK alright! Where next do I turn for help?
Joining a Community
MU: How did you become interested in Musical U? Why did you decide to try it?
WC: I had contacted Easy Ear Training about signing up two years earlier and was receiving e-mails regularly, but never followed through. Christopher was relentless. I had a file in which I used to put his emails UNREAD. It was about music, so I wouldn’t delete them. (After joining MU, I went back, opened each email and read all of them.)
However, I had a lot of difficulty getting started. Stella and Christopher stuck with me. My computer skills are at the Pre-K Level and my greatest fear was that I would never be able to navigate the system.
I’ve discovered that there are others like myself who do not have it all “together.”
MU: How have you benefited from Musical U so far? Why is it important to you?
WC: From my youth, say 11 years old, when I started piano, music was on the perimeter of my life. It was an addition – an extra activity. I excelled, but academics were number one.
All through life, 74 years, it had been side-lined.
I really enjoyed going through the modules. I began to experience a new freedom and joy. Here I am concentrating on music and finding a new release. I believe music is my main gift!
I was meant to be a musician.
My attitude towards people, my attitude towards life, my attitude towards myself have changed for the better since I am focusing primarily on music. Musical U is the tool that was used to bring about this change.
That is why it is so important to me. I am working on my Expert Training Plan from Musical U that is leading towards my goals.
ALL my life I wanted to write classical music but I am focusing on modern songwriting at present and also looking carefully into the composition of bands. I am looking closely at this and the harmonies of all types of popular music because I realise that that’s what’s played in churches now.
MU: How do you keep track of your goals? Do you use a practice journal?
WC: When I started with MU, I bought a notebook and that was my journal. In it, I started to record my daily activities with MU, stating the date, time, and work accomplished. This has fallen by the wayside. I have noticed that members are reporting on their PJ activities on the website itself.
I have been encouraged by other members’ reports on their progress. Today I received an email from someone working on intervals who was listening to music on the bus and trying to name the intervals!
That really perked my interest because I spend many hours on public transportation. I listen and try to decipher, and I know how it feels to finally begin to feel as if you are getting somewhere.
WoolC hopes to expand her musical education even further with Musical U and enjoys the flexibility MU provides, allowing her to work at her own pace. For now, learning new skills is her top priority. Her commitment to music and her education make for a powerful story of determination. As a woman who is truly meant to be a musician, WoolC still has much to teach and create in the world of music.
Thank you for speaking with us, WoolC. We can’t wait to see the great things you accomplish!
Interested in becoming a part of our community? Join Musical U and start your journey in music education today.
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