The Family Tree Change

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Making their move from the big smoke to Armidale has been a life changing experience for this young family of five, with both parents being appointed teaching roles at NECOM and their three children loving every aspect of the New England life, this is their story…

Hi Paul and Louisa. You’ve recently made a life changing decision for your family and left the rat race in Sydney to make a new home for your family here in Armidale. What inspired the tree change?

We are from Waitara, just near Hornsby on the North Shore of Sydney. We have been in Armidale for about four months. We had been looking for a tree change for a while and liked the sound of Armidale. Our children love animals, and there seemed lots of ways to see nature close-up; plus, the climate is fantastic.

When we were offered a job at New England Conservatorium of Music, it sounded ideal. In Sydney we worked more by ourselves, so it is great to feel we are part of a team at NECOM. It is nice to feel supported and understood in our teaching. We like that in Armidale there are many opportunities to hear visiting artists and take part in masterclasses. These were available in Sydney, but a long way from where we lived and much more expensive. NECOM has fantastic teachers who are genuinely interested in making music available and exciting for as many people as possible.

Give us a little bit of insight about your family and professional life before relocating to Armidale …

Before coming to Armidale, we ran our own business: Sindel-Marshall Music Studio. We taught saxophone, clarinet, piano, flute and musicianship. In addition, Paul taught at Knox Grammar, and ran the band program at Waitara Public School. In Sydney we played in Marillian Saxophone Quartet and various orchestras around Sydney. Paul composes a lot of music, which have been published and used in the AMEB exam syllabus.

You both have extensive professional careers in music which have led to you being appointed teaching positions at NECOM; what do you offer?

The Old Teachers College where NECOM is situated is so beautiful; the grounds are magnificent, and our teaching studio is light and roomy. We love coming up to NECOM to teach. Our children participate in Mini Singers and Mini Minstrels each week. Both groups are run very professionally and are a lot of fun. They come out of each class happy and singing the music all week.

All activities at NECOM are affordable and of a very high standard. There are programs  to suit all ages and skill-levels. We have heard chamber ensembles, Jazz saxophone improvisations, Orchestras, ukulele groups and giant massed choirs. Everything you could possibly wish to take part in is available. It is a real meeting point for musicians from all over the area.

Something we hadn’t come across before was the way NECOM is involved with music programs from all the local schools. Students are able to participate in music groups and choirs with students from other schools, which is really nice. There are also massive workshops for high school students from the broader New England area which we have seen, and were really impressed by. We saw students doing Bollywood dancing and playing in an African Drumming Circle.

Share with us some of your favourite family activities and places to visit around Armidale …

Our three children: Myles (5), Lily (3) and Penny (1)  love Armidale. Every spare minute is spent exploring the area with our two dogs, Sebastian and Bernie. They love the ducks at the creeklands, the deers at the university, and just going for drives on dirt roads hoping to see cows! Our children participate in gymnastics and French lessons, which they really enjoy. They love books and have found Armidale library has an extensive children’s section. We have already made some close friendships, which has made settling into Armidale easier. In general, everyone we meet is friendly and helpful. Very different to Sydney!

 We studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Louisa also spent a year studying classical saxophone in Paris.

 We like the community spirit in Armidale. We were really impressed with the Autumn Festival and Uralla Lantern Festival. Everyone involved was happy and well behaved, obviously proud of where they live and wanting to have some fun.

Thanks Paul and Louisa.

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