Jingarah Music Studio
My name is Geoffrey (Geoff), (Geoffers), Preece. My last name is often heard as "Priest" when people first hear it, so I have had nicknames such as Priesty, and Rev. I've also been called "Cro", short for Cro-Magnon, because some people think I look look like a caveman. (In my sensitive moments I can get offended by such insults.) I sometimes have long hair, sometimes short, sometimes a bushy beard, sometimes close cropped, but always a beard.
My Musical Life
I have been playing the piano since I was 8 years old. I started piano lessons with Patricia Halpin as my teacher in the Sutherland Shire, and progressed reasonably well through my school years. I achieved AMEB 3rd grade early on and then took a break from the exam system for some years until I completed AMEB 7th grade for my Higher School Certificate.
Post school years I was not sure which direction to take with many options available. I was employed as a science research assistant for a while and contemplated a scientific career, but this was not to be. I started a Bachelor of Arts degree at Sydney University, with Music and Philosophy being two of the subjects in the course. It was not a happy experience and I only lasted 6 months before I became a farmer for a couple of years with my Mum and Dad growing tomatoes, citrus and zucchinis.
I then decided that Music in some form or other was going to be my future, and I practised the piano for 6 months, at least 6 hours a day, with the express purpose of getting in to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. I applied for the Bachelor in Music Education Course and was accepted.
Starting in 1979, I completed the course in 1983, doing an extra year, so that I could concentrate on the mini thesis required for the course and some extra curricular musical activities that I wanted to experience before going out to teach.
My pianistic skills continued to improve and I had some good experiences playing concert pieces for and with my fellow students, and even being the rehearsal pianist for the Conservatorium Choir in their production of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, under the tutelage of the recently deceased, sadly missed Richard Gill. I kept going through the Conservatorium grades with Isadore Goodman and Gerard Willems as my teachers respectively. To be clear, I was an average talent amongst my alumni.
Through the B.M.E. course I was extremely frustrated with my lack of ability in the area of the Musical Ear. I sang out of tune, I could not recognise intervals, chords, or remember/repeat rhythms accurately. My piano education never included that sort of training, and I was way behind most of my peers. I have improved over time but it remains the most frustrating part of my musical life.
After I received my teaching degree I decided I wanted the freedom of teaching privately, so I took up teaching piano rather than going in to the high school education system. I built up my clientele to a good number and had decided to increase my pianistic skills to the highest level that I could reach. I took up the position of accompanist and performer for a local theatre company's production of West Side Story. Practising eight hours a day quite often, and teaching many hours a week took their toll and I damaged my tendons in my shoulders so badly that I could not play the piano again for a year, and from then on could only practice a minimal amount without pain, so my ambition was pretty much shot to pieces.
However, I was asked to be musical director for another show soon after, and I took up the challenge even though I could not play very much without pain and could mostly only conduct.
My physical fortunes did improve over time with some excellent work from an osteopath I found, after many months of searching for someone to help me with my rehabilitation, and I gradually improved to the point of being able to play again and practice for limited amounts of time. The pain has never completely disappeared but it is manageable.
I have played in rock bands like “Now for the Weather” and “Strawb’ry Blond”, played in trios and duos and an originals band called “Bouddi” with my good friend Christopher Sainsbury, click (now a composition lecturer at the Australian National University in Canberra) writing the material and playing guitar.
I have been musical director for a number of shows with the Gosford Musical Society and played in the Orchestra Pit for many others. I have also played keyboard for a number of independent productions such as Jon English’s “Paris”. (see the pre show rockumentary parody by clicking about 50 seconds in - I don’t actually drink alcohol at all despite what I say in the video).