Everyone is Music


Ep 04 Dr Rod Paton

Ep. 4

In this episode I talk with Dr Rod Paton, musician, writer, composer, educator and creator of the Lifemusic method.

We chatted in my car after meeting for lunch the day after I attended one of Rod's Lifemusic workshops.

I start the conversation by asking Rod about Lifemusic [4:10] and Rod talks about how he came to begin its development via some time researching community choirs in Germany. Rod talks about the folk song tradition in Germany at that time, playing in a community ensemble there and his realisation about a way of making music that bypasses commercial and traditional classical music models.

Rod talks about grade teaching [7:18] and particularly singing traditions and deciding that he wanted to explore improvisation and its inherently inclusive properties.

Improvisation [7:53] is, as I say in the intro, at the heart of Rod's work and we talk more about this.

Rod discusses notation [9.43] and the different parts of the brain being used and what can happen when you take it away creating "risks" [10:41] and the freedom that can be found.

I then ask Rod about "rules" and "holding forms" [12:23] and how he came to create them. The term Holding form comes from a book by Robert Witkin , The intelligence of Feeling.

We discuss recording our work [16:18] and recorded music in general and what a recent phenomena it is within the history of music. Rod equates it to the the Observer Effect [17.43] (we both confused it with the uncertainty principle! We meant that when you observe a thing it changes from a wave to a particle) in that when you know that you are being recorded you will move into "performer" mode rather than pure "feeling" mode. Rod talks about the industry of recorded music and how we may look back on this period as a mere blip within music history.

Rod talks about his love of and relationship with Moravian folk music [21:43] and with the Czech Rebublic.

Rod then mentions his Tedx Talk and how he discussed that sometimes consumed music can feel like a drug [24:23] and because we have so much recorded music, like inflation, it becomes devalued and does not meet music's real function [27:48]

Rod then talks about his love of Bach [28:18] and how he developed a workshop piece out of this.

Finally Rod expands our knowledge of the Lifemusic Holding Forms [31:07]

Lifemusic website

Rod's Tedx Talk

Eternal Guitars

My links

Open Mic Improvisation - NB as we talk about in the show, recording Lifemusic sessions changes the dynamic. This improvisation was made in a performance context and therefore is not an example of a Lifemusic session but certainly a good example of improvised music making. I mention the musician Keith Sutton in the intro, however his performing name is "Drone in the Woods"

More Episodes


Ep 12 Emma Hughes

Ep. 12
Welcome to episode 12.This week my guest is Emma Hughes. Emma is the choir coordinator and director at Soundabout (Listen to Ep 7 with Clare Cook) and was instrumental in developing their work and delivery over Zoom during the Pandemic Lockdowns. Emma talks about the organic growth of her roles at Soundabout and particularly choir leading and setting up the tech.When I first contacted Emma, she was out on tour and I finally got to ask her where, what, with whom.Emma reveals that for the past 11 years she has been the live Bass player for Kate Nash and had been on tour with Kate in Germany. The portfolio career model is truly alive and very well. Emma talks about how she got the gig with Kate whilst an undergraduate studying performance and writing her dissertation on Music Therapy whilst on tour. Through working as a TA in SEN schools, Emma's interest in this area grew and she began to build her music practice over the ensuing years.Emma talks about the upcoming program at Soundabout and then we talk about Emma's journey into community music, the organic nature of this. We talk about music in society and how as working practitioners we begin to unpick formal training and develop new ways of thinking, playing and teaching through our work. Emma touches upon Christopher Small's idea of 'Musicking' and how all of the people surrounding music, the bar staff, the venue, the ticket seller, for example, all play a role in the activity of making music. I'm sure we can all resonate with this idea.As this episode goes out, Emma is on her way to Glastonbury Festival to perform 2 shows with Sam Brookes. I look forward to catching up with Emma in the months to come as I'm sure that her career in music will only continue to be a fascinating one.SoundaboutKate Nash Touring LifeSam BrookesEternal GuitarsAll My Links