Teacher profile – Paul Gagen

Paul Gagen was born into music. Coming from a musical family (his Dad was a drummer and pretty mean harmonica player), by the tender age of three, he was found sitting on the amplifier owned by the guitarist in the band of his older brother, Brian.  He was their smallest groupie. That band (The Planets) went on to play support to The Beatles on the Brisbane leg of their Australian tour in 1964.

It was from this time that his love and fascination for music grew, particularly for the guitar. His older sister bought him a tired, steel-stringed ¾ sized tempo acoustic guitar from a local Brisbane pawnshop when he was 13. It was the hardest instrument to learn on, however in his own words, he became “obsessive” about playing and since then, over many years, he has honed his skills to become an accomplished and talented musician. It may be for this reason that when young students or parents come to him for advice on selecting a guitar, he encourages them to buy a quality instrument from the beginning.

Paul has been adored by thousands of children over the years, who know him as “Mr Gagen”. He has inspired them through his special music teaching style and genuine kindness. He has a very simple philosophy when it comes to music: immerse children in the right musical environment, and their fascination with music will grow. From that fascination, the skills will follow.

Leading by example, Paul teaches kids that it’s more than OK to love music, and his contagious love for music affects everyone. Paul sings and plays guitar, bass, mandolin and piano. His music tastes are eclectic and he listens and plays any and every kind of music imaginable. This makes him able to tailor his lessons to every budding musician’s style and taste.

Paul has over 20 years experience as a primary school classroom music teacher and 25 years as a private instrumental teacher. He holds a Diploma of Education (Primary Music) from QUT and a Bachelor of Education from James Cook University. Paul worked as a professional and semi-professional musician from 1972 until the 1990s doing band gigs, solo work, musicals and other performances in restaurants, pubs and clubs. He performed in the highly regarded Brisbane jazz band, Scat!, as a singer and guitarist. Scat! performed at Expo ’88, and toured northern Europe in 1990. Paul was personally awarded an Australia Day Council Cultural Award in 1994 for his exceptional music teaching work in Bowen, North Queensland.

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