“Sometimes I feel I am dancing in the music”:An Interview with the Didgeridoo Man (Chris Holland)

Matthew What feelings do you experience whilst playing the didgeridoo?

Both emotional and physical feelings.  I feel like my breath and rhythm is all one thing.  Sometimes I feel I am dancing in the music.

Morgan When was the first didgeridoo made?

(Chris told us a story about the Dreamtime and an Aborigine.)  In the Dreamtime, an Aborigine blew into a piece of wood which was full of termites.  He wanted to blow out the termites so he could have them for his dinner.  He blew into the wood and the termites flew out spreading out over the land.  They then lifted up and became the Milky Way.

Aborigines have a completely different time to us.  Their time is Dreamtime, our time uses numbers.

Ella Do you think it’s good for us to learn about Australia and would you do it personally?

I think it’s great for your whole school to learn about Australia and across the whole year.  It is a fascinating country and it is a great idea.

Robyn – What inspired you to play the didgeridoo?

I was working in a shop in Bath which sold didgeridoos.  I loved the sound of them and I wanted to learn more.  There was a CD playing with didgeridoo music and I liked the sound of it.

Sophie Who got you interested in the didgeridoo?

A guy called Mark Robson from a band called ‘Kangaroo Moon’.

Iman – How did you learn to play the didgeridoo?

I taught myself by practising and practising and listening to didgeridoo music.

Emily – How long have you been playing the didgeridoo? 

I started when I was 23 and I’ve been playing for 17 years.

Courtney Does anyone else in your family play?

A few have tried but just for fun!

Jago – How many didgeridoos do you have? I’ve got 100 practice ones that I take into schools and 9 other didgeridoos that I play on which are made of metal and wood.  I’ve also got a tromberidoo- a combination of a didgeridoo and a trombone.

Mollie – Do you have a favourite didgeridoo?

It changes from day to day.  I don’t have a particular favourite, it is whatever feels right on the day.

Mr Whitewick – Do you ever get to play with others?

I mostly play on my own but I use to be in a band called ‘Jabberwocky’.  I don’t get to play with others very often.  I was the only didgeridoo player in the group.

Mr Whitewick – Do you ever get to play with other didgeridoo players?

Sometimes.  When you all play in tune together the sound you create can be amazing.  The music penetrates.  It gets into your bones.

Matthew – Do you enjoy teaching people?

I love it.  When they are inspired it is great fun.  Sometimes they surprise themselves by using circular breathing without trying to!

Mollie – What can didgeridoos be made out of?

Metal, wood, glass, plastic, fibreglass and pottery.

Mr Whitewick Is it easier for kids to learn to play then adults?

No, it’s not easier for kids than adults but kids tend to learn quicker.  If you really want to learn, you will.

Freya – Can you play any other instruments?

I can play percussion instruments because of the didgeridoo.

Iman – Can you play the didgeridoo for a certain length of time?

Not really.  You keep going until your lips don’t want to work.  The longest time I’ve played for is about 12-13 minutes.  Some players can go for up to 45 minutes.

Mollie – Which didgeridoos don’t  you have?

I don’t have a glass, fibreglass or metal one.

Mr Whitewick – Is there a certain didgeridoo you would love to have?

I’d love to have a slide didgeridoo but they’re expensive.

Emily – Was it hard to learn how to play?

I found it hard and I got frustrated at times because it felt that I hadn’t learned anything new.  When you are frustrated it is better to put it down and leave it alone and come back to it later.  I found that when I came back to it, I realised I had learned new things and was getting better.

Iman – Can you play any other instruments because you know how to play the didgeridoo? 

Circular breathing helps with instruments like a saxophone, clarinet and trumpet.

(Chris told us about when he went to Australia about 14 years ago he met a man who could play the didgeridoo.  He’s also a writer and he writes books for teenagers.  His name is Scot Gardner so maybe you could check out some of his books.- Matthew)

Do you do private lessons as well as going into schools?

Yes, I also do some performances.  I have got 2 claims to fame.  The first one was when I played with Rolf Harris and his  band.  My second one was when Eric Clapton signed my didgeridoo.

Ella – Where did you visit when you went to Australia?

Mostly the East Coast between Brisbane and Melbourne.  My favourite place to visit is Bald Rock which is the second biggest single rock in Australia after Ayers Rock.

Sophie – How long do you practise for?

I practise 10 minutes a day but I haven’t been practising at all lately!  I must get back to it!

Mr Whitewick – When your feeling sad or unhappy does playing the didgeridoo help?

Sometimes, it helps me feel better when I do.

Interview by the whole blogging group and recorded by Matthew.

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15 responses »

  1. Matthew, I think it is amazing that you managed to record the interview and write it up- all within two hours of it taking place. It is an excellent blog entry because it has appeared on the first day of Chris’s two day visit. Well done!

  2. Pingback: didgeridoo teacher interviewed in trowbridge

  3. Chris was really interesting. He was really helpful and his didgeridoo playing was absolutely fantastic. I wish he could’ve stayed longer!

  4. Chris Holland was amazing. I watched the faces of all our pupils when he was telling stories and it was clear that everybody was captivated. I am so glad I ‘googled’ the term ‘Didgeridoo Man’ and came across Chris. Wouldn’t it be great if he came back later this year!

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