Bec Lochel is a regular at the Coorparoo jam where she has led a set or two. She was also co-leader of The CAGE and has started a new southside community band – the Sublime Ukelectics.

Finding BUMS

I have been involved with BUMs since the end of 2017. At that time, my two children were aged 1 and 3 years old and I needed some regular ‘me’ time.

I found it with the BUMS community band The CAGE.

The CAGE Christmas performance

I knew the leader Ian Phillips through music teaching, and my Mum (also a teacher) was a member of the band. She encouraged me to come along. I saw them perform at SPRUKE in 2017 along with the other BUMS bands. Everyone had so much fun together I thought this was just right for me.

Musical background

In my work as a music teacher, I have played guitar but never ukulele. Luckily, the skills transferred easily. I was soon strumming and singing along, revelling in a blissful two hours of music making without a child touching me!

I really enjoyed singing lovely harmonies with the group and broadening my ukulele chord knowledge. For me, this is very best way to learn and to play an instrument – with others! I am always so much more motivated and inspired when I’m making music with other people. It was quite a thrill to get up on the mic during performances at jams and other events in the community.

New challenges

Six months later Ian asked me to co-lead the group with him, which added another level of challenge and enjoyment. I really enjoy working on songs with a group of people, and seeing how they develop over time. For instance, adding harmonies here or adjusting strumming patterns. Trying out different voices and groups of voices for various parts and creating arrangements.

Performing with The CAGE

My experience as a music teacher (both classroom and instrumental), particularly my training in the Orff Schulwerk style of pedagogy very helpful with this side of things.

The Orff Approach

The Orff Schulwerk approach to music teaching has been a huge influence on my life. My mother started her Orff journey when I was very young and so I had the good fortune of experiencing this way of learning music from early on. Find out more here.

Orff Schulwerk is an approach to music education pioneered by German composer Carl Orff (best known perhaps for his oratorio “Carmina Burana”) in the 1920’s. It is a way of teaching music through movement and play. It is a whole-body approach where you learn by doing and experiencing music in many different ways, through body percussion, voice, dance, drama and instruments (predominantly tuned and untuned percussion).

Early Orff experiences – Becky on the left

“Tell me, I forget…show me, I remember…Involve me, I understand.” — Carl Orff

Playing with others

I have always loved making music with others. I was very lucky after moving to Australia from Africa in year 5 to have the opportunity to learn an instrument at school.

Somehow or other I ended up playing the Cello (not what my mother had suggested!). But what a beautiful instrument which allowed me many opportunities to make music with others in small groups and large orchestras.

On cello in a high school ensemble

It, along with my Orff teacher training, provided me one of my first job opportunities teaching instrumental music and music theory.

Becky with engrossed kindy kids

Today, I teach music at two kindergartens, two mornings a week.

New beginnings

With The CAGE coming to a close at the end of 2020, I couldn’t let all the fabulous music making disappear. So, I’ve have started a new BUMS group – the Sublime Ukelectics. I’m really enjoying it so far.

I try to get a good variety of songs from different eras and with differing levels of difficulty in terms of chords, strumming, harmonies etc. I encourage members to send me song suggestions which I add to my playlist for in the car and see how they grow on me! This has been a great way to find new songs for the group that I normally wouldn’t have and I look forward to some more.

Family life

Other than all of that, my time is spent running around after my growing children.

Becky with her kids

We love getting out into the garden or the forest to get grubby and climb trees. We’re always on the look-out for any opportunity to boogie, love cuddling our cats and guineapigs (although not together) and reading books! You might see me at the odd climate strike too 😊.

Keep on strumming and singing everyone – even better, get out there and do it with someone else!