George Trad is a teacher and musician from Sydney, Australia.
As well as being an educator, he has been a writer, designer and producer of digital multimedia, video documentaries and educational resources for the past 20 years.
The Symph is his first children’s book.
“The Symph came out of the recognition of how important music is in our lives. Through music, bridges are built, and people feel good about themselves and others.
There is a distinct shortage of resources for music in schools and this book endeavours to address some of these shortfalls. As a teacher I recognised that music had the magical ability to bring the class together in harmony In more ways than one. Musical activities led to other benefits both academically and physically. It is especially beneficial for special needs children where the therapeutic effects cannot be underestimated.
Traditionally we have been exposed to music directly through musicians playing an instrument. Now there are ways of hearing and playing music that don’t even involve seeing or touching an instrument. Indeed, individuals who have no idea of how to play an instrument at all can construct amazing music tracks.
As society changes, and technology takes a more prominent role in communication, a new and receptive audience is listening to music from many different sources.Through TV, cinema, computer games, advertising and online they hear classical music and recognise it, but they do not understand how it is created, or its role in history. Children are missing out on the understanding of a whole genre of music to which they are exposed on a daily basis.
The most recognisable classical instrument is the violin, but for many children that is as far as the recognition goes. Most adults cannot even recognise a sound and relate it to the instrument from which that sound comes.
The Symph book endeavours to address this ignorance at a basic level. It will show what an instrument looks like, and in digital variations will demonstrate what it sounds like as well.
But it is more than that. The story tries to equate society with the world of music and the orchestra, where lack of harmony has long lasting effects on the functioning and happiness of the group. It compares the four families of the orchestra to different cultural groups in society and looks at how they interact with each other, as well as to the “outlanders” or outsiders in our society.It also looks at the impact of technology and the role of “synthetic” music, which bypasses an individual’s creative skill and allows them to compose tracks totally from plagiarised sources.
The book is just the beginning. It is a springboard into other resources and materials that will be produced – from feature films and toys to interactive games and apps for mobile devices and tablets.
I hope you enjoy the musical journey.” George Trad, Author