Jack Ingram and his wife Lorraine with students from the musical  Whole Lotta Faintin' Goin' On  in the '90s.
Jack Ingram and his wife Lorraine with students from the musical Whole Lotta Faintin' Goin' On in the '90s. St Brendan's College

CQ teacher still sharing love of music after three decades

AFTER making the same commute between Rockhampton and Yeppoon five times a week for 37 years, you'd think Jack Ingram would be sick of it, but the St Brendan's College music teacher says he still enjoys the drive each day.

When he started at the school in 1982 he was a young piano teacher, working as a causal music teacher.

"When I started I was the only one in the department, so it was very easy to be the boss of myself,” Mr Ingram said.

In the time he has worked at St Brendan's he has shaped the music program with a commitment to fostering a love of music in students and ensuring the students experience the best music education.

Jack Ingram has been working within the music department of St Brendan's College, Yeppoon for 37 years. Here he is in the 90s.
Jack Ingram has been working within the music department of St Brendan's College, Yeppoon for 37 years. St Brendan's College

Working throughout that time to create an inclusive and equitable music program, he has gone from private lessons with one or two students, to year 7 students having three music lessons a week.

"The main thing is that they gain confidence through the process and they gain commitment,” Mr Ingram said.

"It takes time and it teaches kids that if there is something they really want to do, they're going to have to work at it.

"They take that on when they become pilots or engineers or doctors or vets or whatever they become.

an image of students in our College band Photo Contributed
Students in the college band. Orin Lucke - Blink Photography

"So it is not about them becoming musicians, it is about them becoming capable of tackling anything they want to tackle.”

When talking about seeing the changes in the school, Mr Ingram is quick to talk about the impact and the legacy of the students and the influences they had.

"When kids come back and they see the changes, they say 'this is fantastic',” he said.

"I remind them that we have this now because of what they did when they were here.

Jack Ingram was the only person in the St Brendan's music department when he started working at the school in 1982. Now he runs the department.
SHAPING LIVES: Jack Ingram was the only person in St Brendan's music department when he started working at the school in 1982. Now he runs the department. St Brendan's College

"We keep building on the back of the students who were here before, not just within music but within the whole college.”

Currently, the music program for year 7 students sees them start the year by making their own musical instrument, a cajon (box drum), in manual arts class, which they then decorate in art class and learn how to play in music.

"At the end of grade 7, if they never do music again, they have had a positive music experience and they have a box drum for the rest of their life,” Mr Ingram said.

"Instead of teaching them how to play the recorder or ukulele we have given them something they have built themselves and now have a skill for life.”

As for the future, Mr Ingram said he has no plans to stop working just yet.

Mr Ingram in a music lesson.
Jack Ingram in a music lesson. Orin Lucke - Blink Photography

"Music teachers have this habit of dying when they stop working, that is just my observation,” he said.

"So I am not exactly thinking about that. My wife might have other thoughts on that but I'm not in any rush.

"I figure it will be a pine box that they take me out in, or they'll get fed up with me and tell me to move on.

"Although I think if they ever did bring in recorders and ukuleles here at St Brendan's then I might retire, that would probably be the thing that sees me go.”