Xanthe’s living the dream
Wednesday, 10th January, 2018
It was her dream to come back to the Silver City and start her own music school, and over the past several years Xanthe Edgecumbe has been able to make that dream come true.
Born in Broken Hill, Xanthe said she always had an affinity for music, starting at age five when she started to learn to play the piano.
“At first it was just a hobby, but then I wanted to do more and more music,” Xanthe said.
“As a kid I played a fair bit of sports as well and really enjoyed that, but I did have to make the choice eventually between sports and music, and hands down I took music,” she said.
“Growing up there was really only a small handful of us that were participating in music. Most of my friends weren’t involved in it.”
At age eight she picked up the violin after a symphony orchestra visited her school and demonstrated the range of instruments available to learn. She said she’d never seen a violin before, and had actually been interested in the flute, but after hearing the violin she switched over straight away.
“My parents own a petrol station near the West Footy Club, and when I was learning to play I’d go to that back room to practice, and mum used to joke when I first started I was making the customers run away.
“But as time went on and with more practice people would be coming to the shop to sit there and listen to me practice in the backroom, so it worked out in the end.
“I actually got offered a position with the Adelaide Youth Orchestra when it first started, but it meant I would have had to live in Adelaide at age 13, so I was thankful for the opportunity but happy to turn it down.”
As well as piano and violin, Xanthe picked up a guitar in high school and started singing, and even spent some time on the flute and saxophone.
She was part of a local band called Cactus Flats for about seven years, performing local and interstate gigs, and also formed a string group with some friends.
“Cactus Flat I met because they were playing at a friend’s wedding. They wanted a pianist so we were introduced.
“I wasn’t actually singing at that stage, then one day they got me to sing ‘What’s Up’ by the Four Non Blondes and from that moment I was singing all the time.
“I’ve always been performance-orientated, and I’ve been lucky because I’ve never even had a little bit of stage fright.”
In 2007 she left Broken Hill to study music in Adelaide before being offered a job as a private music teacher at the Forte School of Music, and worked there for four years.
The school offered her the opportunity to start her own music school under the Forte name, but Xanthe remembered her dream of starting a music school in Broken Hill, and after another year in Adelaide made the move back home.
“My family really supported me, my school. Silver Notes School of Music is actually based in my mum’s house which she’s fine with because she gets free concerts during the week.
“At the moment I’ve got more than 40 students, all learning different things, including nearly 18 kids in our vocal group.
“The vocal group started with six kids in July 2015 so to have that number, ranging from five-year-olds up to 14-year-olds, is amazing. If you watch videos of them when they started and compare it to now, seeing that growth is overwhelming.”
Although she has no immediate plans for change, in the next five years Xanthe said she wants to expand the school to offer more courses and workshops in a larger space.
She said she’s also looking into a website for her Facebooked-based ‘Broken Hill Gig Guide’, which details who’s performing each week.
“It’s a way for people to know what’s happening and give them a chance to see live music in town.
“We’re very lucky to have venues that want to support live music and to take that on and have people that get out there and support them is amazing.
“I also do the Open Mic nights which run about every month for all performers. It gives them a platform to perform as well as a way for them to meet each other.
“Really, music is my life. I perform on weekends and teach through the week.”