People who bring their passions to the classroom also bring the most richness, excitement, and originality to the lessons they prepare. And it’s people like our HAIS music teacher Mr Tass Petridis who stands out as one of the most passionate in his field.

Mr Tass grew up in Greece until 18, then adopted Australia as his home country for 27 years. For the last decade, he’s been settled in Vietnam, making music and connections. The cross-cultural influence in his music is not lost on anyone.

Mr Tass seems to leave no ill will in his wake. His professional music career began in 1990, and over the following decades, he’s performed on 82 albums in Australia and an additional 14 albums in Vietnam. His music crosses genres from Jazz, R&B, Latin, Rock and Pop. He’s also released two solo bass albums with another upcoming one, showcasing some of the finest musicians from across Australia, Europe and Vietnam.

Most Australian Boomers and Gen Y’s will remember ‘Hey Hey it’s Saturday’. It was a regular live entertainment television show on family screens for nearly 30 years. What they might not know, is that alongside ‘Pluck a Duck’ and ‘Dicky Knee’ was Tass Petridis – playing bass with international guest artists.

And he’s performed with the likes of Kylie Minogue as well as a host of other top artists like Angry Anderson, the Saigon Big Band, My Linh, Hong Nhung, and Huy Tuan. The list is extensive and pretty outrageous, so we’ll need time to formulate a spreadsheet for the full tabulation.

So why did Mr Tass choose to become a music teacher with this far-reaching background in entertainment? We posed the question to Mr Tass himself;

“My first real inspirations and belief in becoming a performing artist came through my own teachers, and that’s when I quickly realised the importance of true mentorship and how the older great musicians passed on the information to the next generation. To me it only felt natural to continue this beautiful tradition.”

Mr Tass shared with me a TED Talk about the neurons that fire off when a person listens to music. It’s literally like fireworks in the brain. And when one is playing music – the brain shows even more activity akin to a full body workout. Watching the brain when someone is making music sets the visual, auditory and motor cortices into action all at once.

The benefits of music education are so well documented and incontrovertible that we don’t need to spend too much time repeating all these facts, but the unquestionable findings have driven Mr Tass to developing a bespoke music programme for all students at HAIS.

Mr Tass says; “Here at HAIS, we have introduced what we believe to be, a unique and revolutionary approach to performance based music education that builds teamwork and provides the students with the necessary tools to perform, analyse and talk about music, all while keeping it fun, fresh and memorable.”

It’s a different approach to other schools, where BYOD (bring your own device) and screen technology can more highly valued. In many educational institutes, there is a device in almost every human hand. Mr Tass would like to see a musical instrument in every hand too, to teach them the art of attention, as well as boredom. To allow their minds to be formed according to the principles of harmony, rather than the dopamine rewards of gaming, or the intermittent reinforcements and reliable disappointments of social media.

Mr Tass affirms; “In addition to improving students self confidence through a sense of achievement, music is also important to the development of team work, listening skills, focus, concentration, cognitive memory, creativity, enhanced coordination, increased discipline and time management skills. Music can also help students progress in other crucial learning areas such as science, math and language.”

He says this with a smile that is large, his words soft and sturdy – and clearly his passion is defiant and his craft worthy of celebration.

Words: HAIS Marketing Team