Jaxon The David Jackson Interview
The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough
21st May 2001
Interview by Tim Locke
Photography by Phil Longstaff

All Material Copyright
Click here for Russian version

David Jackson has been touring the country (UK that is) performing for mostly disabled audiences. He kindly agreed to this interview which took place at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire on the 21st May 2001 during "Stormin' the Castle", a local festival of disability and arts.
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David: Under starters' orders ladies and gentlemen!

Tim: Could you please explain, for those who don't know, what a Soundbeam is?

David: A Soundbeam is an invisible elastic keyboard, in the air, but it's a keyboard that you can adjust; it doesn't have all the notes all the time and it isn't necessarily one sound all the time, or necessarily one size - so it can have one note and be tiny or it can have 64 notes and be 6 metres long! - or 64 notes and be 43 centimetres long - you know it can have anything you want in it but the important thing is that you have to move within it and the better your quality of movement within it the more beautiful the music's going to be because that's always been the case with music.

Jaxon Tim: Do you have to programme into it what sound comes out?

David: You have to programme what notes are in the beam, programme the articulation and the articulation is a very very powerful part of Soundbeam because it allows you to play up and down the beam, in and out of the beam, start and and stop sounds in the beam, lots of very sophisticated playing techniques for the beam which really have to be taught - but, having said that, certain disabled people play it with an intuitive understanding which defies belief - they seem to know how it works, which is marvellous.

Tim: It's a very different world being a music therapist from being a rock star ...

David: Well, I would insist that I am not a music therapist - There may be therapeutic benefits from what I do, but they are much the same as I get a lot of benefit from being able to play my saxophone in practice - it's an occupational therapy for me to practice and write my music and it might be physiotherapy for a disabled person with cerebral palsy to play a Soundbeam and struggle against their own out-of-control nervous system - it might be exercise, and physiotherapy - so there are many therapeutic benefits from it, but I AM NOT A MUSIC THERAPIST, because a music therapist is a therapist using music as a tool for therapy just as a psychotherapist would use their training in psychology and psychoanalysis to use for therapy just as a music therapist uses music as a tool - but they're primarily therapists and they're not interested at all in performance - I am totally and utterly committed to performance and thereby totally and utterly disqualified from doing any therapeutic work. It's a very very specialist area and it holds no great interest for me.

Jaxon Tim: You spent a long time after Van Der Graaf as a maths teacher, what brought you back into music after that?

David: 14 Attainment Targets! Ha Ha for an 11 year-old. The fact that an 11 year-old in 1988 had to do 14 attainment targets when the rest of us were trying to get them to add and subtract - you know, that was two attainment targets - what were the other 12 - there were algebra, geometry, I mean they were just barking!

I just got absolutely fed-up with the National Curriculum and its narrow-mindedness - I was trained as a teacher with a child-centred philosophy and I still maintain it has a valuable place in education today, but it's certainly not allowed. It was absolutely barking in the 1980's - there were a lot of people trying to get good jobs - really clever, and they hadn't necessarily got their heads screwed on - you know it was all 'ground-breaking national curriculum stuff' but they should have listened to a few old ladies like I did - I was taught how to teach by old ladies, and they really knew what they were doing!

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