Neil Moore (musician)
Neil Moore is the founder and executive director of Simply Music, an international music education institution with over 700 locations worldwide. He also created the Simply Music piano method and composed much of the music used in the institution's piano and the accordion programs.
Moore was born in 1957 in Melbourne, Australia to parents who loved music and required all their five children to take piano lessons. Although Moore felt a strong connection with music from early childhood, he did not learn to read notes until much later. In piano lessons, he would watch his teacher play and reconstruct what he heard by visualizing shapes and patterns. By age twelve Moore played a large repertoire of music, and he kept playing piano through adolescence and into adulthood, never thinking he could turn his passion for piano into a career.
Through early adulthood, Moore continued with piano while establishing a successful career in the restaurant and wine industries. He hoped to do well enough to retire from business and pursue music. Everything seemed to be going as planned until one business that Moore acquired lost all its assets in a stock market crash. Facing this crisis brought clarity and a new direction for Moore. He decided to put his love of music first. Moore began taking open-enrollment music classes at the Australian arts institution, The Victorian College of the Arts. During this time, he was recruited to teach a new music reading program to both students and instructors. He later relocated to California to bring that reading program to the United States.
The idea for Simply Music came when Moore was asked to teach an eight-year-old blind child how to play piano. Obviously, traditional methods using sheet music would not work in this case. Instead, Neil translated the music into shapes and patterns like he had used as a child. Within a few months the boy was playing a range of blues, popular, and classical pieces. When Moore asked the boy's father if he was happy with his son's progress, the father responded, "Not only are we happy with it, but he’s teaching his four-year-old sister how to play this way, and she’s blind too."
In this key moment, Moore realized this approach might work more universally. He began designing materials and introducing the program to other young children and found that they quickly learned sophisticated music and gained a natural connection with it. He started testing his program more widely, with a range of ages, abilities, and teachers. He then expanded to reach older adults, students with developmental disabilities, and troubled youth. In every case, students found success. Not only did everyone learn to play piano, but they could also teach others how to play.
The Simply Music institution was founded as a way to formalize the method and organize a system for sharing it, eventually with teachers throughout the world. Simply Music is now offered in over 700 locations worldwide. It has broadened to support programs from birth through old age, including early childhood music and movement classes, piano and accordion lessons, audio production tutorials, and quality of life care for the elderly.
- Huffington Post on Simply Music's Gateway project
- Neil Moore with Ron Zeller in Forbes magazine
- audio excerpt from interviews for Everything We Need to Know About Business.
- Ashby, Bernadette E., ed. "Coming Home: the Story of One Man." A World Where Everyone Plays. Sunnyvale, CA: Effting Press, 2011. Print.
- Everything We Needed to Know About Business We Learned Playing Music on amazon.com
- http://www.sandiegofamily.com/resources-by-age/baby/311-how-to-raise-a-musical-baby, article by Neil Moore in San Diego Family magazine