Music has woven its way into 3MBS volunteer Peter Gardner’s life in many and varied ways from a very young age. He recalls a particularly significant moment when, at just the tender age of seven, he was faced with a choice which prompted his mother to make a truly prophetic statement.
“I’d always been interested in music,” he says, “but when I was seven I was offered a choice of carpentry or piano as an extra-curricular option at school, and I chose carpentry. My mother’s reaction was ‘you’ll regret that when you’re older, because music will keep you company in your old age, but carpentry won’t’. And she was right.”
Born in England but raised in Ireland, before moving back to England, and later Perth, and Sydney and then back to the UK, Peter and his wife have called Melbourne home since 2008. It was during a house-hunting drive around the city’s streets when the radio dial settled on the 103.5FM bandwidth, and he joined the station as a volunteer in April the following year.
Over the past 12 months, Peter has dedicated a significant amount of time and energy creating a series of Illuminations programs on the music and history of World War I. It was an enormous undertaking which produced three two-hour shows. He has also recently made a number of programs in the monthly 'ANAM Hour' series with Tony Thomas. For a time Peter volunteered at Vision Australia Radio, making Musical Connexions exploring classical music in film, major public or historic occasions and other media which was subsequently repeated on 3MBS. Over the coming year, Peter hopes to continue his connection with 3MBS while also serving as a volunteer at ANAM.
“I decided to get involved in radio because of my broad interest in music. I didn’t come with any preconceptions about what I might like or not like, so I create programs which give me the opportunity to explore music, the composers and to better understand an individual piece,” he says.
Although he’s a self-confessed unhurried learner who was once told he came to the practice too late to have any chance of “good finger memory”, Peter is an enthusiastic pianist who feels challenged and greatly rewarded when attempting to master each piece.
“In trying to play the pieces, you actually learn a lot more about the music than you otherwise would. Of course you can read about the stories behind particular pieces or the composers, but when it comes to the actual piece of music as a stand-alone thing, it’s really an abstract art form, and you have to understand it on its own terms. Performing helps you to do that.”