Meet the Klavar Music Foundation Team

 

Founder and First Director:  Commander Michael Magnus-Osborn O.B.E.

Current Director:  Peter Spurrier Jackson M.A. PGCE

Trustees : Michael Harth, Michael Lorenzini, Melvin Bishop FCIH, David Alistair Baines

Music supply agent: Gordon Leung

Technical consultant: Dr Johnny Siu Kam-wah, Ph.D.

 

Brief History of the KMF

In 1931 Cornelis Pot established the  Klavar Music Institute in  the Netherlands to 

propagate his new invention  the Klavarskribo (Keyboard Writing)  music notation (In Esperanto klavar = keyboard, skribo= writing) . Shortly afterwards  in 1934 Camley Limited  of London were franchised by Mr Pot to issue correspondence courses and to teach the notation world wide. In 1976 The franchise passed to the Klavar Music  Foundation of Great Britain (KMF), set up by Michael Magnus Osborn OBE a retired naval commander, as an Educational Trust and a Charity registered with the Charity Commission in London as number 272510. 

This is the present status of the KMF. The original Klavarskribo Institute  is still going strong in the Netherlands. See www.klavarskribo.nl  and the entry in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/klavarskribo .

 

Michael Magnus Osborn OBE

Michael  bought his first piano -  a very early Broadwood concert grand, ex-Roedean School – when he was 17. In the innocence of youth he assumed that learning to play it would be just a matter  of devoting time to finger exercises. As a quick and avid reader of books  he took it  for granted that there would be no problem reading music. Result: one of the most unpleasant  moments of his life!  After a year he was ready to give up  and sell his beautiful piano.Before doing so however, he answered a Klavar advertisement ( very much more in hope than in expectation) . Result: one of the pleasantest surprises of his life, resulting in a determination to devote his energies to telling people the Good News .

 

War and subsequent service in the Royal Navy prevented full-time work for Klavar until 1972, when he joined Norman Moule at the Klavarskribo Institute in London. After Norman’s retirement in 1975 Michael moved to Lincoln, set up the Klavar Music Foundation and registered the Foundation with the Charities Commission. (Klavar HQ in Holland was  already established as an entirely non-profit making organisation, the Stichting Klavarskribo in Slikkerveer)

Frequent visits to Slikkerveer had resulted in a close friendship with Klavar’s inventor Cornelis Pot, and Michael had been able to produce the Klavar film with Cornelis excellent  in the starring role. This film is available in DVD format from www.klavarmusic.org

 

Spreading the Klavar gospel became progressively more difficult because of the advent of counter attractions such as  TV and DVDs and Hi-Fi music. But Michael believes there will always be people who need the spiritual refreshment and great joy that come from making music. He handed Klavar’s affairs over to Peter Jackson in 1999. Michael lives in retirement in Lincoln  and still forwards enquiries he receives from old students to Peter for processing. He welcomes old students who  visit him at Abbeyfield House, 2 Woburn Avenue , Lincoln.

 

Peter Spurrier Jackson  took the Klavar piano course while a schoolboy in 1952. He had  failed to learn to read traditional notation as he could not  read the two clefs together  with any pleasure or ease. Klavar opened a new world to him. During the 8 years he was in the Overseas Civil Service he imported the first piano to the Ellice Islands (Tuvalu). After he became a university lecturer in Libya in 1969 he joined the European Piano Teachers Association , took courses in piano pedagogy and developed a  great

 interest in teaching Klavar. Peter’s  text book on Learning the Intervals using mirror images and cartoons,  can be downloaded free, from this web site. One of his ex-students at the Polytechnic University in HK, now Dr Siu Kam–wah, has written an excellent transcribing  program KlavarwriterXP that enables users to transcribe music into the Klavar notation  using an electronic keyboard or computer keyboard. The program  is available from the foundation.

Dr Johnny Siu  

Peter Jackson

On taking over the Directorship from Michael in 1999 ( a hard act to follow !) he expanded the operations of the KMF to the Internet, organized the first KMF Summer school  in the Year 2000 and now teaches Klavar courses  to university students in Hong Kong where he has lived since 1976. He has passed ABRSM Grade 6,using Klavar, and just  failed grade 7 several times ! Contact: director@klavarmusic.org

 

Michael Harth and Michael Lorenzini

Mike Harth (Left) first came across Klavar when he was 17, and was bowled over, especially as he had tried to learn the piano some years before and got nowhere. Over the years he has amassed  a collection of thousands of pieces, many self-transcribed, and spent many happy years trying to play them. Michael is an accomplished pianist playing in many styles from Liszt to up-beat music in the modern idiom. 

Mike Lorenzini's first contact with Klavar was when he was eleven, and had the course bought for him by his father, who had taken it himself in the 1930's. The Mike's met thirty-odd years ago, and soon formed a duetting partnership, “The London Duo” since when, because sight-reading is so easy with Klavar, they have covered a wide variety of repertoire, from Mozart to Fats Waller, and have enjoyed every moment. The two Mikes have  authored the Klavar Pop and Rhythm Course which, accompanied by  two CDs, is available  from the Foundation  . Mike Harth now lives in Spain and Mike Lorenzini in London where he is the Chairman of the   Billy Mayerl Society; see www.shellwood.co.uk  Mike  Lorenzini also has a keen interest in player pianos.

Melvin Bishop

 

Melvin’s mother, learnt to play

from Klavar music before Melvin was born so  Melvin grew up with this notation

and played from it since he was a child. He is basically self-taught.  He had no idea

of the difficulties experienced by

other children who struggled to learn

the traditional  notation.  Because of

the reading fluency he developed as

a child he now has a wide

 "repertoire" of classical and also

light music.  He is a   governor , with particular responsibility for Music, at a  large primary school  in Hereford where he and his wife run after school keyboard groups.  All forms of producing music are introduced at the school.  Children really love the rapid progress they make with the Klavar system.  Melvin believes that Klavar should be taught alongside all the other ways of finding the right place to put your hands on the keyboard. 

Melvin is  more than happy to offer free advice and encouragement to anyone
interested in playing the piano or keyboard. He  plans to set up a "keyboard club" for adults in the near future. Melvin_bishop@msn.com

 

Johanna McGuirk (right) is our Music Supply Agent for the Klavar Music Foundation of GB and is based in South Australia. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, she was introduced to Klavarskribo in 1960 and although she later completed her formal music education in traditional music notation, including studying a Bachelor of Music Degree at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide, South Australia, she is an avid user of the Klavarskribo notation. Johanna is an accomplished pianist and has been teaching piano students in Klavarskribo since 1968 and particularly enjoys teaching mature students – those who have chosen to study music for the

love of it, rather than those who are forced into playing by parents, which is sadly so often the case with children.Her contact email remains:    kmfagency@bigpond.com

 

Her love of music and strong belief in Klavarskribo sees her spending many hours at the task of transcribing works from traditional notation when they are not available in Klavarksribo, and several of her students have learned these skills also.

 

She holds regular music workshops for her students on a wide range of topics and  follows the tradition of an annual music concert where all her students get together and perform. She also attends regular studies herself under the tutelage of performing concert pianists and highly qualified teachers in order to enhance her own playing and teaching skills, passing on to her students as much as possible when appropriate to their needs. She is also part of a group of Music Teachers who get together on a monthly basis and perform for one another.


 

Johanna speaks both Dutch and English, which stands her in good stead when, as the agent dealing with English speaking customers, she needs to  liaise on their behalf with the Dutch speaking Klavarskribo office staff in the Netherlands. Her ability to read both traditional notation and Klavarskribo allows her to interact empathically with fellow players who may experience difficulties in either notation.

 

 

Gordon Leung, our new Music Supply Agent since 1st July 2008, learnt  to play from the Klavar notation when he was a  student at the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong in 1991. He emigrated to Australia where he now resides in Sydney. His personal music philosophy is : 

“Music belongs to everyone, enhancing one’s soul ” ,    Since he discovered Klavar    he has been joyfully fulfilling his wonderful dream  of  playing any kind of music on the piano, without any difficulty in reading the music.  Gordon loves music of all kinds especially the music of Chopin. At the age of 11 he played the violin, but could not afford to play piano when he was young.   Gordon is glad to share the joyful world of Klavar music and will do everything he can to serve everybody to the best of his ability.

 Email:   kmfagency@gmail.com