Let’s start something new today. Let’s tickle our funny bones! Yes, it sounds weird but it’s actually a very clever pun on that tingling sensation you get when you bang your elbow. You know, that zinging feeling thats goes right through your ulnar nerve and humerus – pronounced humourous. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink: your humerus!) Apparently that’s Latin for the long bone in your arm. So let’s get our humourous on! I’ve been told it’s good for your health. Sounds like a win to me.
Now that being said, I can’t say that I tickle my funny bone everyday, so I’m going to need a little help from you to keep this going. All I need is for you to share whatever tickled your funny bone on any given day.
Let’s create our very own funny bone ripple. Let’s share the laughter and health. This way we’ll get our funny bones tickled a lot more often. So go on share whatever tickled your funny bone today.
Tell us about your passion for music…… how did it all come about?
Well, when I was about three years old I asked my parents for a violin. I had actually never seen a violin and my parents, not being musical in the slightest, had no idea where I had got this idea from! According to my parents, the only time they think I may have had exposure to classical music was at the crèche I went to. So after much pestering on my end they bought me a plastic violin. I was disgusted! I knew it wasn’t the real deal and I was only about four years old. An uncle of mine had an old guitar and so he gave it to my parents to see if I liked it, but I was having none of it. I went to the kitchen, found a chopstick and thought ‘this would make a great bow’. I somehow lifted the guitar and propped it up on my shoulder, grabbed my ‘bow’ and began moving it across the strings. To my disappointment it didn’t make the prettiest sound…
Quite soon after that my parents thought they should enrol me in some music lessons, but they had no idea where to begin looking. They knew no one who had ever done classical music, so they opened the phonebook and eventually stumbled on a music school who just so happened to be having an open night for potential new students. Within a few weeks I was enrolled in one of the best music schools in Ireland, Leeson Park School of Music.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Lucan, which is a suburb on the outskirts of Dublin. I was very fortunate that the majority of my family lived there, including both sets of grandparents. I was an only child until I was eight years old and then my sister Isabelle was born, which made me quite upset because I didn’t have a brother! Just before she was born my dad jokingly said that if it was a girl that he and I would move up to the mountains and live in a tent. I didn’t think it was a joke…But when I met Izzy for the first time I changed my mind and was glad I had a sister.
I attended the local Irish speaking primary school, which I am thankful for. The Irish language ‘Gaeilge’ is a dying language with roughly 3-5% of the population that choose to speak it as their first language. My parents drove me to the city for private music classes 3 times a week for 13 years – unfortunately, the public music education system in Ireland is non-existent.
After finishing primary school I went to the Irish speaking Secondary School next door and was there for 4 years, until my life changed. We were moving to Australia! Within 6 months of finding out our visa had been approved, we were on a one way ticket to Perth.
How do you find the time to do it all? What’s your secret to ‘making time’ for everything?
This is by far one of the most challenging things as a musician. The key is to be organised and focused. You need to be realistic with your goals and you must make sacrifices in order to be able to make the time. A trap that many people, including myself fall into is the inability to say NO. It is never rude to say no! You must remember that you’ll never be able to please everyone. It is difficult to balance all aspects of life and it’s easy for someone to become a workaholic. What I find helps is if I dedicate 100% of my focus to a task in short bursts I will be more productive.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days right now…and for most of my life have consisted of a lot of time isolated in a room practicing my instrument. I usually try to fit in 3-4 hours of practise into a day, 7 days a week, which can come as a shock to non musical people.
This allocated time does not include rehearsals, so my typical day starts around 9am. I only ever do practise blocks of 45 minutes maximum, with 15 minute rest intervals in between. After 45 minutes the body begins to struggle. It is the stage where people begin to lose focus on the task at hand, start making sloppy mistakes, and are more prone to injury.
I am attending the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne at the moment and they really go to great lengths to educate us on our physical and mental wellbeing, because believe it or not most professional musicians suffer pain at some point in their careers.
I also try to get to the gym or go for a run at least 3 times a week.
You took a creative leap of faith choosing music as a career. Did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing?
I don’t think anyone ever knows if they are doing the right thing. Music is a particularly difficult industry to have a sustainable career in, but it is not impossible. In a lot of aspects it is far more rewarding as a career due to the flexibility and creative freedom. At the same time it can be the scariest because there can be months with an empty calendar. I personally love this and have learned to find it exciting.
Eventually though I want to play in a professional orchestra here in Australia. Many people ask if I want to study in Europe, but my answer to that is that I think it is over rated. Many fellow students have a romanticised view of Europe, thinking they’ll go and come back as a changed person with a unique perspective on music. They soon find out that many things are the same as Australia, there are excellent musicians but there are also lazy ones who aren’t giving 100%.
How did you make it happen?
Hard work, great support from my family and friends, and excellent teachers.
What were the costs of choosing to follow your passion?
Almost 18 years of music lessons. Thankfully my parents always supported me and continue to.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
When I first auditioned for WAAPA it was on violin and I was sure I would get in no problem. I soon found out that other people had received their offers and I hadn’t. It was then that I received a phone call from the head of strings saying he wanted to give me a lesson and have a chat, so we arranged a time the following week. It was probably one of the most intimidating experiences of my life, and after I played for him and another tutor they suggested I should try the viola … this is every violinist’s worst nightmare.
When someone says that you should transition to the viola it is simply a nice way of saying “you are not going to make it playing the violin.” At the time I found it quite difficult to accept that I would not make it as a violinist. It would have been easy to ignore this suggestion and simply go to a different university, after all, I had an offer from another university that would take me as a violinist!
So I thought long and hard about the options I had and I came to the conclusion to give the viola a shot. To my surprise I instantly fell in love with the instrument’s sonority, and felt it was just meant to be. I persisted and had soon built my confidence back up. Before I knew it I had a bachelor of music!
Why is it important to be brave when you decide to do something like create music? Can you give us some examples of when you’ve had to dig deep and be brave?
Everyone I have spoken to has at some point felt like they weren’t good enough to be performing music. What is important to remember is that the musicians are there to serve a purpose, and that is to honour the composer and the piece that they’ve written.
I went through an awful period of self consciousness and doubt whilst onstage. It gets no easier and the feeling never goes away, but it becomes manageable the more you perform. I constantly have to remind myself that the music is not about me and that if I have prepared well then there’s no need to worry. Obviously people are there to hear me play, but they want me to succeed because they are there to enjoy themselves, not to watch me fail!
What are the tough aspects of creating music?
Working with other people in an ensemble can be particularly tough. Each person has a different view on the piece, and also have different personalities and personal experiences that can influence their view of a piece. For me, a tough thing to accept is that your view is not always the one that others will like, and in an ensemble the majority wins, no matter how emotionally attached your view is.
Who is your role model and why?
I have many role models in all sorts of different fields. In terms of music, Jascha Heifetz is someone who I admire because of his technical excellence and control of the violin.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple has made me feel like anything is possible if I put my mind to it. He was also one of the best presenters onstage and was able to get the best out of people and encouraged them to achieve what they thought was impossible.
UFC fighter Conor Mcgregor has an unshakable confidence and I love when he speaks about how the body moves and how to believe in yourself.
Finally, Richard Gill is an inspirational man and a person who is making a huge change in musical education in schools in Australia. Not only that, but he has a unique talent where he can remember everyone’s name in a room, even if he’s just met them for the first time.
What is the best advice you have received?
In your ongoing adventures with our beloved art which we spend a lifetime trying to reconcile with what can be a brutal profession, choose quality over quantity whenever possible when the two prove to be incompatible, as it is the former which gives the greater satisfaction to both artist and listener – William
Why do you do what you do?
There are a few reasons. Music is fun and you get to interact with people, including fellow musicians but also the audience. I recently did a regional residency in a small town called Bermagui, NSW with my string quartet: Penny Quartet. It was such an amazing experience surrounded by inspirational people and beautiful scenery. We had the opportunity to do educational workshops at schools there and this helped me realise how important it is to inspire young kids.
What lessons have you learnt along the way?
Never to accept anything sub-par from yourself. Only you will know if you have given it your best shot.
What discoveries about yourself have allowed you to realise your passion for music?
I have realised over time that I can be quite impatient with myself. I just want things to happen there and then, particularly when it comes to fixing technical aspects of my playing. These things take time and won’t just happen over night.
What keeps you awake at night?
Not much. I usually get a good sleep.
What gets you up in the morning?
Guilt! I feel guilty if I am lazy. There always room to improve in my playing, so that usually gets me out of bed pretty quickly.
How has pursuing your art changed your life?
It has helped me to accept nothing but the best standard of playing in myself. I am very harsh on myself if I don’t perform to my optimum capability, or if I am badly prepared. I’ve also learned how to communicate with many different people and different personality types.
What’s next for you? What does the future hold?
Penny Quartet travelled to America in mid June to take part in a summer seminar run by the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford University. We then have a few concerts in Brisbane, and later in the year we play at Quartethaus, as part of the Melbourne Festival.
In the future I hope to have a job in a professional orchestra.
What’s the secret of your success?
I firmly believe that you must dedicate your entire focus to one thing at a time.
What advice would you give anyone who dreams of pursuing their artistic passion and talents?
Do it! But be warned that sometimes people like the idea of pursuing the Arts, but are not dedicated enough to make it a career, or soon find out that it is not for them. If you are willing to work hard for it then DO IT.
What advice would you give anyone who isn’t doing what they love?
If you’re not able to do something you love as a career that is understandable, but make time to do it as a hobby. There is a great TED talk that the cellist Michael Goldschlager presented, explaining about the difference between interests and passions.
How do you think each of us can live the fullest life possible?
I think Steve Jobs summed it up pretty well:
A Bit of Fun:
People who inspire you: Eminem
Happiest place: On stage
Biggest passion in life: Music
Most inspiring film you’ve seen: Once
Most inspiring book you’ve read: Inner Game of MusicBest light-bulb moment: Don’t think I’ve had one yet!
Anything is possible… what’s your wish? That children are exposed to proper music education, even if they don’t pursue it. Sticking on a Lady Gaga song is not music education!(yes that actually has happened)
Philosophy you live by: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Steve Jobs
Quote you live by:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Photographer Vladimir Yakovlev has created a photo project that dispels all rumors about getting older. Age Of Happiness is a collection of 35 stories including portraits of people that continue to enjoy their favourite pursuits, despite being 60, 70, 80, or even 100-years-old. These seniors are challenging age stereotypes.
Vladimir describes “Age of Happiness” on Amazon as follows:
- To run a marathon on the North Pole at 70.
- To take up ballet at 79 and to dance professionally by 90.
- At 75, to enjoy surfing huge ocean waves — in winter, in ice-cold water.
- To become a financial broker at 77 and make millions.
- To celebrate your 80th birthday by skydiving 80 times in a row.
- To become a professional, globe-trotting DJ – at 71.
- To swim across the La Manche at 70.
- At 78, to zoom on your skateboard through city streets.
- To begin a successful career of a young actress in Hollywood, at 71
- To cross Atlantic solo at 73 and then to sail around the world on a mini-yacht you built yourself.
- To be the top sensation at New York Fashion Week at 80.
- To become a porn-star at 68, participate in more than 350 porno-films by 79, and to just keep going.
- At 83, to complete the Ironman triathlon, which includes a four-kilometer swim, 180-kilometer bike ride, and 42-kilometer run, all in a row with no breaks.
- At 100 to climb skyscrapers.
- At 102, to ride 50 kilometers a day on your bike.
- At 103 to run the London marathon.
If today you are 30, 40 or 50, then living past 70 and into your late 80s and 90s is no longer just a possibility. It’s practically an inevitability. So at some point, you just ought to ask yourself: “How would I like to be when I am 70?”
Because you will be.
For some reason we still believe those who really mastered the secrets to longevity and youthfulness can only be found in hermit caves or monasteries somewhere high in the mountains or deep in exotic forests. This isn’t true.Such people live among us: in the neighboring house, one street over, in cities that we frequent. We just don’t know about them, and because of that, lose an incredible opportunity to learn from them a way of life that just yesterday seemed like absolute fantasy.
Such people live among us: in the neighboring house, one street over, in cities that we frequent. We just don’t know about them, and because of that, lose an incredible opportunity to learn from them a way of life that just yesterday seemed like absolute fantasy.
I spent the last four years traveling in search of such people; people who refused to age “appropriately” and instead, continued to live – joyfully and brightly, often with more exuberance than they had in their youth. What I saw and learned completely changed my life and ideas about what humans are now capable of during what was formerly known as “old age.”
I am a writer, not a scientist. I don’t have a scientific explanation for the enormous age-related social changes that are taking place around the world right now. What are they caused by? Some sort of civilization’s genetic code? A historically unprecedented improvement in quality of life and health care?
I doubt anyone can really answer these question. But, the fact that such radical changes are happening is hard for anyone to deny. This book contains real stories of real people. Read them and your perception of life after 70 will never be the same. by Vladimir Yakovlev
Why is it that one person runs marathons at 61, while another person of the same age can’t run down the block? Perhaps the secret to aging well is to ignore those age-based stereotypes and keep doing things that make you happy and keep you young at heart! What’s your plan for getting older? What are your pursuits of happiness?
Tell us about your passion for food and cooking? How did it all come about?
I had a real sweet tooth as a kid and after spending the morning surfing; I would have a real appetite to feed! So at age 11-12 I started baking simple cakes and pastries on the weekends. Then when I started high school my favorite class quickly became home economics. I was soon top of my class and loved cooking. I continued baking on the weekends and started making dinners during the week for my family. My parents were stoked – beside the mess I would make! So by the end of year 10 it was time to decide what path I wanted to take and after little thought I decided I wanted to become a chef.
My parents and teachers really encouraged me, as they knew I had a flair for food. There really was nothing else I wanted to do. I loved it! The cooking, the eating, the opportunity to travel and every morning to go surfing! I was determined to become the best I could be. So the journey began.
I chose the hospitality course for my final two years at high school, enabling me to do work experience one day a week. I chose a big resort as my first placement. I loved the rush of service. I was a sponge learning as much as I could. The head chef offered me an apprenticeship but I insisted I wanted to complete school, so the chef asked me if I could work weekends instead. I said, “sure!” If someone wanted to pay me to cook that was great!! For the next two years I worked every Friday and Saturday night and eventually one night during the week. While the rest of my friends were off partying, I was learning as much as I could and loving it. Food started to become my life and I was happy with that!
I finally finished high school and started my apprenticeship at the resort. That was really time to learn. I went to college once a week and worked long hours. It was great. I was fully immersed in the chef world and progressing well. By the end of my 2nd year I was running the pass/grill in the 5 star brasserie restaurant during the week. I ran the Café on a busy Saturday night, wrote up staff rosters and assisted in massive functions of 700 people and more. I lived with some of the other apprentices so we surfed, ate, worked and talked about food! I managed to complete my apprenticeship 6 months early and that was great – I now had my wings.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”30″]I was ready to work, surf and snowboard the world, but it was then that I was unexpectedly swept off my feet by the love of my life and my wife today, Carly. I was head over heels and followed my heart. Carly introduced me to the chef at the winery she was working at. A few weeks later I started there as a sous chef and it was there I really honed my skills. I learnt how to lead a brigade and learnt about local seasonal produce.
After only a year it was time to move to Perth with Carly and I started at a local café that was organized through a friend from the winery. It was a lot different to what I had ever done, but I was enjoying the lifestyle. Not working nights was a bonus as I could be home with Carly. Eventually the café changed hands – I wasn’t sure how things would pan out but gave it a shot. It turned out great! I was in charge of my own kitchen leading my own team.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”30″]Three years later I felt unsure of my future. I needed a new challenge so I decided I would hand my resume to one of Perth’s best restaurants that I loved. To my surprise I got a trial interview. The trial consisted of a 14 hour unpaid day of work. I doubted whether I would be good enough to work there but I kept up with the other chefs. I learnt a lot that day but decided that that line of work wasn’t for me and turned down the job and decided to stay put for the time being. A week later I was told we were opening another café. That was great news and a new challenge! I relished being involved in setting up a café from scratch. I became executive chef of both cafes, writing menus and recipes for two places and most of all training a lot of new staff. It was hard work but I loved it.
[/vc_column_text][mk_image src=”https://happinessofpursuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/HG4.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” svg=”false” lightbox=”false” group=”_general” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”center” margin_bottom=”30″ desc=”Chef Glen Hagger”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”30″]During this time I completed a personal training course and learnt about the nutrition side of food. I wanted to teach people the joy of food and cooking and how food can really nourish the body. We also bought our own house. (Something I was desperate for so I could grow my own food). I love nothing more than picking my dinner from the garden. There’s something special about starting something from a few seeds then nurturing it for 3 to 6 months and eating fresh from the garden. It makes you really respect food, which is so easy not to do these days with so much processed food and vegetable imports.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”30″]Growing your own food really makes you learn the seasons of food. Take asparagus for example, it’s only available for 4 to 6 weeks. I also love fishing – eating a fish that you have just caught is amazing; there’s no better tasting fish.
Chef Glen’s home grown produce”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”30″]Foraging is another love of mine. The foraged figs I picked this year were just amazing! Two kilograms of fresh black figs picked in half an hour would cost $80 in the shops – it’s surprising just how much free fresh food is around. Eating a fig warm straight off the tree is just awesome. So sweet like eating jam! For me food is my life. If I’m not cooking at work, I’m cooking at home coming up with new recipes or I’m growing, catching or foraging for food. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading about food or eating amazing food!
During this time I completed a personal training course and learnt about the nutrition side of food. I wanted to teach people the joy of food and cooking and how food can really nourish the body. We also bought our own house. (Something I was desperate for so I could grow my own food). I love nothing more than picking my dinner from the garden. There’s something special about starting something from a few seeds then nurturing it for 3 to 6 months and eating fresh from the garden. It makes you really respect food, which is so easy not to do these days with so much processed food and vegetable imports. Growing your own food really makes you learn the seasons of food. Take asparagus for example, it’s only available for 4 to 6 weeks. I also love fishing – eating a fish that you have just caught is amazing; there’s no better tasting fish. Foraging is another love of mine. The foraged figs I picked this year were just amazing! Two kilograms of fresh black figs picked in half an hour would cost $80 in the shops – it’s surprising just how much free fresh food is around. Eating a fig warm straight off the tree is just awesome. So sweet like eating jam! For
Foraging is another love of mine. The foraged figs I picked this year were just amazing! Two kilograms of fresh black figs picked in half an hour would cost $80 in the shops – it’s surprising just how much free fresh food is around. Eating a fig warm straight off the tree is just awesome. So sweet like eating jam! For me food is my life. If I’m not cooking at work, I’m cooking at home coming up with new recipes or I’m growing, catching or foraging for food. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading about food or eating amazing food!
What has been your biggest challenge in following your passion and how did you overcome it?
I had to sacrifice a lot of my social life in the early days. I would work every Friday and Saturday so I lost a few friends but gained many more, socializing a lot with my work friends. I have also missed a lot of family occasions like birthdays and Christmas. I decided to change from working nights to days to have more time with family and friends. I still have to work weekends but I know no different so I don’t mind.
What lessons have you learnt along the way?
Always believe in yourself. Be confident in your decisions and don’t give up. Sacrifices will have to be made, but if you want it bad enough it’s worth it.
What discoveries about yourself have allowed you to realize your passion for food and cooking?
I have discovered that I have a real green thumb!
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
Probably the summers down south surfing everyday, working hard and hanging with Carly and friends. Creating dishes, always eating amazing food, progressing and overcoming new challenges.
What’s next for you? What does the future hold?
I recently started providing cook classes to the public and I plan to keep on building my cooking class business. Another goal is to release a paleo food line including condiments, granolas and pre-pack desserts. I want to set up a website with cooking videos and blog about growing food, etc. Eventually I’d love a food van and cooking school. I’ve got a lot of work to do!
What advice would you give anyone who has a passion for food and cooking?
You have to really love it. It’s a hard industry but the rewards are worth it. Choose a path that suits your lifestyle. Many chefs I’ve known have done something else after their apprenticeship because it didn’t agree with their lifestyle. Immerse yourself in it, live and breath it. Learn where the food comes from and do you best to share that knowledge. The world’s full of junk food. Show people what real food is!
How do you think each of us can live the fullest life possible?
Do things that make you happy.
If you’re not happy make a change.
Don’t be scared to fail.
Don’t waste your time with people who mess you around and don’t accept you for who you are.
Get outdoors – nature is truly amazing. With all the technology these days it’s easy to lock yourself away and not appreciate your surroundings.
Something as simple as a sunset on a summer’s evening can bring great joy and stress relief. Best of all its free!
People who inspire you:
My wife Carly, she’s amazing, so talented and is my rock. Matt Moran’s always been my favorite chef. He’s all about produce. His food is simple but always so good.
Augusta camping with the family, Smiths beach surfing, my garden and bbq out the back with the family.
Biggest passions in life:
Family, food and surfing.
Best bit of advice you have ever received:
Don’t give up and be confident in your decisions.
Most inspiring film you’ve seen:
“Chef” it inspired me to take the leap and do what I really love.
Most inspiring book you’ve read:
Quay Restaurant cookbook. Peter Gilmore’s food is so complex and unique. He has worked so hard to become one of world’s best chefs.
Anything is possible… what’s your wish?
My own island with perfect surf, where I can live off the land with just the family.
Best light-bulb moment:
Philosophy you live by: