Oulun ammattikorkeakoulu
ePooki 39/2017

Creating a life story through music – An interview with Karen Foley

24.11.2017 ::


Nimeke: Creating a life story through music – An interview with Karen Foley. Teoksessa H. Pietiläinen & A. Peltola (toim.) 2017. Ei kannata etsiä syyllistä, vaan hyvä syy – Risto Järvenpään juhlajulkaisu

Tekijä: Foley Karen

Aihe, asiasanat:

Tiivistelmä: Karen Foley tells in this interview, how did she know Risto Järvenpää, what is Risto's style as a pedagogue, what are his strengths, what is Risto's approach towards music and what are her personal experience about working with Risto.

Julkaisija: Oulun ammattikorkeakoulu, Oamk

Aikamääre: Julkaistu 2017-11-24

Pysyvä osoite: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe2017111650745

Kieli: englanti

Suhde: http://urn.fi/URN:ISSN:1798-2022, ePooki - Oulun ammattikorkeakoulun tutkimus- ja kehitystyön julkaisut

Oikeudet: Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

Näin viittaat tähän julkaisuun

Foley, K. 2017. Creating a life story through music – An interview with Karen Foley. Teoksessa H. Pietiläinen & A. Peltola (toim.) 2017. Ei kannata etsiä syyllistä, vaan hyvä syy – Risto Järvenpään juhlajulkaisu. ePooki. Oulun ammattikorkeakoulun tutkimus- ja kehitystyön julkaisut 39. Hakupäivä 22.10.2020. http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe2017111650745.

Karen Foley taught school music to primary school students for 35 years in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.  She retired in 2012, but is still active in music activities here in the USA, as well as continuing to attend music courses in Europe.

How did you meet Risto and what kind of projects have you done together?

Risto and I first met during a one week music course in Vienna, Austria, in July 1994. It was an interesting collection of musicians from around the world, gathered together to learn and share music. It has been during many of these summer music courses, most often in Finland, that I have been fortunate to play music with Risto. These have included group projects/performances, drum circles, folk music, children’s music, as well as a variety of improvisational movement and music.

What is Risto’s style as a pedagogue?

Risto’s style is so Risto! He is relaxed in his teaching, yet very focused. He shares his expertise with humor, but he is also very serious. I have seen him encourage shy performers to be part of a group, finding their hidden strengths, and giving them the confidence to share their talents. Part analyst, he observes each individual to help them journey in and through the music, the rhythms, and the story.

What are his strengths?

Risto is a composer and storyteller above all else. He knows the direction the music is taking us, and he brings us along gently, always with a story to be told through the music and lyrics. His relaxed style allows each individual to interact, to sing, to move, to play, to help create in the moment, giving the music deeper meaning, bringing out the story in each person.

What is Risto’s approach towards music?

He is unique and very real in his choices of lyrics and of the music itself. Risto creates graceful poetry in the lyrics of songs for children. His children’s songs appear simple, yet they have a connection to the child in each one of us. A Risto song can bring a smile or a tear - or both - to each individual, as we realize the personal connections he makes through both the complexity and simplicity of his music. His songs touch on everyday life, the fun, the joys, the emotions, making his music very relatable. I sense Risto’s approach is total inclusion - music is everywhere, music for all. We can create, using our own life story, through music. Music is natural, music is life. Music helps us reveal (even to our own selves) who we truly are. 

What are your own personal experiences about working with Risto?

I am in awe of Risto’s musical talents. His professionalism and guidance give me the strength to break through my limits, daring to be more myself than ever before. It is through experiencing his music, either by listening or performing, that I discover (and delight) in the true humanness of Risto’s music. And in this discovery, I also find myself. These moments of self awareness, self discovery, made possible by Risto, help each of us see how absolutely unique each person is, as well as our human connections. Risto's music makes me laugh, cry, and enjoy the life human beings share together. Working with, performing with Risto always makes me smile! Kiitos paljon, Risto! ONNEA!

Karen Foley and Risto Järvenpää selfie

Karen Foley and Risto Järvenpää selfie


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