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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

4 mins ago

Sarah Christensen-Gilmore overcame challenges to obtain her Bachelor of Teaching Primary from EIT and is now working as a teacher in Napier.

Svetlana Eliason may be a new EIT IDEAschool Music Lecturer, but she has some serious rock pedigree, having played bass guitar for internationally known acts over the years.

Svetlana, originally from Bulgaria, recently relocated from London with her Hawke’s Bay-born husband, Todd, to take up a role as a music lecturer at EIT’s Hawke’s Bay campus. She has an adult son who lives in London, and an eight-year-old son, Adler, who is in Hawke’s Bay with her.

Known professionally by her maiden name of Svetlana Vassileva, she has toured with renowned American musician Moby and was, most recently, a performing and recording bassist for English band Right Said Fred, including a live session at the famous Abbey Road Studios.

Svetlana may be fresh off the plane, but she has settled into her new role very well. She is no stranger to academia, having taught for many years at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) in London, where she was Head of Live Performance and, for the last four years, a Leader for a BMus music performance course.

She has a Master’s in Popular Music Performance and is currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning. At IDEAschool, she is teaching the music theory lessons for both the Diploma and the Bachelor of Creative Practice and running the performance workshops.

“What we are doing in the performance workshops is incredibly practical. I’m just hoping to inspire the students to create really good music, to give them some tools that they can use immediately and to encourage them to collaborate”.

“Quite often students on Popular Music Programmes don’t particularly enjoy the theory so much and for that I’m just trying to make it relevant to help them see how it can be useful for them in their practical life as musicians.”

Svetlana is simply happy to be teaching and is enjoying life on EIT’s Hawke’s Bay campus.

“I’m really enjoying the space – the building I worked in Fulham, London, was quite small. I enjoy the fact that I can walk up to the top of the hill during my lunch break and there are green spaces everywhere. And I find IDEAschool inspiring as I can walk past and see other creatives (art, fashion, film and design students) doing their work.”

As for her own music, Svetlana appreciates “funky and soulful” sounds.

“The music I enjoy is older Motown, seventies funk and soul and James Brown. From the more current artists, I enjoy listening to artists like Bruno Mars, Celeste and Jacob Collier. The Beatles were the first band that I really loved as a kid, so it started from there. I do like most genres, but then again bass players do tend to be quite diverse in their tastes.”

While it is still early days to think about starting a local band, Svetlana says it is something that could happen in the future.

“I am still waiting for all my equipment to arrive, but I have met quite a few musicians and they are keen to make some music in the very near future, I hope!”