Doha, Qatar - December 27, 2021 : For GEMS American Academy – Qatar (AAQ) music teacher Martin Farragher, music has always been a part of his life, from singing in bands in his home-country of Ireland to performing at weddings. In November this year, the guitar-playing teacher swapped singing to Grade 3 students for performing at Qatar’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Farragher, who performs under the stage name Faraway Martin, landed a last-minute opportunity to play on the main stage of the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix, which saw him headline on the Saturday evening. For the music teacher, music is a passion that he gets to share with his students at AAQ and the whole community.
“The staging and the setting were amazing, but for me the real highlight of performing at the Grand Prix was seeing some of my students there with their parents. My students think I’m a celebrity (I’m far from that!), but it certainly seems to motivate them to pay more attention in class.”
Gala Al Alansari, a Grade 3 AAQ student, who was at the Grand Prix performance with her parents said: “I loved hearing my favourite Faraway Martin song, Let You Down. There were so many people and it was cool that Mr. Martin came down from the stage and took pictures with me and my family.”
Faraway Martin finds that having a repertoire of songs and videos to show the students inspires them, and enables the students to connect with different genres and instruments.
“This term, my Grade 2 class has been learning Three Little Birds by Bob Marley in sign language, and some of the students were not connecting with the music,” he explains. “But when I showed them a video of me playing the same song at a gig, it really motivated them.
“Performing at large gigs like the Grand Prix is awesome, especially as many live events were cancelled due to COVID-19. Getting back on stage and performing original music is a wonderful feeling. As a teacher, I have the unique opportunity to share the joy of music with the next generation and teach them to find their own voice.”
Faraway Martin’s grand prix performance has led to further opportunities and his latest single, "I Wanna Go”, has recently been release to radio stations in Qatar, where it has made its way into the Top 40 most played songs on QBS Radio. Additionally, the teacher is preparing new music for 2022 and is planning an all-ages concert in Doha where his students and their families can come to support, and sing along.
GEMS American Academy – Qatar encourages creative expression through music, art and theatre from the early years through to Middle School and High School, where students can take advantage of instrumental music, vocal music and choir, as well as drama. Upper school students can take multifaceted art classes, including two Advanced Placement (AP) classes: AP 2D Art and Design, and AP 3D Art and Design. Moreover, music enthusiasts can take advantage of a dedicated woodwinds room as well as the only K-12 music production studio in Qatar.
Mark Lentz, CEO / Principal, GEMS American Academy – Qatar, said: “We are very proud of Mr Farragher’s achievements in and out of school. We are fortunate to have such an excellent musician and inspirational teacher on our staff. Students at AAQ get to enjoy creative arts and music throughout their school careers, and it is an integral part of our school culture. We encourage our learners to fully develop their talents and interests, and it is inspirational for our students to see that their teachers are modelling that mantra and pursuing their own passions, too.”