Maple Ridge musician Bob Westfall has learned a thing or two from travelling the world.
The main thing is to pursue your passion in life.
And Westfall is following his dream of recording music while teaching English in Asia.
Westfall started his music career when he picked up a guitar at the age of eight. When he entered high school he started playing the piano, the harmonica, and he also started singing and writing his own songs around this time as well.
Westfall found that he liked older songs from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and so he decided to go into the music therapy program at Capilano University.
“It just kind of led into music therapy with seniors,” said the singer/songwriter who got his degree in 2013.
Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain and restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Westfall was mostly working in long-term care homes with seniors with dementia, and other physical and mental disabilities. He would gather groups of people, bring them to the music area and run an hour long sing-a-long music therapy group.
He would usually lead the group with a guitar, harmonica and singing of songs they knew when they were younger.
“It can really bring a person out of their dementia for moments at at time,” said Westfall adding that music therapy can decrease isolation, decrease depression, and increase sociability and activity.
Although Westfall enjoyed helping people through music therapy, he craved adventure in his life.
So, he decided to teach English abroad.
His first stop was South Korea where he taught for one year.
He came back to Canada for another year before leaving for Thailand in September 2017 where he expected to work in Bangkok.
Instead, he flew to a little island called Koh Samui, and it was here he found himself teaching and singing on for the past two years. It was here he also found inspiration for many of his latest songs.
He wrote a song called Koh Samui about how nice the island and the lifestyle is, the nice people that you meet there, and the good times that you have.
Westfall also recorded three music videos in Thailand.
“I was studying for a week on a permaculture farm in the northeast and recorded this song with a little hand held recorder,” said Westfall of another video he recorded for his song called On My Way. While working in Thailand Westfall also recorded a video in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for his song Searching For The Holy Man that features Angkor Wat or old temples around the city. The city of Battambang, Cambodia is also featured in the video.
The video for Another Coconut Shake was filmed live during a New Year’s Eve concert on the rooftop of the Ned Kelly Hotel in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Currently, Westfall is back in B.C. floating between Maple Ridge, 100 Mile House and Prince George, working on new songs for a new album and mixing older albums. He is working on a live album he recorded in Bangkok, as well as a live album recorded in South Korea.
He is planning to be back in Thailand in January to teach. But before he goes back, he wants to do a good recording of the song Koh Samui so when he returns to the city he can film a music video for it.
Westfall says it should be available on YouTube and on moonlightpoetmusic.com early in the new year.