By Jack Williams
This selfless musician has become an internet sensation having performed a number of hit singles with people with learning difficulties.
Rob Mullen’s unique style of teaching has seen him produce covers of Robbie Williams, One Republic, Snow Patrol, and Jason Mraz – all thanks to the help of some willing volunteers.
Through his work, Rob, 42, from Hamilton, New Zealand, has helped those who had never even considered a musical future to sing, play instruments and even rap.
One of his star pupils, Alex Johnsen, 27, who has Down’s Syndrome, even went viral with the teacher, after the pair produced a cover of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” that was seen around the world.
Rob said: “Alex is definitely the lead signer.
“My job is to sit back and support him and help him to focus.
“Almost immediately when Alex and I started working together, I recognised that there was so much potential within this guy.
“Since Alex and I made the “Chasing Cars” video late last year, which went completely viral and blew our minds, others that I work with have expressed interest in making video of their own.
“What I love about working with people and music is seeing the joy, confidence and happiness music has the ability to bring out in people.”
Rob has been working with people with learning difficulties for around 17 years, but it was only less than a year ago that he started working more thoroughly with music.
The songs the group play are chosen jointly by Rob and his pupils together.
Alex, who also enjoys playing the harmonica, said: “Rob has been my friend, he’s been my tutor – Rob has been here since the start.
“My future plan is to go travelling with music, make an album, and live my dream.
“I feel really excited from the things that I’ve done.
“You always have to believe in yourself – the world is with you.”