Teaching Style

Focus on Music

My approach to teaching focuses on learning music as much as the technical aspects of playing the instrument. It is important to have a thorough understanding of how to play your instrument and that is a key part of lessons. However, music itself is a broader and deeper subject than any one instrument. I aim to provide my students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of music alongside learning their particular instrument. This musical knowledge is transferrable to any instrument and provides a foundation for all types of musical activity from performance and practice to composition, song writing, production and teaching.

To achieve these aims I incorporate music theory and music reading in to my lessons. While it is possible to learn some instruments (particularly guitar and bass) and achieve a reasonable level of proficiency without formally covering these topics, I believe they provide an important foundation to musical understanding. I will always be guided by the student’s goals and preferences, but I encourage all students to include theory and reading as elements of their learning. I work these topics in to lessons so that they are relevant to students’ current musical activity rather than teaching them separately as dry academic topics separate from the making of music itself.

Grade Exams

I am happy to work towards grade exams with students. I personally find the structure of the grade system a useful way to learn and have done a number of grade exams in different instruments. However, I know that this approach doesn’t suit everyone and I would always discuss with the student whether it is appropriate for them. It is entirely possible to become an excellent musician and derive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from learning music without ever taking a grade exam.

Tailored Approach

I will always strive to understand what my students aspire to achieve from music, and how they feel they learn most effectively. From this I can tailor lessons to make sure we best achieve the outcome they desire. This is an ongoing process, as students learn and understand more their focus may change so we will review their goals regularly.

I realise that everyone wants different things from music. Some aspire to perform in front of thousands, others enjoy it as a solitary pursuit. Some seek virtuosic technical ability, others simply want to know enough to accompany themselves or others singing or playing other instruments. Whatever the student’s ambition I will work with them to develop the skills to achieve it.

Most importantly, I hope to share the joy and pleasure that comes from learning and playing music. I believe that music is inherently rewarding in itself, and I have also found that it teaches valuable lessons and disciplines which are applicable throughout life, even beyond the musical practice and performance. My aim is to share all of this with my students.