Experience / Brief History

Over 28 years teaching experience – includes 8 years as a peripatetic teacher in schools in Surrey (age range 6 to 17 years), adult class teaching, private tuition.

Performance work: bands, duos, solo playing.

Gave up peripatetic teaching in 2006 due to a need to relocate to the north. I then undertook a music degree course from 2006-09, followed by a Masters 2009-10.

Was given the honour of being student of the year in 2009, as well as having one of my compositions (for voice and piano) selected for performance at a university-based (but open to and attended by members of the public) concert.


Qualifications

  • MMus (with distinction) – University of Hull
  • BMus (hons) Music – University of Hull
  • CTMA (Music Teaching Certificate) – University of London (Goldsmiths)
  • CMA (Certifcate in Music Studies) – University of London (Goldsmiths)

 

More detailed background info

I occasionally get asked how I learned to play the guitar, and whether or not I followed any particular ‘method’.  For anyone who may be interested I’ve therefore written a brief summary of my own guitar/music background and qualifications gained.

My first proper experience of playing music as opposed to listening to it came via recorder lessons at school.   Playing the instrument gave me the opportunity to take part, as part of a recorder ensemble, in music concerts and competitions.   It wasn’t too long before I took up the flute and became a member of the school orchestra and military band.   Musically fulfilling as all this was, my enthusiasm for rock/pop music and the guitar became greater than my love of the flute and the repertoire on offer at the school.

The rock music I grew up listening to was not only musically and sonically exciting but it also had elements of other musical styles, such as jazz, folk, and classical, even though, given the absence of any academic study of the genre at that time, it generally fell under the generic term ‘rock’.  Consequently the transition, later on, from listening to rock music to listening, and then studying music by ‘classical’ composers such as Delius, Vaughan Williams, Debussy, Glass, as well as jazz music was, in my case, relatively seamless.  

Due to the excruciatingly boring manner in which music was taught at school  I dropped the subject after five years, pursuing instead languages (to degree level).   However, music continued to take up an equal, sometimes greater, amount of my time and it wasn’t long before I began playing in bands as well as securing work as part of a duo.  Playing in a band provided a stimulus for developing existing  musical skills: guitar playing and arranging,   Playing as part of a duo proved to some extent even more challenging, and further contributed to my development as a musician: I learned fairly quickly how to arrange for a solo guitar tunes that would normally be played in a band setting.   From this the progression to classical guitar was a natural one.

I was, at this time, also enrolled on a PGCE course, studying  and gaining experience in classroom teaching at both junior and senior level.  In fact the experience was extremely valuable in so far as it convinced me that classroom teaching would not be a career I would be pursuing.   I did, however, discover that teaching guitar privately could be fairly lucrative as well as hugely enjoyable, and in fact more reliable than playing music for a living, although I didn’t give up the latter altogether. 

The teaching certificate I gained at Goldsmiths University was the end product of a two year course.  It involved designing lesson plans, giving presentations on music- related topics, teaching practice ( I gave classes on jazz), and of course much studying of music education matters.  Musically, I had already begun to widen my interests to include jazz music, and spent long hours transcribing solos by Django Reinhardt from library recordings.

Following the music teaching course I now felt confident enough to run adult classes (in Epsom and Sutton, Surrey).  The classes included beginner through to intermediate and advanced rock/pop guitar, as well as advanced jazz. 

In 1998 I began work as a peripatetic music/guitar teacher, teaching in various schools in Surrey, continuing also to give evening classes as well as teaching privately.

In 2002 I passed an audition (guitar performance) and interview which enabled me to pursue an advanced Music Studies certificate course at Goldsmiths University.   The course – a fairly intense one – involved composition (for piano, guitar, big band, and orchestral instruments in general); aural training; harmonic analysis of set extracts from a considerable period of classical music; performance; presentation talks.  Obtaining the certificate was good, but better still was the vastly increased knowledge gained after the two years.

After eight years of peripatetic teaching I relocated, due to family/personal reasons to the north, and successfully gained admission to Hull University where I undertook  a music degree course (BMus.) after which I completed another year at the university, gaining in 2010 a masters degree (MMus.) with distinction,

On the music front I’m currently teaching guitar and music (reading , theory etc.), as well as further developing my own skills (which includes performance skills).