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Teaching Experience

I began teaching officially in 1998, whilst studying in Birmingham. I worked as a supply teacher for the local Music Service and in addition to this set up my first private teaching practice, entering my first ABRSM exam candidate who got a Merit for Grade 1 Violin.

After graduating from University I went to America to work as a violin teacher at Encore-Coda Music Camp in Maine, New England. Here I taught individual violin lessons, music theory groups and music appreciation classes, as well as coaching the various Summer Camp Ensembles and Orchestras. My time in America introduced me to aspects of the Suzuki method of teaching, and the importance of a positive approach to practising - it was much more difficult to motivate students when there were so many other summer activities on offer!

Whilst living in Wales I established a large teaching practice in Cardiff, giving lessons to teenagers, university students, and adults in the area. For 4 years I also worked as a peripatetic violin and viola teacher for Gwent Music Service. Based in the Monmouth region, I taught at Monmouth Comprehensive School and the surrounding primary schools. My pupils ranged from 5 to 18 years old, some of whom had never seen a violin before, and some who were preparing for GCSE and A-level Music exams with the intention of applying for Music degree courses at University.

I relocated to Bristol in 2006 and now teach violin and viola at St Mary's School in Calne, and for South Gloucestershire Music and Arts Service. I also has a large private teaching practice in the South West, and give violin and viola lessons to children and adults in Bristol, Chipping Sodbury, Yate and South Gloucestershire.

My Teaching Methods

I believe that music, enjoyed and performed at any standard, can transform a person's life for the better! Not only are there numerous studies proving the benefits to a child's all-round development in academic situations and socially, but adults report feeling happier, relaxed and sometimes even physically healthier, from playing an instrument or singing.

Learning an instrument and/or playing in a group stimulates listening, motor skills, memory, self-expression, emotional development, coordination, social interaction, organisation, motivation and self-confidence, to list just a few!

My teaching philosophy puts the emphasis strongly on enjoyment as a basis for successful learning - musicians after all 'play' their instruments! Enjoying lessons and the music being learnt should be a strong incentive to practise, which means progress will be made more quickly. All pupils regardless of age should establish a regular practice routine at home to fit in with their busy lives and younger students are encouraged to use a practice diary to record their achievements each week. Parents can help enormously by setting aside 'violin time' for their young musician, so that it becomes part of everyday life. Adults are encouraged to discuss what they hope to achieve from learning the violin and what commitment they can give to practising, in order to ensure that their goals are manageable and realistic. Most importantly, I make sure all her students know how to practise, in order to use their (often limited) practice time as efficiently as possible. There is no point just playing through a piece from beginning to end, over and over, in the hope it will get better!

I never use a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to teaching, and draw on many different methods and styles to achieve the best progress for each individual musician. I am very aware that every pupil is different, and plans lessons and long-term goals to reflect this. I also have experience of teaching students with a multitude of special educational needs (including dyslexia, dyspraxia, asperger's syndrome, hearing difficulties, limited vision, and ADHD), and am very happy to discuss the best approach for individual students with their parents and families if this is relevant.

I encourage pupils to take graded music exams when appropriate, as a mark of their achievement, hard work and progress, rather than using the exam syllabus as a curriculum for teaching. I prefer to use the ABRSM exam board but have also prepared some students for TrinityGuidhall exams. I strongly believe that it is very important for pupils to develop as all-round musicians, and for this reason I encourages her pupils to learn music in many different styles, as well as developing a sound, secure technique at every stage of development.