Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
Why do you suggest learning music theory alongside instrumental studies?
I believe learning theory alongside an instrument is absolutely essential to musical development. It helps players to recognise patterns, improving sight reading and gives an insight to understanding why composers or songwriters choose certain chords from a creative perspective. It also helps to solidify understanding of scales and key signatures which relates to every single piece they will ever play!
For ABRSM exams, Grade 5 theory is a prerequisite for Grade 6-8 practical. To avoid this being a hurdle when a student reaches this level, I will incorporate the grade 1-5 theory syllabus into instrumental lessons in the form of quizzes and starter tasks. I will also present the opportunity to take graded theory exams as an additional goal to aim for!
Do you have any recommendations of places to visit for instrument upgrades?
I have had excellent experiences with many instrument sellers both locally and further afield who provide very friendly and welcoming services, and stock high quality instruments. Feel free to send me a message for me to make recommendations based on budget and willingness to travel.
Can I see your public liability insurance/first aid/safeguarding training/degree DBS certificates?
Yes of course! I'm able to produce these upon request.
You teach lots of instruments, are these all to a high level?
I teach cello to post grade 8. Clarinet, piano and theory to grade 8 and other string and wind instruments listed to grade 5. I'll always be up front with my students when I feel it is time for them to seek a first study instrumentalist if it's not within my specialism.
My child doesn't seem to be making much progress, can you recommend anything to help motivate them?
Firstly, listen to lots of music. See the suggested listening and repertoire page if you're not sure where to start. See if you can find something they really like. If they find a specific piece, ask me if I have a version of it they could manage. It always helps to play something you really enjoy!
Another method people find works well for them are reward schemes, this is something you will need to discuss between yourselves.
Playing in a group with other musicians can really enhance enjoyment of playing. Ask me about local ensembles, or ask a school music teacher if they know of any other students around their level willing to create a band!
Do you stock instruments available for hire?
No, unfortunately not. I can put you in touch with local music shops or services if that's something you need help with. It's worth bearing in mind that you can quickly accumulate the value of the instrument in hire charges, so it may be worthwhile purchasing your own. I understand this can be a significant cost, especially for a beginner who may not be sure about their commitment to the instrument, but it's definitely worth considering.
Do you offer one off or consultancy lessons?
If I can fit it into my schedule, of course I will! I often get adult players who haven't played their instrument for a while looking for a couple of refresher lessons to cover the basics. I'm always happy to answer quick questions too.
Can you send me a recording of a piece I'm learning?
I do have the facilities to provide this service, but please be aware that it can take up to an hour to record 3-5 minutes of music! I can offer a recording in place of a lesson when a cancellation is made within 48 hours and therefore still charged according to my cancellation policy.
What is your cancellation policy?
I operate a standard 24/48 hour cancellation policy: if notice of absence is given within this time frames, the full fee/half fee will be due respectively. However, it is good practice to give a week notice. Lessons cannot be made up due to illness.
As a professional performing musician, I may have to miss the occasional lesson, but will give at least a week's notice out of courtesy and you will not be charged. I will not accept any performances that will give students less than a week notice unless in exceptional circumstances.
Find out what clients have to say here.
Do you have different line-up options?
Yes! I have contact details for a huge number of musicians, including pianists, harpists, singers, and other string players. Please note that my prices reflect booking one musician, I can adapt the quote accordingly should you wish to book additional players, or you can negotiate with them directly.
What if my timings change after I've booked you?
That’s absolutely fine! Please let me know with as much notice as possible, (ideally at least a week before) as I may need to notify other clients if it affects them.
If you require extra time from me, I can adapt the quote accordingly. If the timings change within a week, I will do my best to accommodate you.
How much time do you need to set up?
It takes me around 5-10 mins to set up, however I will arrive approximately 30-45 mins before booking time begins to introduce myself to any event coordinators/clients where appropriate.
Can I pick the pieces you play from the repertoire list?
Please do! I have an extensive library of repertoire stored on my iPad, which I read from whilst performing, this means nothing is further than two or three taps away! If I don’t already have a particular piece you’d like to hear, I’m always keen to expand my library.
Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?
The only thing I need provided for me on the day is an armless chair. I bring my own instrument, music stand, music scores and can provide PA equipment/own microphones if required. I’m happy to use any amplification provided, as necessary. A jug of water is always appreciated!
Can you learn specific pieces before the event?
Definitely! If I don’t already have the piece in my vast collection of music, I’m always happy to expand my library. Just let me know a week or two in advance to allow time to source the music and learn the piece!
Find out what clients have to say here.