Summer Term 2017

Hello, I do hope that you are having a good Easter break in readiness for Summer term (less than a week away!). Here’s some news & information for you; do please have a read through and keep as a reference.

1. Lessons: will commence on Tuesday 18th April.

Do please look at the lesson dates & your lesson time on your Invoice and please note any breaks in lessons - including Monday 1st  May (Bank holiday) & Wednesday 28th June (Royal Norfolk Show day & I shall be busy with ensembles from Norwich School & possibly Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians). Summer Term lessons will end on Friday 21st July (last day of lessons, when Norfolk Schools commence their summer break). I shall be offering lessons during the Summer break, on the Friday (and possibly Saturday morning) of each week that I am here (dates to follow).

2. ABRSM Spring Term Exam Results: Most results are in and I am happy to report that once again you have produced some excellent results & another 100% pass rate! Well done to all pupils. All results will be displayed on the notice board in the hall/waiting area.

3. ABRSM Summer Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the week of the 19th June (quite early!). I shall most likely be holding my pupils’ exams on Tuesday 20th June. Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring. The closing date for all exams is Friday 28th April.

Once again I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggios before you apply to take your exam and to also have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard. The coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at aural & sight-reading. I would advise that you do get the appropriate Aural book (entitled ‘Specimen Aural Tests’, book & CD) for your particular Grade. For more information please look at: www.abrsm.org (and follow the link to ‘Shop’).

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Saturday 17th June (most probably at the Hewett High School).

5. Norwich School ‘Senior Jazz Band’ @ the Royal Norfolk Show: Once again I shall be co-directing & playing with the Norwich School ‘Senior Jazz Band’ (with Richard Allain/Director of Music) & with ‘NS Saxology’ (a nine-piece saxophone ensemble) at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show. Once again we have been invited to play another 30 minute set on the Bandstand (on Wednesday 28th  June) and so come along and have a listen if you are at the Show on the Wednesday. For more information on the RNS & Norwich School do visit – www.royalnorfolkshow.co.uk / www.norwich-school.org.uk

6. Young Norfolk Arts Festival: This will be taking place between Friday 30th June & Sunday 9th July. This is the fifth year of this unique festival, which was initiated by Stephan Griffiths (Head Master of Norwich School) and is now growing in size & momentum across the Norfolk region with many Schools now involved. Please do have a look at the YNAF website to discover the diverse and impressive list of Arts events planned for this year. For more information & booking please visit: ynaf.org.uk

7. Achievements: As you know a good number of my pupils have in the past reached advanced levels of playing and have been awarded top prizes in local, regional and national music festivals & competitions. These include the Norfolk County Music Festival, Norfolk Young Musician of the Year and the BBC Young Musician competition - where one of my pupils, Finlay McEwen, reached the woodwind semi-finals in Cardiff during 2014.

Finlay is now in his third year of studies at the Guiildhall School of Music & Drama and now under the tuition of John Harle, one of the world’s finest saxophonists and renowned composer. John has recently invited Finlay to join his Saxophone quartet & so he will be perfoming with them shortly in London. I can also share with you that Finlay has been invited to perform here in Norfolk with the Academy Of St Thomas (in the Autumn). I shall give you good notice of ticket availability.

Michael Anning, for the third year, has been awarded a place at the National Youth Jazz Collective and also at the Junior Guildhall School of Music. Michael was awarded third prize in the 2017 ‘Norfolk Young Musicians’ Competition’ and is to take his DipABRSM (Music Diploma) this Summer. Having been offered a place at all of the Music Academies that he applied for Michael has accepted a scholarship award to study at the Birmingham Conservatiore, commencing this September.

I was thrilled that two Saxophonists were awarded a prize at this year’s Norfolk Young Musicians. The second of my pupils to enter for this fiercely competitive event was Jonathan Jolly and he was awarded the Norfolk & Norwich Chamber Music Prize for ‘most promising wind player’.

George Corson has been awarded (for the second year) membership of the Aldeburgh Young Musicians programme. This prestigious organization holds special programmes, workshops, retreats and events, usually during holiday seasons. Entry to AYM is competitive and so those that are awarded a place are to be highly commended.

9. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk)

NCYM is the ‘flagship Music Centre of the Norfolk Music Service and Guildhall School of Music’ (www.gsmd.ac.uk). Its mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. The Centre is not there for the complete beginner, however, but for ‘talented musicians in the earliest stages of learning who are able to demonstrate a technical and musical fluency’. NCYM’s priorities are to provide:

1. High quality, sustainable, week by week Saturday training in association with the GSMD.

2. Access to high quality music experiences, working with professional musicians.

3. A holistic curriculum, embracing individual & group instruction & ensembles in a variety of styles & genres.

4. High quality NCYM Tutors who have been appointed through a quality assurance partnership with the GSMD.

Since my appointment in January 2016, initially to direct the NCYM Jazz Ensemble (which then numbered approximately 6 pupils), I have become extremely impressed with this unique and exciting new initiative here in Norfolk and very grateful to be a member of this excellent teaching team. I now have a full programme of lessons (individual pupil lessons) and have established two Saxophone Ensembles (NCYM Saxology & Junior Saxology). Each ensemble has grown fast and have given very impressive performances at various events and concerts this last term. I am so incredibly proud of all pupils.

During the Summer term at NCYM there will be a full programme of events, including a workshops and concert by pupils and staff of the Guildhall School of Music. There will also be an Open Day and also end of term Concert.

Do visit the website for more information and please let me know if you might like to become a part of NCYM! It is huge fun and such an amazing place to be on a Saturday!

10. Holiday Lessons: As you know I do offer lessons during the Summer Break. This has always been very helpful as keeping some kind of momentum & rhythm (in practice & lessons) can be inhibited particularly by the long summer break. It is also a chance to just enjoy playing and to maintain some continuity during holiday breaks. Therefore, I shall be offering (catch-up & extra) lessons during the Summer Break on each Friday (and possibly Saturday mornings if there is a demand for these for certain weeks - for the weeks that I am here at home). Please do use any outstanding/missed lessons & catch these up during either this term or during the summer holiday break. I shall publish available dates later on in the term but do feel free to start planning holiday lessons as soon as you are able and we can then fix these into the diary. 

11. BACS/Payment of Fees: Please remember to mark your payment details clearly – I do still receive one or two payments that do not resemble the name of either the pupil or parent? Please mark your payment details in this manner – Jan Garbarek’s Saxophone Lessons (or something similar). This will assist greatly. It might help if you let me know by email if you do use this method of payment initially (I can then monitor your first payment). Thank you.

Don’t forget to visit my website for ongoing news & information. I look forward to seeing you soon

My best wishes to you for another excellent term, David

 

Spring Term 2017                                                                                 

A very Happy New Year! I do hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas and that you are now ready for the new term!  Here’s some news & information for you, do please read this through and keep as a reference (particularly the various dates): 

1. Lessons: will commence on Thursday 5th January. (Spring Term will end on Friday 31st March – last day of lessons). 

2. ABRSM Winter Term Exam Results: have not yet come in. Once I do receive this information (from the ABRSM/Norwich School Music Office) I shall inform you right away and also post the results on the Notice Board here at my home. 

3. ABRSM Spring Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the final week of the School’s Lent term (week of the 20th March). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring. The closing date for all exams is Friday 13th January.

 Once again I do need to stress that should know all of your scales & arpeggios and have a comprehensive understanding of the required Aural tests before you apply to take your exam. You will also need to have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard (at the beginning of term). This coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at sight-reading skills. For Aural preparation I would highly recommend that you purchase the excellent study booklet (which comes with a CD) ‘Specimen Aural Tests’ (which is available from St George’s Music or online). Remember also that there is a very strict rule regarding actual copies of music used for the exam. Original published editions must be used (and not photocopies). For all information relating to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music & exam requirements please visit: www.abrsm.org 

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Wednesday 1st  March at 5pm (at the City of Norwich/CNS or Hewett School). As an option to Music Theory you can also qualify to proceed to Grades 6-8 by taking and passing the Jazz Grade 5 practical exam. For some pupils this is a preferred option. As a bonus you get to learn the language of Jazz (it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also improvisation opportunities). I am equally at home with both Classical & Jazz traditions and so willing and very able to assist you.

5. Norfolk County Music Festival (27th February – 10th March 2017) – This annual Music Festival was established in 1925. This year’s adjudicator is teacher & composer Sally Adams . The Woodwind performances will take place on Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd March at the Central Baptist Church, Duke Street, Norwich. Exact times and dates will be announced shortly. To performers & those wishing to attend I would highly recommend that you do get full information & programmes (when these do become available). If you would like to consider performing in 2018 I would invite you to attend this year’s event so that you get more of an idea of the nature of the Festival and also the standard of performances. In my opinion this remains the most prestigious event of its kind within this region. There is a competitive edge to the performances and public adjudication is not to everybody’s liking, but I do believe that there are great advantages to a) playing in public & b) being open to comments made by our adjudicators (which should always be to assist & to encourage). Full details & contact information are available from the excellent NCMF Website - http://norfolkmusic.org.uk

6. Norfolk Young Musicians 2017: This annual competition (which is open to post Grade 8 pupils, age 25 and under) will take place at the John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich on Sunday 15th January (performances will be between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm with prizes and awards being presented by this year’s visiting adjudicator at the end of the day). You are very welcome to attend whichever session is suitable and entry is free (there is a retiring collection, to support this unique event). In past years a good number of my pupils have been awarded prizes, including three pupils winning the title of ‘Norfolk Young Musician’ (the most recent being Finlay McEwen, who is now in his 3rd year of study at the Guildhall School of Music in London).Two of my pupils will be performing this year – Michael Anning (Alto Saxophone) & Jonathan Jolly (Alto Saxophone). Michael, for the last two years, has been awarded a place at the National Youth Jazz Collective (www.nationalyouthjazz.co.uk) and also Junior Guildhall (www.gsmd.ac.uk/youth_adult_learning/junior_guildhall/) - which is a weekly Saturday school in London. He is due to commence full time study, in September 2017, at the Birmingham Conservatoire (http://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire). 

So, do come along, enjoy the music and support these competitors who have worked so hard to reach this standard of performance. If you would like more specific times for Michael & Jonathan’s performance do please let me know and I shall get these to you. For more information do please visit: www.academyofstthomas.com (and follow the link to Trust)

7. Music Ensembles 

As you know I strongly advocate that every pupil might find a place within some kind of musical ensemble. To me this has to be one of the most rewarding experiences of being a musician, at whatever level of ability. There are so many options that await the music student of any instrument and thankfully we live in a County where this is recognized and (at present) is supported by local government (despite budgets being so severely cut) and through the dedication of those within the County Music Services. 

I have posted a few of these ensemble opportunities on the notice board for you but do please have a look at this excellent new website and see if there is something that would interest you. There are ensembles for pupils at most levels of ability and so you could journey through these as your technical and reading skills progress. For many of you there are great opportunities for playing in a band or an orchestra within your school environment. This is not the situation for all however and so do please examine these options and speak with me so that we can discuss your personal objectives and preference. I will then do all that I can to assist you to discover the joy & fulfillment of making music with others within the right ensemble.

Norfolk Music Hub: http://norfolkmusichub.org.uk/

8. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk)

I have just ended my first year with NCYM (described as the ‘flagship Music Centre of the Norfolk Music Service’ and part of the Guildhall School of Music’ (www.gsmd.ac.uk). Its mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. The Centre is not there for the complete beginner, however, but for ‘talented musicians in the earliest stages of learning who are able to demonstrate a technical and musical fluency’. NCYM’s priorities are to provide:

1. High quality, sustainable, week by week Saturday training in association with the GSMD.

2. Access to high quality music experiences, working with professional musicians.

3. A holistic curriculum, embracing individual & group instruction & ensembles in a variety of styles & genres.

4. High quality NCYM Tutors who have been appointed through a quality assurance partnership with the GSMD.

Since my appointment in January 2016, initially to direct the NCYM Jazz Ensemble (now called NCYMjazz!), I have become extremely impressed with this unique and exciting new initiative here in Norfolk and very grateful to be a member of this excellent teaching team. I have a full diary of individual pupil lessons and will also be directing a two Saxophone Ensembles this coming term (Junior & Senior under my working title of ‘Saxology’). NCYMjazz has grown and developed considerably.

During the Spring term there will be a full programme of events, including a workshops and concerts in association with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. There will also be a Concert at the end of term – on Saturday 25th March at the Salvation Army Citadel – where the Chamber Choir, Wind Quintet, String Quartet, Senior Strings, Chamber Ensemble, Percussion Group, Senior Wind Band & NCYMjazz! will be performing. Do put this into the diary, it will be a fantastic evening of music by these very fine young musicians.

Do visit the website for more information and please let me know if you might like to become a part of NCYM! 

9. Pupils’ Summer Recital:  I have been giving further thought & consideration regarding this hugely enjoyable event. Each Summer I have looked forward to this pupil & family gathering and have to say I am very fond of it indeed (as are my pupils and parents). So, I am looking at holding an event at the end of Summer Term (possibly on a Saturday, afternoon/early evening). I shall be speaking to one or two venues regarding availability and will confirm details at the end of this term. Please do speak to me or email any ideas or thoughts that you might have in the meantime? Thank you 

Finally, thank you so very much for your gifts, cards and messages during the Christmas season, I do very much appreciate all of these. I look forward to seeing you soon. Please visit my website for ongoing news & information. 

My best wishes to you for another excellent term and a very Happy New Year to you and to all your family!

David

 

Winter Term 2016  

 Hello again, I do hope that you have had a wonderful summer and are now ready for the coming term! Here’s some news & information for you, do please read through and keep as a reference (particularly the various dates):

1. Lessons: will commence on Monday 5th September. Winter term lessons will end on Friday 16th December (last day of lessons). I know that some pupils’ schools will have broken up the previous week but not most (including all Norfolk County schools, whose term ends on Friday 16th December).

There are a few dates that I shall be away this term: including Wednesday 7th & Thursday 8th September (I am playing Alto Saxophone & Flute with the Norwich School Orchestra for their production of Mel Brooks’ comic parody ‘The Producers’ at The Garage, Norwich. This show was awarded ‘Best Young Cast’ at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. To read more of this production: http://www.norwich-school.org.uk/news/detail.asp?ItemID=18137#.V8LZFGV01Ih

I shall also be away from Tuesday 18th – Tuesday 25th October. That week I shall be playing for a short tour in Holland with composer/musician/singer (and long term friend) Adrian Snell for the 30th Anniversary of his project called ‘Alpha & Omega’. I was part of the original recording (back in 1986) and then toured with Adrian & his team of musicians, singers & choirs for many years across Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world. There are plans for a live recording and video footage of these concerts and so I shall let you know if these do materialize. For more information on the work and music of Adrian do please visit: www.adrian-snell.com

I do apologise for my absence from time to time and can assure you that do think carefully before accepting any invitations to perform (or record), as I do not wish to disturb my teaching diary or lesson commitments. I will continue to offer lesson options for half-term and other holiday breaks and hope that these might compensate for my absence.

2. ABRSM Summer Term Exam Results: are all in & now posted on the notice board. We have once again achieved some truly excellent results this last term & so very well done to all pupils. More than half were awarded a Distinction or a Merit pass. I am very proud of you all. To keep future standards high (and to maintain that 100% pass objective) we do have to be fully prepared in all areas of the exam syllabus (particularly with regard to scales & arpeggios, aural etc…). This will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners.

3. ABRSM Winter Exams: will be taken during the week of the 5th December (and will be held at Norwich School). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this term. The closing date for all exams is Friday 23rd September. Once again I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggios before you apply to take your exam and to also have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard. The coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at aural & sight-reading. For further information and helpful advice do please visit the ABRSM website: www.abrsm.org

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Tuesday 8th   November at 5pm (at either the Hewett School or ‘The Ark’/CNS).

5. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital  - There was no recital this last Summer. I for one did miss this annual event as we have enjoyed these so much over the years. I am planning to organize another recital in 2017 but will need to find ways of avoiding conflicts with end of term school concerts, events and other activities. I am hoping that we shall hold next year’s Summer Recital here in the City of Norwich. I do have a venue in mind. More on this to follow in due course…

6. Paying Fees by BACS: just a gentle reminder to ask that you do please make sure that you mark your name clearly when setting this up: i.e. ‘John Harle’s Saxophone Fees’. I do still receive a few ‘mystery’ payments but most come through with absolute clarity and so thank you for your kind assistance.

7. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk): I have just ended my second term with NCYM (described as the ‘flagship Music Centre of the Norfolk Music Service’ and part of the Guildhall School of Music’ (www.gsmd.ac.uk). Its mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. The Centre is not there for the complete beginner, however, but for ‘talented musicians in the earliest stages of learning who are able to demonstrate a technical and musical fluency’. NCYM’s priorities are to provide:

1. High quality, sustainable, week by week Saturday training in association with the GSMD.

2. Access to high quality music experiences, working with professional musicians.

3. A holistic curriculum, embracing individual & group instruction & ensembles in a variety of styles & genres.

4. High quality NCYM Tutors who have been appointed through a quality assurance partnership with the GSMD.

Since my appointment in January, initially to direct the NCYM Jazz Ensemble (now called NCYMjazz), I have become extremely impressed with this unique and exciting new initiative here in Norfolk and very grateful to be a member of this excellent teaching team. I have a full diary of individual pupil lessons and will also be directing a two Saxophone Ensembles this coming term (Junior & Senior under my working title of ‘Saxology’). NCYMjazz has grown and developed considerably. In November we shall be holding our very first evening of Jazz (in fact and evening of ‘Jazz & Fireworks’ at The Sanctuary on Saturday 5th November).

During the Winter term there will be a full programme of events, including a workshops and concerts in association with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. There will also be an Open Day and also end of term Concert.

Do visit the website for more information and please let me know if you might like to become a part of NCYM!

8. New Fees/New Lesson Agreements : I send to you a new Lesson Agreement for 2016/2017 and would ask that you read these through and if you are in agreement please sign and return this to me during the first week of term. Please do let me know if you would like a signed copy and I shall then make a copy of the agreement for you to keep for your own records. You will see that there has been no increase in my lesson fees this year.

9. Gifts & Cards: I really would like to thank you for your various gifts, cards & messages each term. I am truly grateful for these, particularly when you go to the trouble of preparing something of your own making or design. You can be sure that I treasure these items (and do keep them). These are all the more precious when my pupils reach the end of their schooling and move on to either University or Music Academy. I will look at these from time to time and in this way can remember pupils from the past.

10. Address Book/ /Pupil Information: Thank you for keeping me updated me with your contact details. Please let me reassure you that all pupil information is treated in the strictest confidence.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

My best wishes to you for another good term, David

 

Summer Term 2016

Hello, I do hope that you are having a good Easter break in readiness for Summer term. Here’s some news & information for you; do please have a read through and keep as a reference. 

1. Lessons: will commence on Monday 11th April

Do please look at the lesson dates & your lesson time on your Invoice and please note any breaks in lessons - including Monday 2nd May (Bank holiday) Friday 13th & Monday 16th May (Carolyn & I are attending the National Baptist Assembly in Oxford – where I am also playing with the Worship band, which is being directed this year by our son Rev Andrew Fitzgerald). Summer Term lessons will end on Wednesday 20th July (last day of lessons, when Norfolk Schools commence their summer break). I shall be offering lessons during the Summer break, on the Friday of each week that I am here.

2. ABRSM Spring Term Exam Results: I am still waiting to receive the results from the Norwich School music office. Once all of the results are in I shall send these out by email and post onto the notice board in the reception hall for all to share. Hoping for some excellent results once again!

3. ABRSM Summer Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the week of the 20th June (quite early!). I shall most likely be holding my pupils’ exams on Tuesday 21st June. Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring. The closing date for all exams is Friday 22nd April.

Once again I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggios before you apply to take your exam and to also have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard. The coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at aural & sight-reading. I would advise that you do get the appropriate Aural book (entitled ‘Specimen Aural Tests’, book & CD) for your particular Grade. For more information please look at: www.abrsm.org (and follow the link to ‘Shop’).

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Saturday 18th June (most probably at the Hewett High School). 

5. Norwich School ‘Senior Jazz Band’ @ the Royal Norfolk Show: I shall be co-directing & playing with the Norwich School ‘Senior Jazz Band’ (with Richard Allain/Director of Music) & possibly with ‘Saxology’ (a nine-piece saxophone ensemble) at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show. Once again we have been invited to play another 30 minute set on the Bandstand (on Wednesday 29th  June) and so come along and have a listen if you are at the Show on the Wednesday. For more information on the RNS & Norwich School do visit – www.royalnorfolkshow.co.uk / www.norwich-school.org.uk 

6. Young Norfolk Arts Festival: This will be taking place between Friday 1st & Sunday 10th July. This is the fourth year of this unique festival, which was initiated by Stephan Griffiths (Head Master of Norwich School) and is now growing in size & momentum across the Norfolk region with many Schools now involved. Please do have a look at the YNAF website to discover the diverse and impressive list of Arts events planned for this year. For more information & booking please visit: www.ynaf.org.uk 

7. Pupils’ Summer Recital:  I have been giving a great deal of thought & consideration regarding this hugely enjoyable event. Each Summer I have looked forward to this pupil & family gathering and have to say I am very fond of it indeed. However, circumstances do change and I am questioning if this event is needed any more? 

Each year numbers of those attending have reduced. Most schools now have an extremely busy programme of concerts and other events and pupils are becoming increasingly in demand. Summer term is such a busy one and this has become even more so with the introduction of the Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

So, for this year at least, I have decided to put the Summer Recital on hold. I do hope that you are not disappointed? It would be very helpful to get your feedback? Do let me know your thoughts, they would be very welcome and helpful for the future. 

8. Achievements: As you know a good number of my pupils have in the past reached advanced levels of playing and have been awarded top prizes in local, regional and national music festivals & competitions. These include the Norfolk County Music Festival (www.norfolk-music-festival.org), Norfolk Young Musician of the Year (www.academyofstthomas.com) and even the BBC Young Musician competition (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bb3wt) where one of my pupils, Finlay McEwen, reached the woodwind semi-finals in Cardiff during 2014. Finlay is now in his second year of studies at the Guiildhall School of Music & Drama (www.gsmd.ac.uk/).

Michael Anning, for the second year, has been awarded a place at the National Youth Jazz Collective (www.nationalyouthjazz.co.uk) and also Junior Guildhall (www.gsmd.ac.uk/youth_adult_learning/junior_guildhall/) - which is a weekly Saturday school. George Corson has been, for the last year, a member of Aldeburgh Young Musicians (www.aldeburgh.co.uk/aym). These organizations hold special programmes, workshops, retreats and events, usually during holiday seasons. Entry to any of these is competitive and so those that are awarded a place are to be highly commended. I do have one other younger pupil who is going through the second stages of auditions for AYM and will let you know if these have been successful ultimately.

9. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk)

NCYM is the ‘flagship Music Centre of the Norfolk Music Service and Guildhall School of Music’ (www.gsmd.ac.uk). Its mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. The Centre is not there for the complete beginner, however, but for ‘talented musicians in the earliest stages of learning who are able to demonstrate a technical and musical fluency’. NCYM’s priorities are to provide:

1. High quality, sustainable, week by week Saturday training in association with the GSMD.

2. Access to high quality music experiences, working with professional musicians.

3. A holistic curriculum, embracing individual & group instruction & ensembles in a variety of styles & genres.

4. High quality NCYM Tutors who have been appointed through a quality assurance partnership with the GSMD.

Since my appointment in January, initially to direct the NCYM Jazz Ensemble, I have become extremely impressed with this unique and exciting new initiative here in Norfolk and very grateful to be a member of this excellent teaching team. I now have a full programme of lessons (individual pupil lessons) and will also be directing a new Saxophone Ensemble this coming term. The Jazz Ensemble is growing fast and gave a most impressive debut performance at the Spring Concert just before Easter.

During the Summer term there will be a full programme of events, including a workshop and concert by the Guildhall Saxophone Quartet, directed by Finlay McEwen on Saturday 7th May. There will also be an Open Day and also end of term Concert.

Do visit the website for more information and please let me know if you might like to become a part of NCYM! 

10. Holiday Lessons: As you know I do offer lessons during the Summer Break. This has always been very helpful as keeping some kind of momentum & rhythm (in practice & lessons) can be inhibited particularly by the long summer break. It is also a chance to just enjoy playing and to maintain some continuity during holiday breaks. Therefore, I shall be offering (catch-up & extra) lessons during the Summer Break on each Friday (and possibly Saturday mornings if there is a demand for these for certain weeks - for the weeks that I am here at home). Please do use any outstanding/missed lessons & catch these up during either this term or during the summer holiday break. I shall publish available dates later on in the term but do feel free to start planning holiday lessons as soon as you are able and we can then fix these into the diary. 

11. BACS/Payment of Fees: Please remember to mark your payment details clearly – I do still receive one or two payments that do not resemble the name of either the pupil or parent? Please mark your payment details in this manner – John Coltrane’s Saxophone Lessons (or something similar). This will assist greatly. It might help if you let me know by email if you do use this method of payment initially (I can then monitor your first payment). Thank you.

Don’t forget to visit my website for ongoing news & information. I look forward to seeing you soon. 

My best wishes to you for another excellent term, David

 

Spring Term 2016 

A very Happy New Year! I do hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas and that you are now ready for the new term!

Here’s some news & information for you, do please read this through and keep as a reference (particularly the various dates):

1. Lessons: will commence on Tuesday 5th January. (Spring Term will end on Thursday 24th March – last day of lessons). 

2. ABRSM Winter Term Exam Results: have all come in now. Once again we have some fantastic results: out of 24 pupil entries you have achieved 6 Distinctions and 12 Merit passes. Once again every pupil has achieved a pass and so we maintain that 100% objective. I am so very proud of each and every one of my pupils, very well done all of you!

3. ABRSM Spring Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the final two weeks of term (most likely the week of the 14th March). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring. The closing date for all exams is Friday 15th January.

Once again I do need to stress that should know all of your scales & arpeggios and have a comprehensive understanding of the required Aural tests before you apply to take your exam. You will also need to have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard (at the beginning of term). This coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at sight-reading skills. For Aural preparation I would highly recommend that you purchase the excellent study booklet (which comes with a CD) ‘Specimen Aural Tests’ (which is available from St George’s Music or online). Remember also that there is a very strict rule regarding actual copies of music used for the exam. Original published editions must be used (and not photocopies). For all information relating to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music & exam requirements please visit: www.abrsm.org

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Wednesday 2nd  March at 5pm (at the City of Norwich/CNS or Hewett School).

As an option to Music Theory you can also qualify to proceed to Grades 6-8 by taking and passing the Jazz Grade 5 practical exam. For some pupils this is a preferred option. As a bonus you get to learn the language of Jazz (it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also improvisation opportunities). I am equally at home with both Classical & Jazz traditions and so willing and very able to assist you.

5. Norfolk County Music Festival (29th February – 11th March 2016) – This annual Music Festival was established in 1925. This year’s adjudicator is teacher & composer Paul Harris. The Woodwind performances will take place on Wednesday 2nd & Thursday 3rd March at the Central Baptist Church, Duke Street, Norwich. Exact times and dates will be announced shortly. To performers & those wishing to attend I would highly recommend that you do get full information & programmes (when these do become available). If you would like to consider performing in 2016 I would invite you to attend this year’s event so that you get more of an idea of the nature of the Festival and also the standard of performances. In my opinion this remains the most prestigious event of its kind within this region. There is a competitive edge to the performances and public adjudication is not to everybody’s liking, but I do believe that there are great advantages to a) playing in public & b) being open to comments made by our adjudicators (which should always be to assist & to encourage). Full details & contact information are available from the excellent NCMF Website - http://norfolkmusic.org.uk 

6. Norfolk Young Musicians 2016: This annual competition (which is open to post Grade 8 pupils, age 25 and under) will take place at the John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich on Sunday 10th January (performances will be between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm with prizes and awards being presented by this year’s visiting adjudicator at the end of the day). You are very welcome to attend whichever session is suitable and entry is free (there is a retiring collection, to support this unique event). 

Two of my pupils will be performing this year and so do please come along, enjoy the music and support these competitors who have worked so hard to reach this standard of performance. 

For more information do please visit: www.academyofstthomas.com (and follow the link to Trust). 

7. Music Ensembles 

As you know I strongly advocate that every pupil might find a place within some kind of musical ensemble. To me this has to be one of the most rewarding experiences of being a musician, at whatever level of ability. There are so many options that await the music student of any instrument and thankfully we live in a County where this is recognized and (at present) is supported by local government (despite budgets being so severely cut) and through the dedication of those within the County Music Services. 

I have posted a few of these ensemble opportunities on the notice board for you but do please have a look at this excellent new website and see if there is something that would interest you. There are ensembles for pupils at most levels of ability and so you could journey through these as your technical and reading skills progress. 

For many of you there are great opportunities for playing in a band or an orchestra within your school environment. This is not the situation for all however and so do please examine these options and speak with me so that we can discuss your personal objectives and preference. I will then do all that I can to assist you to discover the joy & fulfillment of making music with others within the right ensemble. 

Norfolk Music Hub: http://norfolkmusichub.org.uk/ 

Finally, thank you so very much for your gifts, cards and messages during the Christmas season, I do very much appreciate all of these. I look forward to seeing you soon. Please visit my website for ongoing news & information. 

Once again, a very Happy New Year to you and to all your family!

My best wishes to you for another excellent term.

David

 

Winter Term 2015  

Hello again, I do hope that you have had a wonderful summer and are now ready for the coming term! Here’s some news & information for you, do please read through and keep as a reference (particularly the various dates):

1. Lessons: will commence on Thursday 3rd September. Winter term lessons will end on Saturday 19th December (last day of lessons). I have decided to teach up until the Saturday as this will be the last weekend before Christmas and did not wish to exclude any pupils from lessons during the last week of term. I know that some pupils’ schools will have broken up the previous week but not most (including all Norfolk County schools, whose term ends on Friday 18th December). There are a few dates that I shall be away: including Friday 9th to Sunday 11th October, Thursday 12th & Saturday 21st November (concerts in Bury St Edmunds & London). There are some more local events and concerts but these do not collide with my teaching diary. I do apologise for my absence from time to time and can assure you that I will continue to offer lesson options for half-term and other holiday breaks.

2. ABRSM Summer Term Exam Results: are all in & now posted on the notice board. We have achieved some truly excellent results once again & so very well done to all pupils – another 100% success rate with half achieving a either a Distinction or Merit pass. To keep future standards high we do have to be fully prepared in all areas of the exam syllabus (particularly with regard to scales & arpeggios, aural etc…). This will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners.

3. ABRSM Winter Exams: will be taken during the week of the 7th December (and will be held at Norwich School). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this term. The closing date for all exams is Friday 25th September. Once again I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggios before you apply to take your exam and to also have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard. The coming term should be for revising & refining as well as for looking closely at aural & sight-reading. For further information and helpful advice do please visit the ABRSM website: www.abrsm.org

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond Grade 5 Practical exams (and aim to reach up to Grade 8 standard of performance). Music Theory also helps in many ways to gain a greater understanding of music & will certainly assist those preparing for GCSE & A level Music exams. Please let me know if you would like to receive Music Theory lessons alongside your Practical Music lessons & we can look at how best to proceed. The next Music Theory exam will take place on Tuesday 3rd   November at 5pm (at either the Hewett School or ‘The Ark’/CNS).

5. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital  - was held for the first time at the St Lawrence Arts Centre (South Walsham) and was a great success! Once again were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & various ensembles (something I always look forward to in particular). Following the recital we were treated to a post concert reception at South Walsham Hall. I am very grateful to Mr & Mrs Corson for inviting us to their lovely home and for hosting this for us. It was such a perfect environment to relax and to spend time together. So that more pupils, parents, friends & families might be able to plan ahead and join us next year I have decided to once again hold this event at the end of Summer term. This will avoid conflicts with end of term school events and is also a rather lovely way to end our Summer term I feel. I am hoping that we shall return to St Lawrence once again. More on this to follow in due course…

6. Paying Fees by BACS: just a gentle reminder to ask that you do please make sure that you mark your name clearly when setting this up: i.e. ‘Stan Getz’s Saxophone Fees’. I do still receive a few ‘mystery’ payments but most come through with absolute clarity and so thank you for your kind assistance.

7. Allen Music Centre & Music School: I would like to share with you that during the Summer break I have been having meetings with Allens Music in Great Yarmouth. They are in the process of restructuring their Music School and have invited me to oversee the Woodwind tuition there. The music shop has a long history in the Eastern region of Norfolk (since 1946) and I believe that ‘Allens School Of Music’ will generate new life & impetus for many people in that part of Norfolk (many of whom do not get much of an opportunity to learn to play and to enjoy music, particularly so with Government and Local Authority cutbacks to the Arts and Music Education also). I am very interested in being a part of this new venture and working alongside two members of staff particularly (one has long experience of working within Norfolk County Music and the other within a leading music department of a school with a very fine music tradition). The East of the County is a region that I have not yet explored (to any great depth) and this also has interested me. 

I have stated that I would only be able to work at the Music School on Saturdays for the present. I am committed to my pupils here at home and also at Norwich School. However, I am motivated to build a good practice there and to assist in the establishment of various ensembles also (which is what I achieved when working at Colchester Institute years ago, for Essex County Music Services and within various schools here in Norfolk). These are my initial goals.

8. Piano Studies & Lessons: My journey in music began at the age of 5 in Bishop’s Stortford (Hertfordshire) when I started to attend piano lessons with a rather lovely elderly lady called Miss Evelyn Norman. She (and my music teacher at school, Dr Ian Kendal) assisted me to grow in my studies and to love music. I left the piano at the age of 15 to concentrate on Flute & Saxophone studies at the Royal Marines School of Music (for three years). I did have some further instruction when studying for my music degree (with Alan Bullard in fact) and this rekindled interest during that period. However, since working at Norwich School I have returned to studies, now accompany for exams and have set myself an objective to achieve (eventually) a Diploma on the piano. Recently I have started to assist some pupils with their piano playing and am now teaching them. These are making excellent progress. Already I am enjoying this aspect of my work as all of my tuition skills and experience as a professional musician are certainly as relevant and at home with the piano as they are with my woodwind lessons & instruction. I am very grateful to have been taught by such excellent music teachers over the years and for my current tutor who is highly motivational and a mine of information. I might be getting older but I am no less passionate about progressing in my chosen art form.

9. New Fees/New Lesson Agreements : I send to you a new Lesson Agreement for 2015/2016 and would ask that you read these through and if you are in agreement please sign and return this to me during the first week of term. Please do let me know if you would like a signed copy and I shall then make a copy of the agreement for you to keep for your own records.

You will see that I have increased my fees by £1.00 per (30 minute) lesson – the new lesson fee being £20. This is the first increase in my fees (by £1.00) since 2013 and is necessary for a number of reasons. I would like to share a few of these with you if I may.

First of all I measure my fees by what fellow teachers charge, in particular those who (like myself) are members of the Musicians Union and/or the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) and who offer a standard of tuition that is of the very highest available.

Apart from actual lesson time that is spent with each of my pupils I also have to factor in the expense of running my tuition practice, such as: lesson preparation, updating pupils’ records, marking music theory, writing reports, interviewing prospective pupils (I always offer a free consultation & initial lesson), holiday periods, instrument purchase (maintenance & repair), continued study & research, various insurances, accountant’s fees, music books, CDs, stationary, various technology (that I feel do offer to each pupil a much better lesson experience), phones & internet, transport and all the usual property expenses (rates, heating, electricity).

Finally, I do not charge for accompanying pupils in their exams or for music festivals and concerts. Prior to my returning to piano studies it would have been necessary for my pupils to be accompanied by a professional pianist and so therefore would have to pay for both rehearsals and the exam. At present I am accompanying my pupils up to Grade 7. In time I will be confident to offer accompaniment to Grade 8 (I am already playing most of the repertoire in lessons). However, I would only move up to this highest Grade if I was sure that my piano skills would enhance my pupil’s exam potential.  

10. Gifts & Cards: I really would like to thank you for your various gifts, cards & messages each term. I am truly grateful for these, particularly when you go to the trouble of preparing something of your own making or design. You can be sure that I treasure these items (and do keep them). These are all the more precious when my pupils reach the end of their schooling and move on to either University or Music Academy. I will look at these from time to time and in this way can remember pupils from the past.

11. Address Book/ /Pupil Information: Thank you for keeping me updated me with your contact details. Please let me reassure you that all pupil information is treated in the strictest confidence.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Don’t forget to visit my website for ongoing news & information (and links to sites where you can hear my recorded music & view an ever increasing library of music videos). You will also find playlists on my You Tube site. These direct you to all kinds of music videos (covering a wide range of musical styles), some tuition sessions and other information. I shall continue to develop these in the future.

My best wishes to you for