Teaching News & Diary

 

Spring Term 2020  

A very Happy New Year to you! 

I do hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas and that you are now rested & ready for the new term!  

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

1. Lessons: will commence on Monday 6th January. (Spring Term will end on Wednesday 1st April – last day of lessons). There are also lessons this coming Friday 3rd January (these are Christmas/New Year holiday lessons and are now fully booked). Those attending should have received an email giving times of lessons.

2. ABRSM Winter Term Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved excellent results! Most pupils achieved either a Distinction or Merit. All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home). Very well done to all pupils, I do know and appreciate how hard you work to achieve these results.

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, sight reading & aural). This will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners. 

2b. Music is a very special Artform & such a powerful means to express. It is also great fun! (particularly within the experience of Ensemble playing – which should be the goal of every musician, whatever the age or standard). Music is also Science (exploring Mathematical principles & logic). Therefore, to reach any standard of performance in music, there does have to be a commitment to Discipline and Application to feed and to enhance your natural gifting & musical ability.

Music is so good for the whole being – Mind, Body & Spirit. There is an ocean of stuff out their online to explore with regard to this theme and all of it positive J To get the most out of this beautiful gift it is best to immerse yourself! Listen, attend Concerts, watch (so much on BBC4, BBC2 and Sky Arts – as well as You Tube), be inspired and then find your place within this endless landscape.

Do aim to set a program, a clear Practice Schedule with set objectives for each session. This should be in the form of a visible planner or diary, so that you are reminded and encouraged to keep on progressing. I would encourage you to bring a small diary with you to lessons, write down key points and also RECORD your lesson so that you can listen back and use each of the objectives set and demonstrations given (by me) during the lesson and weave these into your private practice. If you record the lesson then you can share this too. You will love to listen back and hear how you have moved forward, week by week and month by month. So, bring something to record onto – most mobile phones have Voice Memos on them now.

3. ABRSM Spring Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the penultimate week of the School’s Lent term (week of the 16th 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 10th January.

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). I would also recommend downloading the ABRSM Aural Trainer App and also investigate other ABRSM Apps such as ones for Sight Reading and Practice Planning. You can find these in any App Store on most Phones.

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 4th March at 5pm (at the City of Norwich/CNS or Norwich 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 with it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also improvisation opportunities. I am equally at home and well versed in both Classical & Jazz traditions and so willing and very able to assist you.

5. Norfolk County Music Festival (Monday 2nd - Friday 13th March) – This annual Music Festival was established in 1925. Exact times and dates will be announced shortly and the Festival Programme will be available (from St George’s Music and hopefully online). This will give a full listing of all those performing at the Music Festival. To performers & those wishing to attend I would highly recommend that you do get full information & programmes right away.

If you are wishing to enter and to perform at this year’s Music Festival I would ask that you go online and complete your entry form and submit this as soon as possible please. For those who would like to consider performing in 2021 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). 

There are allocated accompanists for the Music Festival (full details in the Programme) but I am prepared to accompany you if you prefer. Please discuss your intended repertoire (piece or pieces) with me as soon as possible.

Full details & contact information are available from the excellent NCMF Website - http://norfolkmusic.org.uk

6. Norfolk Young Musicians 2020: 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 12th 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 a professional musician). 

Two of my pupils performed at last year’s competition – Jasmine Smith (Alto Saxophone) & Reuben Selby (Alto Saxophone). 

Reuben is now a very accomplished young musician, has been awarded a place at the National Youth Jazz Collective (www.nationalyouthjazz.co.uk) and is to commence full time study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in September 2020  (http://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire).

Jasmine was awarded 3rd place in the 2019 Norfolk Young Musician Competition, which is a true accomplishment as all performers who enter for NYMC are so very impressive each year. Jasmine, who was a valued member of NCYM and is now in her first year of study at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

So, do please 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 Reuben’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 (now called the Norfolk Music Hub, of which I am now an Associate Teacher).

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://www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/ 

8. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital was held for the first time at Soul Church (www.soulchurch.com) and was such a great success! We were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & various ensembles. The layout and design was set out as a ‘Jazz Café’ style and this was such a perfect environment in which 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 concerts. Our summer recital is a rather lovely way to end our Summer term I feel. 

I am hoping that we shall return to the Soul Church (they would certainly like us to return) but am looking an another venue also (possibly King’s Community Church, Norwich – www.kingsnorwich.com). More on this to follow in due course… I would like to certainly include Saxology and maybe one or two Jazz ensembles also. I would also like to see more Pianists participating, although there might well be a good standard Keyboard rather than a Piano! If you have any ideas or suggestions for the 2020 Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital do please let me know.

9. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk): Is now a part of the Guildhall School of Music, London (https://www.gsmd.ac.uk) and is one of only four Guildhall Music Academies for Young Musicians here in the UK (London, Saffron Walden, Taunton & now Norwich). Becoming a Guildhall Youth Academy is a significant development for NCYM and has been awarded in recognition of what staff and pupils have achieved during the first few years of NCYM’s existence. It is also testimony to the excellence and commitment of our Director and Visionary Juliet Rickard (and her dedicated team of Teachers and Assistants). 

To quote Stephen Dagg, Director of Guildhall Young Artists: ‘NCYM has an excellent team of tutors and your work has been recognised as a beacon of high quality teaching and learning, both in Norfolk and Nationally. I hope that you will agree with me that this is an exciting development and I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support and commitment, particularly during the last year’

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:

Our mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. 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.

My personal brief at NCYM is to conduct a select number of individual pupil lessons and to direct NCYMjazz (a vibrant and wonderful Jazz Ensemble, with some 20 + members currently) and two Saxophone Ensembles: Saxology – This is a Saxophone ensemble, consisting of Alto, Tenor, Soprano & Baritone Saxophonists (exploring a wide range of repertoire) & Quartz – A Saxophone quartet of advanced pupils (who explore a range of advanced repertoire/arrangements - from Bowie to Nyman). Since my arrival at NCYM (in 2015) these ensembles have grown in number and are so enjoyable as pupils explore and discover a wonderful landscape of new music. We have fun each week (at rehearsals) and achieve a pleasing standard of performance at the various Concerts and Music events that we are a part of each term.

During the Winter term there will be a full programme of events, including workshops and concerts in association with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. There will also be an Open DayStaff Concert, Jazz Night (at the Sanctuary or possibly Norwich Jazz Club) and 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! We could certainly do with some more Saxophones and so do consider this fantastic, some would say ‘life changing’ opportunity! (www.ncym.co.uk)

10. New Pupils: Although I always have a busy teaching diary, for which I am always grateful, I do have a few spaces available. If you know of anyone who would like Saxophone, Flute, Piano or Music Theory lessons then I would invite you to let them know that I do have some openings at this moment in time. 

11. Website Redesign & Teaching Images: You might recall me mentioning that I was considering a move from my Web Designer in Eastbourne (www.worldwidewebdesign.co.uk) and find a company here in Norwich to manage and assist me with this area of my work. In the final analysis I have decided to leave my Websight with my friends in Eastbourne and at present we are assembling new pages with an emphasis on my Teaching work (but retaining some reference to my significant performance & recording work, past & present). Nevertheless there does need to be a redesign to my Website as it has become cluttered and too busy (I think). 

To get to where I would like the Teaching area of the site to be we are in need of are some images of me actually teaching and I would like to invite you to please consider being a part of this process? 

Ideally I would like any photos of my teaching sessions to be taken by a parent, of me teaching and accompanying a pupil (your son or daughter). Before using any image as part of my portfolio I would in the first instance confirm with all parents and pupils that you are completely happy that any chosen image or photo are included. All pupil’s identity would of course be excluded, only the photo or image of me teaching would be used (no names).

I would ask that you might consider being part of this new Web Design and let me know please. Thank you.

Finally, thank you so very much for your gifts, cards and messages during the Christmas season, I do appreciate all of these so very much. I have quite a collection of cards, gifts & notes assembled over the years. 

I look forward to seeing you soon. Please visit my website for ongoing news & information.

My best wishes to you for another excellent term.

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

David

 

Winter/Michaelmas Term 2019   

Hello again, I do hope that you have had a wonderful summer, that you are rested, refreshed & all prepared for the coming term!

Here’s some News & Information for you, do please read through and keep as a handy reference. 

Not many dates away this term but I am away during Half-term - from Friday 25th until Monday 28th Oct’ for rehearsals & concerts in London and so no lessons on those days. 

I do intend to offer lessons during Half term and will most likely hold these on Thursday 24th October. Please feel free to start booking your lesson as soon as you are ready to plan ahead.

MAIN POINTS FOR WINTER/MICHAELMAS TERM

1. Lessons:will commence on Wednesday 4th September. Winter term lessons will end on Wednesday 18th December (last day of lessons). I know that some (mainly Private) Schools will have broken up the previous week but not most (including all Norfolk County schools, whose term will end on Wednesday 18thDecember).

2. ABRSM Summer Term Exam Results: are all in & now posted on the notice board. Once again my Pupils achieved some truly phenomenal results & so very well done to all of you! Most were awarded a coveted Distinction or Merit pass - with some so very near to a Merit! Whatever your achievement is I am very proud of you all, you know that. I shall be collecting all Certificates & Mark Sheets on my return to Norwich School (on Tuesday 3rdfor a Music Open Evening & Staff meeting).

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. 

2b. Music is a very special Artform & such a powerful means to express. It is also great fun! (particularly within the experience of Ensemble playing – which should be the goal of everymusician, whatever the age or standard). Music is also Science (exploring Mathematical principles & logic).Therefore, to reach any standard of performance in music, there does have to be a commitment to Discipline and Application. 

Music is so good for the whole being – Mind, Body & Spirit. There is an ocean of stuff out their online to explore with regard to this theme and all of it positive JTo get the most out of this beautiful gift it is best to immerse yourself! Listen, attend Concerts, watch (so much on BBC4, BBC2 and Sky Arts – as well as You Tube), be inspired and then find your place within this endless landscape.

Do aim to set a program, a clear Practice Schedule with set objectives for each session. This should be in the form of a visible planner or diary, so that you are reminded and encouraged to keep on progressing. I would encourage you to bring a small diary with you to lessons, write down key points and also RECORD your lesson so that you can listen back and use each of the objectives set and demonstrations given (by me) during the lesson and weave these into your private practice. If you record the lesson then you can share this too. You will love to listen back and hear how you have moved forward, week by week and month by month. So, bring something to record onto – most mobile phones have Voice Memos on them now.

3. ABRSM Winter Exams: will be taken during the week of the 2ndD ecember(and will be held at Norwich School). Please confirm at the beginningof term if you do wish to take your exam this term. The closing date for all exams is Friday 20thSeptember.Once again I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggiosbefore 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 Wednesday 6thNovember at 5pm(at either the Hewett School or ‘The Ark’/CNS). 

5. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital was held for the first time at Soul Church (www.soulchurch.com) and was such a great success! We were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & various ensembles. The layout and design was set out as a ‘Jazz Café’ style and this was such a perfect environment in which 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 concerts. Our summer recital is a rather lovely way to end our Summer term I feel. I am hoping that we shall return to the Soul Church (they would certainly like us to return) but am looking an another venue also. More on this to follow in due course… I would like to certainly include Saxology and maybe one or two Jazz ensembles also. I would also like to see more Pianists participating, although there might well be a good standard Keyboard rather than a Piano! 

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. ‘Jess Gillam’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 fifth year with NCYM, which is now a part of the Guildhall School of Music ‘Young Artists Academy’ initiative (www.gsmd.ac.uk). I am now contracted to the Guildhall & paid by City of London Corporation. There are only four such Music Schools here in the UK (London, Saffron Walden, Taunton & now Norwich) and so this is indeed a significant development for NCYM and has been awarded in recognition of what staff and pupils have achieved during the first few years of NCYM’s existence. 

To quote Stephen Dagg, Director of Guildhall Young Artists: ‘NCYM has an excellent team of tutors and your work has been recognised as a beacon of high quality teaching and learning, both in Norfolk and Nationally. I hope that you will agree with me that this is an exciting development and I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support and commitment, particularly during the last year’. I would add that NCYM would not have survived without the vision, commitment, care, passion and drive of our leader Juliet Rickard, a true legend!

Our mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. 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 five years ago, initially to direct the NCYMjazz!, I have become more & more impressed with this unique and inspirational Music School here in Norfolk and very grateful to be a member of this excellent teaching team. These are now my friends & comrades! 

I have a full diary of individual pupil lessons and (in addition to NCYMjazz!) also direct two excellent Saxophone Ensembles (Saxology – Saxophone ensemble & Quartz – Saxophone quartet). Each of these ensembles have grown and developed considerably. I am always so inspired and impressed, week by week, by the achievements of our wonderful pupils!

During the Winter term there will be a full programme of events, including workshops and concerts in association with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. There will also be an Open Day, Jazz Night (at the Sanctuary or possibly Norwich Jazz Club) and 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! We could certainly do with some more Saxophones and so do consider this fantastic, some would say ‘life changing’ opportunity!

8. New Pupils:At this time of the year I always have a cluster of pupils leaving me (sad but I am always excited for them), some for University and others joining one of our finest Music Conservatoires. So, this opens up a few spaces in my diary. If you know of anyone who would like Saxophone, Flute, Piano or Music Theory lessons then I would invite you to let them know that at this moment in time as I do have some openings. These do tend to get filled rather quickly as term commences.

 9. Norwich School, NCYM, Music Hub & Private lessons:This last year has presented some significant changes. I am increasing in years - I’m sure that you haven’t noticed ;-) However, the passion that I have always had for music, first as a Performer (music took me all around the World and gave me so many wonderful opportunities and moments) and now as a Teacher.  I am so very blessed to be having this period in my life when most of what I do is about passing on my years of experience, study & application to a new generation as well as to more mature pupils who are discovering the joy and the value of returning to playing also. I love it!

Yes, the clock is ticking and so I am going to make the most of the next few years with the time (energy & good health) that I currently have. This year I shall be increasing my days at Norwich School and also (at the invitation of the Head Master) will be directing the Senior School’s Jazz Band (which I did previously for about 10 years) as well as Saxology & Quartz (both I set up first at Norwich School, about 8 years ago and now also at NCYM). These have become successful and very enjoyable ensembles to be a part of). I shall be continuing and working hard to develop further my work at NCYM and have also been established as an Associate Teacher with the Norfolk Music Hub: www.norfolkmusichub.org.ukIt is early days there (this will be my first full term) but I am sure that my part within County Music will develop.

Will these cause any issues with my Private tuition? At this point I would say no. I have made sure that my teaching days during the week end early so that I can get home to commence my private lessons. Some days I start my lessons at 4.00 pm and others 4.30 and 5.00 pm. I endeavor to end my lessons at 8.00 pm (8.30 pm at the latest) as I always have some packing away and then preparation for the next day’s School lessons and activities. I shall keep you posted with regard to any possible changes of course.

10. New Website: I am rubbish at designing and then keeping my Website up to date and brilliant to look at. So, I have always had professional help – usually friends or people who have been recommended to me highly. For the last 8 years I have been very fortunate to have a Company in Eastbourne (where I have recorded so many projects, including my four solo projects – all available on Spotify - and also have some good friends in the music world who live in that area). However, this website has been mainly or very largely about my Performance work and history. It has also been tricky getting down for meetings with my Web Designer & Manager. So, another major change – I am moving my website to a Company based here in Norwich. At present we are preparing things and redesigning the whole site, with the main objective bring that the new Website will emphasise my Teaching work. It is quite a task and so might take a little time. However, I am very excited indeed with this move and also to be fortunate enough to be having an excellent new Designer & Manager – more on this soon… I shall let you know when the changes have occurred and also let you know who it is that is handling my new Website!

11. New Fees/New Lesson Agreements :I send to you a new Lesson Agreement for 2019/2020 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 once again (in recognition of these precarious Brexit days…).

12. 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 do treasure these items (and do keep a good number of them – most in fact!). 

13. 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 2019   

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. If you read online you will have the option to click and explore the various links! (which are fascinating and informative).

1. Lessons: Private lessons will commence on Tuesday 23rd April. Lessons at NCYM on Saturday 27th April and at Norwich School on Monday 29th April.

Do please look at the lesson dates & your lesson time on your Invoice and please note any breaks in lessons - including Thursday 25thApril(NCYM Jazz Concert at OPEN/’The Big Reveal’ event), Monday 6th May (Bank holiday) & Wednesday 26th June (Royal Norfolk Show day, when I shall be busy assisting with ensembles from Norwich School & possibly Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians & the Norfolk Music Hub/Norfolk County Music Services). Summer Term lessons will end on Wednesday 24thJuly (last day of lessons, when Norfolk County 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: have all come in and once again we have achieved excellent results! All pupils have passed and some with a Distinction or Merit (some with a very near Merit Pass). All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home). Very well done to all pupils, you make me very proud indeed.

3. ABRSM Summer Exams: will take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the week of the 17thJune (quite early – due to the fact that the following weeks are very busy at Norwich School). I shall most likely be holding my pupils’ exams on Tuesday 18th June. Please confirm at the beginningof term if you do wish to take your exam this Summer. The closing date for all exams is Friday 3rd May. There will be no opportunity to enter for Summer exams beyond this date.

I do need to stress the need for you to know all of your scales & arpeggios thoroughlybefore you apply to take your exam and to also have your pieces & study prepared to at least pass standard. This 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 https://gb.abrsm.org/en/home(and follow the link to ‘Shop’).

4. ABRSM Music Theory: essential for those wishing to go beyond ABRSM 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 15th June (most probably at the Hewett High School).

5. Norwich School ‘Senior Jazz Band’ @ the Royal Norfolk Show: This year I shall be assisting & playing with the Norwich School (Senior School) Senior Jazz Band & Saxophone ensembles: ‘NS Saxology’ (Saxophone ensemble) & NS Quartz (Saxophone Quartet) at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show. These performances will be on the Bandstand (on Wednesday 26thJune) 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.ukwww.norwich-school.org.uk

6. Young Norfolk Arts Festival: Will be taking place between Thursday 4th June & Monday 15thJuly. This is the seventh year of this unique festival, which was initiated by Steffan Griffiths (Head Master of Norwich School) and is continuing to grow 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 do please visit: www.youngnorfolkarts.org7. Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (www.ncym.co.uk) Is now a part of the Guildhall School of Music, London (https://www.gsmd.ac.uk) and is one of only four Guildhall Music Academies for Young Musicians here in the UK. This recent award is testimony to the dedication and commitment of our Director Juliet Rickard and her excellent team of Teachers and Assistants. Its mission is to be a place of ‘access & excellence for all’. NCYM is not designed to be a place for the complete beginner, but for ‘talented musicians at the earliest stages of learning and 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.

My personal brief at NCYM is to conduct a select number of individual pupil lessons and to direct NCYM Jazz (a vibrant and wonderful Jazz Ensemble, with some 20 + members currently) and two Saxophone Ensembles: Saxology – This is a Saxophone ensemble, consisting of Alto, Tenor, Soprano & Baritone Saxophonists (exploring a wide range of repertoire) & Quartz – A Saxophone quartet of advanced pupils (who explore a range of advanced repertoire/arrangements - from Bowie to Nyman). Since my arrival at NCYM (in 2015) these ensembles have grown in number and are so enjoyable as pupils explore and discover a diverse landscape of new music. We have fun each week (at rehearsals) and achieve a pleasing standard of performance at the various Concerts and Music events that we are a part of each term.

During the Summer term there will be a full program of events, including workshops and concerts in association with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. There will be a Chamber Music Concert on Saturday 29thJune at the Norwich School Chapel (4.00 pm - where I shall be performing with Quartz, the NCYM Saxophone Quartet), two Student Platform Concerts on Saturday 11th & 22nd June. There will also be the NCYM Summer Concert at the end of term – on Saturday 13th July– where the Chamber Choir, Wind Quintet, String Quartet, Senior Strings, Chamber Ensemble, Percussion Group, Senior Wind Band, NCYM Jazz!, Saxology & Quartz will be performing. Do put these dates into the diary, they will be superb evenings/events of music given by these very fine & gifted young musicians. 

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

8. CHANGES AHEAD (School’s tuition)

For the last few months I have been reviewing my tuition work carefully. Since commencing my work at NCYM I have felt a gradual shift or growing desire, to look beyond my present situation and to widen further my work within schools here in Norfolk. In past years (for over 20 years) I have taught in schools, both private and state, in Norfolk, Suffolk & Essex. In past years my work at Norwich School increased greatly to the extent that I let go of my work at Notre Dame High School (where I had been for some 7 years), Notre Dame Prep and prior to that Reepham High School.

This last year I have reduced my teaching to one day at Norwich School and have been in discussion with Norfolk County Music Services (now the Music Hub) with a view to possibly my returning to work within Norfolk County Schools. Following the usual processes I have recently been appointed to be an Associate Teacher with the Norfolk Music Hub and will commence my work following the Easter Break.

In addition, there have been some major changes within the Norwich School Music Department and I am now in discussion regarding my role there. As things stand I am looking, once again, to potentially returning to assist with the running of NS Jazz and Saxophone ensembles more fully and to increase my teaching days to two.

Things are still in the progressive stage but it does look as though I am going to be very busy (and very interesting!).

9. PERFORMANCES

Since my gradual immersion into an extremely demanding teaching schedule I now have very little time for playing or recording these days. However, there are a few dates coming up soon. The first is a concert at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds with Graham Kendrick on Saturday 27th April. This event is sold out but do have a look at this for details at least: Graham Kendrick. I have recorded and played with Graham for many years (the first being in the mid 1980`s), respect and appreciate his friendship greatly and so I am looking forward to reuniting with him and his excellent musical unit (I shall be playing Saxophones, Flutes & assorted Whistles). 

I am also to join my friend an collaborator (for many years) Roger Mayor for a local event at St Anne`s Church, Earlham on Saturday 11th May (7.30 pm) with some truly wonderful musicians and singers. 

Then in August I am to unite with fellow IONA members for a 30th Anniversary concert in Durham Cathedral. This will be a very special and significant event. More to follow on that as details unfold...

10. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital was held last July at the Sanctuary (formally known as St Alban’s Church, Norwich) and was such a great success! That evening we were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & various family ensembles (something I always look forward to in particular). 

So that pupils, parents, friends & families can plan ahead and join us this year I have decided to hold this event at the very end of this term. This will hopefully avoid conflicts with end of term school events and concerts.

Our Summer Recital is such a great way to end our Summer term I feel. This year I plan to keep solo performances just a little shorter so that more can play and so that we might have time for an interval and for Saxology, Quartz to perform & for some Jazz at the end! (including a mass ‘jam’ session! – where everybody can feel confident to join in and solo or improvise).

I have explored various options regarding a suitable venue and have finally agreed to hold our event in the Small Auditorium of Soul Church (where Carolyn & I have been attending for a few months now and feel very much at home). This is an ideal venue for what I propose to be a relaxed ‘Jazz Café’ atmosphere. We shall have some theatre style seating but mainly a ‘Cabaret’ layout with circular tables and chairs. There is a large Stage with professional Sound & Lighting. We have agreed a date of Saturday 20thJuly (from approximately 6.00 until 9.00 pm).

I shall be in touch in due course with further information and also a request for some helpers (please) – to assist with setting up, helping in the Café (where there will be an excellent variety of soft drinks, teas, coffees and snacks/cakes on offer throughout the evening). 

Please put this date into your diary and do start to think of what you might like to perform!

For more information and location regarding Soul Church please visit: http://www.soulchurch.com (please bear in mind that we shall be in the smaller Auditorium and not the HUGE Main Auditorium).

11. 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 FestivalNorfolk 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 has now completed his third year of studies at the Guiildhall School of Music & Drama, under the tuition Christian Forshaw and of John Harle, one of the world’s finest saxophonists and renowned composer. John invited Finlay to join his Saxophone quartet during his period of study. Since graduation Finlay has been in much demand and has appeared on various prominent TV programmes, with artists such as Michael Buble, Alfie Boe and Paloma Faith. In June he commences a long tour of the Far East and India with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber’s production of the hit musical ‘Cats’. Being proficient on Saxophone, Flute and Clarinet has certainly widened Finlay’s reach into all kinds of genres and environments. We wish him well as he leaves for UK for China in June.

Michael Anning, is now in his second year of study at the Birmingham Conservatiore. Michael was awarded third prize in the 2017 ‘Norfolk Young Musicians’ Competition’ and gained a Distinction in his Dip ABRSM (Music Diploma). It was a real treat to see him perform with the Jazz Quartet from the Birmingham Conservatoire at the Norwich Jazz Club a number of weeks ago.

Reuben Selby gave an excellent performed for the first time at the Norfolk Young Musician of the Year and has been invited to audition for a place with the National Youth Jazz Collective. He is also likely to apply for a place at the Guildhall School of Music next year.

I was thrilled that Jasmine Smith (also performing for the first time at the NYM competition) was awarded 3rd prize at the 2019 Norfolk Young Musician of the Year. This was against some significant and strong competition. There were so many brilliant musicians and performances this year and so Jasmine’s award was truly remarkable, as was her playing! I really do encourage you to attend, even for only some of this unique day of performances in January 2020. I am hoping that Jasmine and Reuben will take part once more. Jasmine has been so busy this last year (now preparing for her A level exams of course). Her commitment and dedication has been rewarded as she was awarded a place to study at all three Music Conservatoires that she applied to (and auditioned for) and has made the decision to commence her study this coming September at the Guildhall School of Music.

Jonathan Jolly will also be leaving us as he commences music studies (Choral, Piano, Organ & Saxophone) at Fitzwilliam College is also a highly gifted and committed young musician. He has achieved Distinction ABRSM Grade 8 on the Saxophone & Piano and was awarded his Dip ABRSM (performance Diploma) on the Saxophone during the Summer of 2018. He is currently studying Cathedral Organ with Norwich Cathedral Organist David Dunnett and is a member of the Choir at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Jonathan was awarded the Norfolk & Norwich Chamber Music Prize for the most promising wind player in the 2017 Norfolk Young Musician of the Yearcompetition.

12. 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.

 13. 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 – James Galway’s Flute 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 2019   

A very Happy New Year to you! 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 3rd January. (Spring Term will end on Friday 5thApril – last day of lessons).

2. ABRSM Winter Term Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved excellent reults! Most pupils achieved either a Distinction or Merit and some a very near Merit Pass. All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home). Very well done to all pupils, you make me very proud indeed.

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. 

Music is an art and also a powerful means to express. It is also great fun! (particularly within the experience of ensemble playing). Remember, that to reach any standard of performance in music there has to be discipline and application. So, do aim to set a program, a clear practice schedule with set objectives for each session. This should be in the form of a visible planner or diary, so that you are reminded and encouraged to keep on progressing. 

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 25thMarch). Please confirm at the beginningof term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring. The closing date for all exams is Friday 11thJanuary.

Once again I do need to stress that should know allof 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 Theo