Teaching News & Diary

 

 

Spring Term 2024

A very Happy New Year to you!

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

2024 already looks to be an action-packed landscape for me personally… including the new release of a 5 Vinyl disc Box Set of IONA albums (the first 5 albums), to follow our already sold out 8 CD Box Set. I shall be attending the 2024 Music & Drama Education Expo in London, where I have friends speaking and also exhibiting. At Easter I am taking an 8-day Pilgrimage with my son Andrew (at his request) to the Islands of Iona & Lindisfarne, where we shall explore & visit some of the sacred spaces that were the source and inspiration for the IONA project and band. You can read more of this online (and hear the music of course).

This term will see our Spring Concert – on Saturday 16th March at the beautiful Narthex complex, Cathedral of St John the Baptist. More details below for you.

MAIN POINTS FOR SPRING TERM

Here’s some news & information for you, do please read this through and keep as a handy reference. I shall also post a copy of this Newsletter on my notice board here at home.

PRIVATE LESSONS: will commence on Monday 3rd January. (Spring Term will end on Friday 22nd March – last day of Private lessons). There are Holiday lessons this coming Wednesday 3rd & Friday 5th January - these are Christmas/New Year holiday lessons and are now fully booked. Those attending should have received an email giving times of lessons.

SAXWORLD & JAZZWORLD: Rehearsal sessions will commence on Saturday 6th January. All News, Dates & information will be sent to all members very soon.

For more information & updates please visit: http://www.SaxWorld.co.uk

 

SPRING CONCERT: Saturday 16th March (6.30 – 9.00 pm)

The Narthex/Cathedral of St John The Baptist Earlham Road, Norwich

This will be a seamless evening of music from our Soloists, SaxWorld & JazzWorld Ensembles

The main hall will be set out in a Jazz Café style, with tables & chairs. I am inviting everyone to bring and share food & refreshments (light snacks, cakes, savouries & bakes etc..). These will be laid out on tables at the back of the Hall, so that everyone can enjoy these throughout the concert. The Café will also be open, to serve hot & cold drinks. This is a lovely space, looking out into the Cathedral garden and might be a welcome alternative during the evening – you will still be able to hear the music I’m sure.

So, start thinking about what you might like to play for this event. We can then go to work and get your piece prepared.

For more information on The Narthex & St John’s please visit: https://www.sjbcathedral.org.uk/the-narthex/

ABRSM WINTER TERM 2023 EXAM RESULTS: have all come in and once again we have achieved truly excellent results, with the majority of pupils being awarded either a Distinction or Merit pass. 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.

ABRSM SPRING 2024 EXAMS: All Private Pupils are now taking their exams at the Anteros Arts Centre. I can confirm that this is an excellent venue and that exams have gone very well indeed.

If you do plan to take an ABRSM Grade this term I would prefer to book your exam for you as this will ensure that all pupils are grouped together, making it possible for me to accompany you for your exam.

Online booking commences on Thursday 18th January and Spring Term exams will take place between the 26th February – 28th March 2024l.

I shall apply for the latest date available and confirm this with you when booking all exams.

I do need to stress that should know all of your scales & arpeggios and have a comprehensive understanding of the required Aural and Sight-Reading tests before you apply to take your exam. You will also need to have your pieces or unaccompanied study prepared to at least pass standard at the beginning of term.

This coming term should be for revising & refining ALL areas of the exam syllabus.

PLEASE CONFIRM, BEFORE WEDNESDAY 18th JANUARY, IF YOU DO WISH TO ENTER FOR YOUR EXAM THIS TERM.

For Norwich School pupils who receive Private lessons with me, exams are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the penultimate week of the School’s Lent term (week of the 11th March). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring/Lent term (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams at Norwich School is Friday 19th January (this date may be a little flexible).

I shall enter you for your exam through the NS Music Office as normal. Your exam fee will be added to your regular school fees.

AURAL PREPARATION I would highly recommend that you purchase the excellent study booklet (which comes with a CD) ‘Specimen Aural Tests’ - available online from the ABRSM or Music Room: https://www.musicroom.com/.

I would also highly recommend downloading the ABRSM Aural Trainer App (Gr 1-5 & Gr 6-8) 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.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages & helpful videos and also explore the various Apps & resources that are now available. I would recommend that you also sign up to their mailing list for updates: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/

ABRSM MUSIC THEORY (the ‘science’ of Music): You will see (on your Invoice) that I have (in most cases) included Music Theory as part of your weekly lesson program. This is of course your decision, but you are invited to include Music Theory along with Practical instruction. I believe this will greatly assist what you are discovering in your playing experience (as you learn & progress in the practical skills of Music).

Alongside Music Theory I shall be introducing more attention & focus on Aural & Sight-Reading skills.

Music Theory is 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.

Music Theory Exams and Music ‘Performance’ Grade Exams are all Online and so it is best to look on the ABRSM Website for latest information and exam dates: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/

ABRSM JAZZ EXAMS: In addition to Music Theory (which I shall continue to recommend) you can also qualify, in order to proceed to Grades 6-8, by taking and passing the Jazz Grade 5 practical exam. For some of my pupils this is a preferred option, perhaps to speed up the process.

As a bonus, by following the ABRSM Jazz Exam program, you do get to learn the language of Jazz with it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also discover the world of improvisation. I am equally at home and well versed in both Classical & Jazz traditions (as teacher & performer) and so willing and very able to assist you.

All Jazz Exams now have to applied for INDIVIDUALLY online. Please visit the ABRSM Exams booking page:

https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/

Click the ‘Jazz’ link and follow the booking directions.

For Spring Term Jazz examinations Online Booking opens on the 18th January (and closes 28 days before ABRSM Jazz exams take place. Jazz exams for Spring ’23 will take place between the 26th February – 28th March 2024.

Due to low numbers of entries here in Norfolk it is likely that you will need to apply and take your exam in another region and location, such as Cambridge, Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds.

NORFOLK COUNTY MUSIC FESTIVAL (Monday 11th - Friday 21st March 2024) Established in 1925

Woodwind Day is on Thursday 14th March at the Assembly House with our adjudicator being Shea Lolin, who is a London based musician and media creative. He is an alumnus of the same Music College where I also studied for my degree in music.

If you are wishing to enter and to perform at the 2024 Music Festival I would ask that you go online and complete your entry form and submit this as soon as possible please. Closing date for entry is 5th January.

For those who would like to consider performing in 2025 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 the Festival’s invited adjudicators (these written remarks should always be a means to assist & to encourage).

There are allocated accompanists for the Music Festival (full details in the Program) 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 NCMF Website - https://norfolkmusic.org.uk/

 

NORFOLK YOUNG MUSICIANS COMPETITION 2024: This annual competition is open to post Grade 8 pupils, age 25 and under.

Once again this will take place at the John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich on Sunday 21st 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 welcome to attend whichever session is suitable. Entry is free (there is a retiring collection, to support this unique event).

There are 7 prices to be awarded: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Cash Prize Awards, (4) Michael Badminton String Prize for the most promising string player, (5) Mrs E Sturgeon Piano Prize for the most promising Pianist, (6) Norfolk & Norwich Chamber Music Prize for the most promising Wind player and (7) the Jane Robinson Prize for Voice.

This year’s adjudicator is Paul Hoskins, Director of Music of the Purcell School - https://www.purcell-school.org/

In past years a good number of my pupils have been awarded prizes at the NYM Competition, including three pupils winning the title of ‘Norfolk Young Musician’ (the most recent being Finlay McEwen - who is now a professional musician).

Other award winners have been Jasmine Smith – who has just completed 4 years of study at the Guildhall School of Music, Jonathan Jolly – who has now completed his three years reading Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and now into a two year Master’s Degree course at the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Cardiff, Reuben Selby – just completing his 3 years of study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Michael Anning – now completing his 2nd year at the Royal Academy of Music (post-graduate study for a Masters Degree in Jazz Music Performance & Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, having been awarded a Scholarship by the RAM). Mike is being personally tutored & mentored by legendary saxophonist Tim Garland https://www.timgarland.com/

I have no pupils ready to perform at this year’s Competition. Some of you are preparing for Grade 8 and so you might wish to consider taking part sometime in the future – perhaps January 2025? I do recommend that you make plans to attend this unique and prestigious Competition. You will thoroughly enjoy the music and will offer significant support to these young competitors who have worked so hard to reach this standard of performance. We can then start to plan & prepare for program for NYM 2025.

For more information please visit & follow the links: https://www.academyofstthomas.com/michael-badminton-young-musicians-trust/

 

MUSIC ENSEMBLES

As you know I do 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 age and ability.

There are so many options that await the music student of any instrument. Thankfully we live in a County where Music & the Creative Arts are recognized & valued. These are supported by local government (despite recent budgets being severely cut) and through the dedication of those within the County Music Services (now called the Norfolk Music Hub – where I was an Associate Teacher for a number of years). There is a continuous program for the aspiring young musician here in Norfolk.

You will see that SaxWorld is included within this program and is included on the Music Hub Ensembles web page:

https://www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/music-ensembles-in-norfolk/

A good number of my pupils, past and present, have found being part of ensembles such as the Norfolk Symphonic Wind Band opens up a rich experience and offers unique opportunities to perform. The NSWB were invited to play for HM Queen Elizabeth II, at Sandringham for her Diamond Jubilee. Each member received a silver medallion as a token of appreciation for their participation. This excellent ensemble, directed by friend & associate David Stowell (a former member of HM Coldstream Guards), have also performed at various National events and at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

My pupils have found that being a part of this ensemble especially has been an essential part of their own progressive journey.

Do please have a look at the Music Hub 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 an ensemble, band or an orchestra within your own 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/

HALF TERM LESSONS: I do intend to offer lessons during Half term and will hold these Wednesday 21st February (9.00 am – 1.00 pm & 4.00 – 8.00 pm). I am then in London for a few days.

Half term break is one week long this term: 17th – 25th February for most Schools.

Please feel free to book your half term lesson as soon as is convenient (these do tend to get booked up).

Finally, a BIG thank you for all of your messages, cards, gifts and home-baked items over the Christmas season! My family and I appreciated these greatly, you are very much a part of our Christmas celebrations through your kind gifts.

A very Happy & a Blessed New Year to you and to all the family.

I send you my best wishes for another excellent term and look forward to seeing you soon,

David

 

Winter Term 2023 

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

Here’s some News & Information for you - please keep as a handy reference.

I now offer weekly news, along with your lesson timetable, nevertheless I do think it helpful to offer this information for the new term.

MAIN POINTS FOR WINTER TERM

Lessons: will commence on Wednesday 6th September and will end on Wednesday 20th December (last day of Private lessons). I know that some (mainly Private) Schools will have broken up the previous week but not all (including Norfolk County Schools, whose term will end on Wednesday 20th December). Half Term will be from Friday 20th Oct – Sunday 29th Oct (no lessons on Friday 20th Oct as I am in London for concerts).

SaxWorld & JazzWorld: Rehearsal sessions will commence on Saturday 9th September. All News, Dates & information will be sent to all members very soon.

Half Term Lessons: I do intend to offer lessons during Half term and will hold these on Friday 27th October. Half term break is one week long this term: 23rd – 29th Oct for most Schools (21st Oct – 7th Nov for Norwich School).

Please feel free to book your half term lesson as soon as is convenient (these do tend to get booked up).

ABRSM Summer Term 2023 Exam Results: Only a few pupils entered for exams last term. All results have come in and once again we have achieved some excellent results. I am truly proud to say that throughout 2023 every pupil achieved a pass in their exam, a good number with either a Distinction or Merit. All exam results are on display on the Notice Board here at my home.

A 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). Attending to each specific section of the exam syllabus will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners.

ABRSM Winter 2023 Exams: For Norwich School pupils, exams are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the penultimate week of the School’s Michaelmas term (week of the 4th December). If you are receiving Private lessons with me, but are attending NS, you are still able to take your exam within the NS Music Department. I shall attend all exams and accompany my pupils, if requested to do so.

Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam during Michaelmas Term (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all NS practical music exams is Friday 22nd September (this date may change and so I shall keep you informed).

PRIVATE PUPILS/ABRSM Exams: All Private exams place at Anteros Arts Centre. I can assure you that exams have been running extremely well and that this is an excellent venue to be playing in.

If you do plan to take an ABRSM Grade this term I would prefer to book your exam for you - as this would ensure that all pupils are grouped together, making it possible for me to accompany you for your exam.

I would advise Pianists to apply directly to the ABRSM. I am not needed to accompany you for your exam and so it would be more beneficial for you to go online and select whichever date is most suitable. I would advise that you do this as early as possible, so that you have greater choice of exam dates.

Online booking commences on Monday 18th September and so I do need to know before that date if you are committed to taking your ABRSM Exam this term. Exam dates are set for 6th November – 9th December. I shall apply for the latest date available but you should prepare your exam for an earlier date, should this be the only option available here in Norwich.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website (examine the helpful pages & videos), keep a regular eye on the ABRSM website and sign up to their mailing list for updates: www.abrsm.org

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.

I would advise all of my pupils to consider studying Music Theory, alongside your Practical Music lessons. Let me know if this is of interest & we can look at how best to proceed.

ABRSM Music Theory exams: have moved to Online for the present and so for more information and guidance regarding booking your own exam please go the ABRSM Website for information and guidance.

Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital: Last term ended with a magnificent ‘Summer Concert’ at St Anne’s Church. We had a packed house with each performance receiving enthusiastic applause! Thank you to all who attended and supported our players, you are a great encouragement. A special thanks to our wonderful community of helpers, cooks & bakers, you treated us all to a banquet during the interval! Thanks to the improved weather we were able to gather in the grounds, as well as the Church Hall, to share food and conversation.

Pupils’ Christmas Recital: This term we are holding our Christmas Concert at ‘Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden’ in South Walsham on Saturday 25th November (4.30 – 7.30 pm)

Each year ‘Fairhaven’ hold their Christmas Market famous ‘Christmas Lights Walk’, where the gardens are lit up by glowing Christmas lights and visitors can follow the trail and ‘spot the hidden twinkles through the trees’.

We shall hold our concert in a specially constructed Marquee, where there will also be Christmas themed stalls. Our concert will be informal, designed for the occasion – with lots of seasonal pieces included from our ensembles and soloists.

More details to follow regarding this event, please make a note in your diary. Thanks

New Fees/Lesson Agreements: New Lesson Agreement for 2023/2024 (attached). I would ask that you read this through. There is no need to sign anything, you are invited to just read this through and agree with my terms (provided that you happy with these).

You will see that, once again, I have not increased my fees this year. I have avoided any change in fees due to the current economic situation here in the UK.

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!

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 2023   

Hello again, I do hope that you had good & enjoyable Easter break in readiness for Summer term.

There are one or two dates that I shall be away for this term - for concerts & recordings. There are also events such as the Royal Norfolk Show (Weds 28th June) & the Royal Coronation Weekend of King Charles III (Sat 6th – Mon 8th May). There are three Monday Bank Holiday’s in May: 1st, 8th & 29th and so no lessons for these dates also.

Please do consider replacing any missed or lost lessons (due to these dates or any other).

 

Here’s my News & information for Summer Term:

1. Private Lessons: will commence on Tuesday 18th April. Summer Term will end on Saturday 22nd July – last day of private lessons. I shall be setting aside lesson days during Half Term & the Summer Break, dates to follow.

2. ABRSM Spring Term 2023 Exam Results: all private exam marks have now come in and once again we have achieved excellent results with pupils achieving Merit or Distinction in their exams. All results are on display on the Notice Board in the Reception/Hallway and Mark Sheets have been mailed to all who took their exam this term.

Once again, 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.

3. ABRSM Summer 2023 Exams:

All Private Pupils now take their exam at Anteros Arts Centre. I can confirm that this is an excellent venue and that exams have gone very well indeed. For more on this venue: https://www.anterosfoundation.com/

Exams will take place from the Monday 12th June until Saturday 15th July. I shall apply for weekday dates during July (but these are subject to availability and so may need to be late June).

If you do plan to take an ABRSM Grade this term at Anteros I would prefer to book your exam for you as this will ensure that all pupils are grouped together, making it possible for me to accompany you for your exam. If you do prefer to book your own exam then must ask you to arrange your own piano accompanist please.

Online booking commences on Thurs 17th April – please confirm that you wish to take your exam this term as soon as possible.

PLEASE DO READ MY NOTES BELOW BEFORE MAKING YOUR DECISION TO ENTER FOR YOUR EXAM THIS TERM – YOU DO NEED TO BE SURE THAT YOU ARE READY.

I shall speak with you during the first week of lessons regarding your next ABRSM exam – when to take this and how to prepare.

For my Norwich School pupils, exams for Trinity Term are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the week of the 19th June - TBC. Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Trinity term. The closing date for all exams at Norwich School is Friday 28th April (this date may be a little flexible).

AURAL PREPARATION

For Aural preparation I would recommend that you purchase the study booklet ‘Specimen Aural Tests’ (which comes with a CD) – this is available online from the ABRSM or Music Room: https://www.musicroom.com/

Alternatively, please do get the excellent & user-friendly ABRSM ‘Aural Trainer’ App (Gr 1-5 & Gr 6-8). More details below.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages and videos and do be sure to look at the various Apps & resources that are now available. I would recommend that you also sign up to their mailing list for updates: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/

4. ABRSM EXAM PREPARATION, DISCOVERING MUSIC & LEARNING APPS: As you prepare for your exam 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 & download the ABRSM Aural Trainer App (Gr 1-5 & Gr 6-8) and also investigate other ABRSM Apps such as ones for Sight Reading and Practice Planning.

You can find these in any App Store, certainly for iPhone or be guided by the link on the ABRSM website.

Music Copyright: 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 the ABRSM website.

HOW TO PROGRESS IN YOUR MUSIC STUDIES & EXPERIENCE OF MUSIC 

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. Avoiding these, or compromising certain areas of study, will produce a superficial understanding of music and have an effect on our level of performance.

Music is good for the whole being – Mind, Body & Spirit. To get the most out of this beautiful gift it is best to immerse yourself!

Listen - attend Concerts (when possible), watch (there is so much on BBC4, BBC2 and Sky Arts – as well as on You Tube, Spotify & other streaming sites). These days it is so easy for you to explore, to discover and to then be inspired to find your own unique place within this endless landscape of Music. There are many excellent programmes to be found on BBC Radio 3, which you can also download or discover anytime on BBC Sounds. I highly recommend Jess Gillam’s ‘This Classical Life’ & Michael Berkeley’s ‘Private Passions’. For more information go to BBC Sounds and search for these and many other excellent programmes.

Do aim to set a program, a clear Practice Schedule with set objectives for each session. Don’t avoid the disciplines of Scales, Arpeggios, Sight-Reading and Aural – which I shall introduce to your lessons and include within your Practice Planner. These will underpin all that you do in music – reading, sight-reading & all performance skills. Work on the set Studies that I aim to include in your weekly lessons. These offer diversity of style and playing skills.

Practice Planner: 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. I used to record my lessons onto a Cassette – back in the day! I still have some of these can you believe.

5. ABRSM Music Theory (the ‘science’ of Music): You will see (on your Invoice) that I have (in most cases) included Music Theory as part of your weekly lesson program. This is of course your decision, but you are invited to include Music Theory along with Practical instruction. I believe this will greatly assist what you are discovering in your playing experience (as you learn & progress in the practical skills of Music).

Alongside Music Theory I shall be introducing more attention & focus on Aural & Sight-Reading skills.

Music Theory is 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.

At present Music Theory Exams and Music ‘Performance’ Grade Exams are all Online and so it is best to look on the ABRSM Website for latest information and exam dates.

6. ABRSM Jazz Exams: In addition to Music Theory (which I shall continue to recommend) you can also qualify, in order to proceed to Grades 6-8, by taking and passing the Jazz Grade 5 practical exam. For some of my pupils this is a preferred option, perhaps to speed up the process.

As a bonus, by following the ABRSM Jazz Exam program, you do get to learn the language of Jazz with it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also discover the world of improvisation. I am equally at home and well versed in both Classical & Jazz traditions (as teacher & performer) and so willing and very able to assist you.

7. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital: I am pleased to say that we shall be holding our Annual Summer Recital this year – on Saturday 15th July at St Anne’s Church (Earlham Parish), part of the Crossroads network & STN group of Churches.

Once again, we shall enjoy a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our Soloists & SaxWorld & newly established JazzWorld ensembles.

More on these plans to follow soon. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the 2022 Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital do please let me know. Meanwhile, do start to plan your own performance. I can assist you to choose and to prepare your piece.

For more information on Earlham Church: https://www.earlham.church/

8. Music Ensembles

As you know I do 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 age and ability.

Thankfully we live in a County where Music & the Creative Arts are recognized & valued. These are supported by local government and through the dedication of those within the County Music Services (now called the Norfolk Music Hub - of which I am remain an Associate Teacher) there is a continuous program for the aspiring young musician here in Norfolk.

You will see that SaxWorld & JazzWorld are included within this program and now listed on the Music Hub Ensembles web page:

https://www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/music-ensembles-in-norfolk/

My pupils have found that being a part of an ensemble has been an essential part of their own progressive journey.

For many of you there are great opportunities for playing in an ensemble, band or an orchestra within your own 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/

10. SAXWORLD & JAZZWORLD: Exciting New Ensembles for Norfolk - SaxWorld is for ALL aspiring Saxophonists, of every age & ability. JazzWorld is for all aspiring Jazz Musicians (Saxophones/Trumpets/Trombones/Piano-Keyboard/Bass/Guitar/Drums/Vocals).

Since being established (in Sept` 2021) SaxWorld has moved so very fast, in growth and what we have already established, in terms of identity & standards reached. We are on the threshold of a new term, with some exciting new music to explore!

SaxWorld are two Saxophone ensembles: Junior Saxology – for those at the early stages of playing (Grade 1-4) & Saxology – for the intermediate to advanced player (Grade 5-8+).

I have been directing Saxophone and Jazz ensembles for many years now, within Schools or Music School (in Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk). I believe that this new initiative is fresh, unique and has very significant potential. I look to see further growth and greater awareness of SaxWorld.

For more information on SaxWorld & JazzWorld: http://www.SaxWorld.co.uk

SaxWorld & JazzWorld Summer term will start on Saturday 22nd April.

 

8. REMOVAL OF COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

As we are now moving around more freely I feel that it is time to open up the reception area to all.

The Hallway area is small and so I would ask that Parents & those waiting during lessons might use the Settle (seating bench – with cusions) and those assembling or packing away Instruments might use the Bookcase area.

Please do continue to test, particularly if you do suspect that you might have Covid-19 or have been with others with the virus.

The Government guidelines do recommend that, to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others, it would be wise to follow the Gov UK guidelines:

1.      Get vaccinated – we make sure that we are up to date with all vaccines.

2.      Keep rooms ventilated – I use my air-conditioning & open windows also.

3.      Practise good hygiene: wash hands, cover your coughs & sneezes, clean surroundings frequently

4.      Wear a face covering (especially in crowded or enclosed spaces) – this is optional of course.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

9. 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. ‘Gary Barnacle’s Saxophone Fees’. Thank you for your kind assistance.

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 as ever,

David

 

Spring Term 2023

A very Happy New Year to you!

I do hope that you 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:

1. Private Lessons: will commence on Wednesday 4th January. (Spring Term will end on Saturday 1st April – last day of Private lessons). There are lessons this coming Tuesday 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 2022 Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved truly excellent results, with the majority of pupils being awarded either a Distinction or Merit pass. 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.

3. ABRSM Spring 2023 Exams: All Private Pupils are now taking their exams at the Anteros Arts Centre. I can confirm that this is an excellent venue and that exams have gone very well indeed.

If you do plan to take an ABRSM Grade this term I would prefer to book your exam for you as this will ensure that all pupils are grouped together, making it possible for me to accompany you for your exam.

Online booking commences on Monday 16th January and Spring Term exams will take place between the 27th February – April.

I shall apply for the latest date available and confirm this with you when booking all exams,

I do need to stress that should know all of your scales & arpeggios and have a comprehensive understanding of the required Aural and Sight-Reading tests before you apply to take your exam. You will also need to have your pieces or unaccompanied study prepared to at least pass standard at the beginning of term.

This coming term should be for revising & refining ALL areas of the exam syllabus.

PLEASE CONFIRM, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, IF YOU DO WISH TO ENTER FOR YOUR EXAM THIS TERM.

For Norwich School pupils, who receive Private lessons with me, exams are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the penultimate week of the School’s Lent term (week of the 13th March). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring/Lent term (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams at Norwich School is Friday 20th January (this date may be a little flexible).

I shall enter you for your exam through the NS Music Office as normal. Your exam fee will be added to your regular school fees.

Although I no longer teach at Norwich School I am willing to accompany you for your exam and will continue to support the Music Department in any way that is helpful & practical.

For Aural preparation I would highly recommend that you purchase the excellent study booklet (which comes with a CD) ‘Specimen Aural Tests’ - available online from the ABRSM or Music Room: https://www.musicroom.com/. I would also highly recommend downloading the ABRSM Aural Trainer App (Gr 1-5 & Gr 6-8) 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.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages & helpful videos and also explore the various Apps & resources that are now available. I would recommend that you also sign up to their mailing list for updates: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/

4. ABRSM Music Theory (the ‘science’ of Music): You will see (on your Invoice) that I have (in most cases) included Music Theory as part of your weekly lesson program. This is of course your decision, but you are invited to include Music Theory along with Practical instruction. I believe this will greatly assist what you are discovering in your playing experience (as you learn & progress in the practical skills of Music).

Alongside Music Theory I shall be introducing more attention & focus on Aural & Sight-Reading skills.

Music Theory is 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.

At present Music Theory Exams and Music ‘Performance’ Grade Exams are all Online and so it is best to look on the ABRSM Website for latest information and exam dates: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/

5. ABRSM Jazz Exams: In addition to Music Theory (which I shall continue to recommend) you can also qualify, in order to proceed to Grades 6-8, by taking and passing the Jazz Grade 5 practical exam. For some of my pupils this is a preferred option, perhaps to speed up the process.

As a bonus, by following the ABRSM Jazz Exam program, you do get to learn the language of Jazz with it’s wonderful and diverse repertoire and also discover the world of improvisation. I am equally at home and well versed in both Classical & Jazz traditions (as teacher & performer) and so willing and very able to assist you.

All Jazz Exams now have to applied for INDIVIDUALLY online. Please visit the ABRSM Exams booking page:

https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/ - click the ‘Jazz’ link and follow the booking directions.

For Spring Term Jazz exams Online Booking opens on the 16th January (and closes 28 days before ABRSM Jazz exams take place. Jazz exams for Spring ’23 will take place between the 27th February – 1st April.

Due to low numbers of entries here in Norfolk it is likely that you will need to apply and take your exam in another region and location, such as Cambridge, Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds.

6. Norfolk County Music Festival (Monday 6th - Friday 24th March 2023) – This annual Music Festival was established in 1925.

Exact times and dates are now available (online only – address/link below). You will find a link for all booking details also.

Woodwind Day is pm Tuesday 21st March at the Assembly House with our adjudicator being Sally Adams, who is always encouraging and positive.

If you are wishing to enter and to perform at the 2023 Music Festival I would ask that you go online and complete your entry form and submit this as soon as possible please. Closing date for entry is 6th January.

For those who would like to consider performing in 2024 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 the Festival’s invited adjudicators (these written remarks should always be a means to assist & to encourage).

There are allocated accompanists for the Music Festival (full details in the Program) 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 NCMF Website - https://norfolkmusic.org.uk/

7. Norfolk Young Musicians 2023: This annual competition is open to post Grade 8 pupils, age 25 and under.

Once again this will take place at the John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich on Sunday 15th March (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 welcome to attend whichever session is suitable. 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 at the NYM Competition, including three pupils winning the title of ‘Norfolk Young Musician’ (the most recent being Finlay McEwen - who is now a professional musician).

Other award winners have been Jasmine Smith - now in her final year of study at the Guildhall School of Music, Jonathan Jolly – who has now completed his three years reading Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and about to commence a two year Master’s Degree course at the Royal Academy of Music , Reuben Selby – now in his 3rd year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Michael Anning – in his 2nd year at the Royal Academy of Music (two years of post-graduate study for a Masters Degree in Music Performance & Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, having been awarded a Scholarship by the RAM).

One former pupil, Ben Drew, will be performing this year and so please do get along and support him (and the other performers too)! Another pupil, Alex Woollett (currently taking Saxophone lessons with me and preparing for his Grade 8) will also be performing on the Piano.

I do recommend that you make plans to attend this unique and prestigious Competition. You will thoroughly enjoy the music and will offer significant support to these young competitors who have worked so hard to reach this standard of performance.

If you would like more specific times for 2023 performances do please let me know and I shall get these to you (once these are confirmed and listed).

For more information please visit & follow the links: https://www.academyofstthomas.com/michael-badminton-young-musicians-trust/

8. Music Ensembles

As you know I do 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 age and ability.

There are so many options that await the music student of any instrument. Thankfully we live in a County where Music & the Creative Arts are recognized & valued. These are supported by local government (despite recent budgets being severely cut) and through the dedication of those within the County Music Services (now called the Norfolk Music Hub - of which I am remain an Associate Teacher) there is a continuous program for the aspiring young musician here in Norfolk.

You will see that SaxWorld is included within this program and now listed on the Music Hub Ensembles web page:

https://www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/music-ensembles-in-norfolk/

A good number of my pupils, past and present, have found being part of ensembles such as the Norfolk Symphonic Wind Band opens up a rich experience and offers unique opportunities to perform. The NSWB were invited to play for HM Queen Elizabeth II, at Sandringham for her Diamond Jubilee. Each member received a silver medallion as a token of appreciation for their participation. This excellent ensemble, directed by David Stowell (ex-member of HM Coldstream Guards), have also performed at various National events and at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

Other pupils have found the Norfolk Students’ Jazz Orchestra, directed by Geraldine Evans, to be hugely beneficial. NSJO draws aspiring young Jazz musicians from across Norfolk and is the best environment to learn, explore, develop and to truly enjoy learning how to play Jazz and to Improvise. I would say that NSJO is a real help to those young Jazz musicians who would like to move to the next level (following initial Jazz ensemble experience within most Schools).

My pupils have found that being a part of these two ensembles has been an essential part of their own progressive journey.

Do please have a look at the Music Hub 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 an ensemble, band or an orchestra within your own 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/

10. SAXWORLD & JAZZWORLD - A New Initiative & further development for Norfolk

It has been an amazing 18 months for SaxWorld. Right from the start things moved so very fast - our growth and what we have now established, in terms of identity & standards reached.

We are now taking a break, just for this term, in order to regroup and to expand our ensembles to incorporate JazzWorld

SaxWorld & JazzWorld will become these 3 ensembles:

Junior Saxology – for beginners up to approx’ Grade 4/5

Saxology – for players who are Grade 5 & above

JazzWorld – for players who are Grade 5 & above (Woodwind/Brass/Rhythm Section-Piano, Bass, Guitar, Drums & perc’/Vocalists)

I have been directing Saxophone and Jazz ensembles for a good number of years - within Schools or Music School framework (here in Norfolk and prior to that in Suffolk & Essex). My tuition & ensemble directing is based upon a lifetime of study & application within the professional music world - as my CV & Bio confirm.

We have learned so much since we first launched SaxWorld back in September 2021. These final adjustments to our ensemble repertoire will offer each player a progressive and wider landscape to explore.

We have found that the inclusion of both adult & younger players works very well indeed and that SaxWorld has become a safe and encouraging environment, with community at its heart.

For more information and further updates do please visit: http://www.SaxWorld.co.uk

SaxWorld & JazzWorld start in the Summer term: on Saturday 22nd April 2023.

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

A very Happy New Year to you and to all the family!

My best wishes to you for another excellent term.

I look forward to seeing you soon

David

 

Winter Term 2022

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

Here’s some News & Information for you - please keep as a handy reference.

I now offer weekly news, along with your lesson timetable, nevertheless I do think it helpful to offer this information for the new term.

MAIN POINTS FOR WINTER TERM

Lessons: will commence on Tuesday 6th September and will end on Saturday 17th December (last day of Private lessons). I know that some (mainly Private) Schools will have broken up the previous week but not all (including Norfolk County Schools, whose term will end on Friday 16th December).

Covid-19 Safety Measures: For the present I think that it would be prudent to continue with revised Covid-19 safety measures for f2f lessons, as these are not too inhibitive and do offer a measure protection from this virus (which has still not left us). I am hoping that it will not be too long before we can relax these further and will continue to be guided by future Government & Educational Authorities notices, particularly with regard to new vaccines and a possible increase of any variants or mutations as winter sets in.

SaxWorld: Rehearsal sessions will commence on Saturday 10th September. News & information will be sent to all members soon.

Half Term Lessons: I do intend to offer lessons during Half term and will most likely hold these on Friday 29th October. Half term break is one week long this term: 22nd – 30th Oct for most Schools (22nd Oct – 7th Nov for Norwich School). I shall be teaching on Saturday 22nd Oct (there will be no SaxWorld sessions on that day).

ABRSM Summer Term 2022 Exam Results: Only a few pupils entered for exams last term. All results have come in and once again we have achieved some excellent results. I am truly proud to say that throughout 2022 every pupil achieved a pass in their exam, a good number with either a Distinction or Merit. All exam results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home and in M23, my teaching room at Norwich School).

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). Attending to each specific section of the exam syllabus will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners.

ABRSM Winter 2022 Exams: For Norwich School pupils, exams are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the penultimate week of the School’s Michaelmas term (week of the 5th December). Even if you are receiving Private lessons, but are attending NS, you are still able to take your exam within the NS Music Department.

Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Winter (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams is Friday 23rd September (this date may be a little flexible).

PRIVATE PUPILS/ABRSM Exams: Since the arrival of the Covid pandemic it is no longer possible for Private Pupils to join Norwich School pupils for exams within the School’s Music Department. All Private Pupils now take their exam at Anteros Arts Centre and this will be the likely venue for this term also. I can assure you that these exams have been running extremely well and that this is an excellent venue to be playing in.

If you do plan to take an ABRSM Grade this term I would prefer to book your exam for you - as this would ensure that all pupils are grouped together, making it possible for me to accompany you for your exam.

Online booking commences on Monday 5th September and so I do need to know before that date if you are committed to taking your ABRSM Exam this term. Exam dates are set for 7th November – 10th December. I shall apply for the latest date available but you should prepare your exam for an earlier date, should this be the only option available here in Norwich.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website (examine the helpful pages & videos), keep a regular eye on the ABRSM website and sign up to their mailing list for updates:

www.abrsm.org

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.

ABRSM Music Theory exams have moved to Online for the present and so for more information and guidance regarding booking your own exam please go the ABRSM Website for information and guidance.

Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital: I have held this popular event for many years, first of all at the King Of Hearts (now Anteros Arts), then at the Narthex (St John’s Catholic Cathedral), Sanctuary (STN/St Thomas Church, Norwich) and at Soul Church. For our recent Summer Concert we assembled within the beautiful, 13th c St George’s Church in Methwold and were treated to some truly fine solo performances and impressive playing by our three SaxWorld ensembles.

Pupils’ Christmas Recital: Last December was our first Christmas Concert and this was such a great success. Our Concerts are social events as well as being an opportunity to hear our wonderful pupils play & perform. During the interval we enjoyed Seasonal goodies – lovingly prepared & served by our own families.

So, let’s do it again! I do hope that you can join us at 6.30 pm on Saturday 10th December at St Anne’s Crossroads Church, Colman Road, Norwich. More to come on this event - please do plan to be with us and start to consider what solo item you might like to play for our evening together.

New Pupils: At this time of the year I usually have a number of pupils leaving me, some for University and others joining one of our finest Music Conservatoires. Therefore, this does open up a few spaces in my diary (at present only three). So, if you do know of anyone who would like Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, 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.

Lesson spaces do tend to get filled rather quickly, particularly as term commences. I have already taken on four new pupils during the Summer break.

Summer Meetings with Past Pupils: During the Summer break it was my pleasure to meet up with some of my wonderful pupils from previous years, to hear their news and how life and studies/career are going. I always appreciate my pupils keeping in touch and taking time out to meet and to share with me. Over the last few weeks, I met with Finn McEwen (now playing all over the West End, for various major Shows including ‘Anything Goes’ & ‘Moulin Rouge’ and within various bands across London), Michael Anning (now into his 2nd year for an MA in Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music - working/studying with some legendary musicians in Jazz, writing & preparing to record his first album & being tutored by Pete Churchill & Tim Garland, two of the UK’s finest Jazz musicians) and then finally I met with Jonathan Jolly (who has now successfully concluded his studies at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge for a BA (Hons) Music, followed by a two week Music tour of the East Coast of the USA and is soon to join the Music Department at Norwich School as an intern for one year before moving on to his next objective within the Music world).

New Fees/Lesson Agreements: New Lesson Agreement for 2022/2023 (attached). I would ask that you read this through. From here on I am not asking anyone to sign anything, just read and agree with my terms (provided that you happy with these).

You will see that I have not increased my fees this year. I have avoided any change in fees due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and future economic uncertainly.

Lesson Fees/Notes: I measure my fees by what fellow professional teachers charge. Professional teachers are usually members of the Musicians Union and/or the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians), registered though DDC or DBS (for the safeguarding of pupils) and offer the very highest standard of tuition. Some, like myself, come from many years of professional experience within the world of music, as performers and recording artists and who now teach (either privately or within County Music Services or Independent Schools music departments).

Apart from actual lesson time that is spent with each of my pupils I also have to factor in the expense of running my tuiti