Teaching News & Diary

 

Summer Term 2022   

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

Now that we are gradually returning to live events there are one or two dates that I shall be away for this term - for concerts and also events such as the Royal Norfolk Show.

Dates away are: Wednesday 29th June: Royal Norfolk Show, Friday 1st – Monday 4th July: Concerts (& rehearsals) with Graham Kendrick in Portsmouth/Hampshire.

Here’s my News & information for Summer Term:

1. Private Lessons: will commence on Wednesday 20th April. (Summer Term will end on Saturday 23rd 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 2021 Exam Results: all private exam marks have now come in and once again we have achieved excellent results with most pupils achieving Merit or Distinction in their exams. All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home) 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.

Norwich School exams were rescheduled and so my pupils will now take their exam on Wednesday 27th April.

3. ABRSM Summer 2022 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 here in Norwich will take place from the Monday 13th June until Saturday 16th July. I shall apply for dates in early 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.

Online booking commences on Thursday 16th May.

For Norwich School pupils, exams for Trinity Term are set to take place at the Norwich School Music Department during the week of the 20th 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 29th April (this date may be a little flexible).

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

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages and videos regarding Performance Exams, 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 on most Phones, 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 & creative 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). Let’s hope that we shall return to playing together soon!

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  and 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.

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

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: Following the success of the SaxWorld & Pupils’ Christmas Recital, held in December ‘21 at St Anne’s Church (https://www.earlham.church/) I am pleased to say that we shall be holding our Annual Summer Recital this year - at St Anne`s (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 ensembles.

More on these plans to follow in due course… 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.

8. Music Ensembles

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.

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 - A New Initiative for Norfolk - for ALL aspiring  Saxophonists, of every age & ability: It is hard to believe that we have only been in existence for two terms! 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 and the addition of a Bass Saxophone to one of our ensembles!

SaxWorld are three Saxophone ensembles: SaxSequential – for those at the early stages of playing (Grade 1-4), Saxology – for the intermediate player (Grade 5-7) & Quartz – for advanced players (Gr 8+)

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

SaxWorld Spring term will start on Saturday 23rd April.

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

 

8. Face to Face or Online/Zoom Lessons):

Face to Face/One to One lessons have proved to be safe during the Covide-19 pandemic and will remain so, provided that we do carefully follow the Covid-19 Safety Guidelines.

F2F lessons are most certainly more fulfilling and enjoyable than Online (I believe). Nevertheless, Online lessons do remain a good option, for reasons of Safety or Peace of mind and also convenience, therefore I shall always offer this as an option.

We are hearing of this new variant (in various parts of the world) and so things remain uncertain once again. So, it would be wise to remain cautious and so I intend to continue with these more relaxed guidelines.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

My best wishes as ever,

David

 

Spring Term 2022 

 

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! 

Despite some uncertainty, once again, please do remember that f2f lessons are conducted safely here in my home, at Norwich School and that you do always have the option to switch to Zoom/Online lessons at any time. Past experience has confirmed that Online lessons do work very well and are certainly a worthwhile alternative.

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 5th January. (Spring Term will end on Saturday 2nd April – last day of Private lessons). There are lessons this coming Tuesday 4th 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 2021 Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved truly excellent results. A good number of 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.

3. ABRSM Spring 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 Lent term (week of the 14th 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 21st January (this date may be a little flexible).

Due mainly to 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 have now taken their exam at Anteros Arts Centre during the last two terms and this will be the likely venue for the future. I can confirm that this is an excellent venue and that exams have gone very well.

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.

Online booking commences on Monday 24th 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’ - 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 and videos regarding Performance Exams, look at the various Apps & resources that are now available. I would recommend that you also sign up to their mailing list for updates: www.abrsm.org

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.

6. Norfolk County Music Festival (Monday 7th - Friday 18th March 2022) – This annual Music Festival was established in 1925.

Exact times and dates will be announced shortly and the Festival Program will soon be available (online only). 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 right away.

If you are wishing to enter and to perform at the 2022 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 early January.

For those who would like to consider performing in 2023 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/booking/

7. Norfolk Young Musicians 2022: 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 16st 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 3rd year of study at the Guildhall School of Music, Jonathan Jolly - now in his 3rd year reading Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Reuben Selby – now in his 2nd year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Michael Anning – in his 1st 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 pupil, Ben Drew, will be performing in March and so please do get along and support him (and the other performers too)!

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 2022 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://happeningnext.com/event/norfolk-young-musician-competition-2022-eid3a08btkamt

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 - A New Initiative for Norfolk: It is hard to believe that we have only been in existence for one term! – SaxWorld, has moved so very fast, in growth and what we have already established, in terms of identity & standards reached.

SaxWorld are three Saxophone ensembles: Junior Saxology – for beginners up to approx’ Grade 4, Saxology – for players who are Grade 5 & above/mixed age ensemble & Quartz – for advanced players/mixed age ensemble).

I have been directing Saxophone (and Jazz) ensembles for many years now, within Schools or Music School framework, and believe that this new initiative has very significant potential. Already Quartz has reached capacity (waiting list only) and Saxology is getting close to being full also.

SaxWorld Spring term will start on Saturday 22nd January.

11. SaxWorld & Pupils’ Christmas Recital was held in December ‘21 at St Anne’s Church: https://www.earlham.church/ and was a great success! As with previous Recitals we were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & SaxWorld ensembles.

Special thanks to our kind helpers, who lovingly prepared and served a wonderful Christmas buffet during the interval. Thanks also to Ben and to Jim Drew (Ben’s father) for recording and filming our concert. We look forward to seeing the results in due course.

I am hoping that we shall assemble again in 2022 – for a Summer Recital and then another Concert at Christmas.

More on these plans to follow in due course… If you have any ideas or suggestions for the 2022 Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital do please let me know. These would be very welcome indeed.

12. 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.

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 2021  

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 Monday 6th September and will end on Saturday 18th 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 17th December).

Covid-19 Safety Measures: For the present I think that it would be prudent to continue with Covid-19 safety measures for f2f lessons, as these are not too inhibitive and do offer a measure protection from this virus (which has not left us). I am hoping that it will not be too long before we can relax these and will be guided by future Government & Educational Authorities notices.

SaxWorld: For SaxWorld rehearsals there will also be safety measures, similar to those that we operate within school. Masks kept on until seated to play and maintaining a reasonable distance between players. I shall be sending full information to all SaxWorld members soon.

Half Term Lessons: I do intend to offer lessons during Half term and will most likely hold these on Thursday 28th October. Half term break is one week long this term: 23rd – 31st Oct for most Schools (21st Oct – 2nd Nov for Norwich School). I shall be teaching on Saturday 23rd Oct and there will be SaxWorld sessions on that day also.

ABRSM Winter Term 2021 Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved excellent results despite the pandemic, the need for Online lessons and little preparation with the Piano in some instances. I am truly proud to say that every pupil achieved a pass in their exam and a good number with either a Distinction or Merit. All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home and in M23, my teaching room at Norwich School).

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 2021 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 6th December). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Summer (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams is Friday 24th September (this date may be a little flexible).

Due mainly to 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 took their exam at Anteros Arts Centre last term and this will be the likely venue for this term also.

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 27th September.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages and videos regarding Performance Exams, 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, then at the Narthex (Catholic Cathedral) and finally at Soul Church. For future recitals it is likely that we shall weave solo performances into planned SaxWorld end of term concerts, which I do hope will be at the end of each term – the first being Saturday 11th December at St Anne’s Church, Colman Road, Norwich. It’s early days yet, but I shall keep you posted as it becomes clear how best to proceed with the Summer Recital (likely to be a larger event). I am certain that we shall enjoy each of these events.

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. 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 three new pupils during the Summer break.

New Fees/Lesson Agreements: I send to you a new Lesson Agreement for 2021/2022 and would ask that you read this through, please sign and then return a copy of your form to me during the first week of term (scan & email is fine).

You will see that I have increased my fees this year. This is the first increase of lesson fees since 2014! I have avoided this change in fees due to the build-up to Brexit & then the pandemic.

Although this is an increase of only £1 per lesson I am sorry for the need to ask this but the sheer cost of technology, instruments, music, music accessories & equipment, repairs and servicing and many other expenses have made this necessary.

To explain further, 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 tuition practice, such as: many hours of lesson preparation, updating pupils’ records, marking music theory, writing reports, writing pupil references, interviewing prospective pupils (I always offer a free consultation/initial lesson), holiday periods, instrument purchase (maintenance & repair), continued study & research, various insurances, advertising & marketing, accountant’s fees, music books, CDs, stationary, various technology (that I feel does offer to each pupil a much better lesson experience), phones & internet, transport and all the usual property expenses (rates, heating, electricity).

Finally, I do not charge for accompanying pupils in their exams or for music festivals and concerts. Many teachers do not play the piano and so their pupils would need to be accompanied by a professional pianist and so therefore would have to pay for both rehearsals and the exam.

Please do pardon me for opening up the inner workings of my teaching practice once again. However, I do feel strongly that you deserve to know how and why I reach the fee amount that I do and wish to confirm, as ever, that I am committed to give you 100% continued value for your ongoing investment.

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. ‘James Galway’s Flute lesson fees’. Most do come through with absolute clarity and so thank you for your kind assistance. Remember, you do have the option to pay fees monthly if you prefer.

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 2021   

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

The last few weeks have certainly been a significant improvement, in particular the return to School and Face to Face lessons.

Here’s my news & information for Summer Term:

1. Private Lessons: will commence on Monday 12th April. (Summer Term will end on Wednesday 21st July – last day of lessons). There are Easter Holiday lessons this coming Friday/9th April & Saturday/10th April (these are now fully booked and those attending should have received an email giving times of lessons. I shall be setting aside lesson days during Half Term & the Summer Break.

2. ABRSM Spring Term 2021 Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved excellent results. Due to lockdown there was so little opportunity to prepare in a One to One/F2F setting and so I am truly proud to say that every pupil achieved a pass in their exam and a good number with either a Distinction or Merit. All results are on display (on the Notice Board here at my home) and Mark Sheets have been mailed to all who took their exam this term.

Once again, 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). This will ensure success and protect you from the most exact or strictest of examiners.

3. ABRSM Summer 2021 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 28th June). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Summer (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams is Friday 23rd April (this date may be a little flexible).

At this stage I am unsure regarding the possibility of Private Pupils being permitted to join Norwich School pupils for exams within the School’s Music Department. As you know, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only a very small number of pupils were able to take their exams at NS during Spring/Lent term.

Also, at present, there are no opportunities to take Practical exams at one of the regular Exam Venues (including Norwich) and so the only other option, other than at Norwich School, is to take your exam remotely – this would be a recorded/performance exam.

For full information I would recommend that you visit the ABRSM website, look at the pages and videos regarding Performance Exams, keep a regular eye on the ABRSM website and sign up to their mailing list for updates, particularly as the situation is constantly changing: www.abrsm.org

I shall be in discussion with the Music Department at Norwich School and will keep you posted regarding exams this term.

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 on most Phones, 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: www.abrsm.org

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). Let’s hope that we shall return to playing together soon!

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: There is an ocean of information online for you to explore with regard to this theme and all of it positive. 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 and 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.

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: this 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.

6. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital: Looking very unlikely for this year… I was considering the possibility of an outside event but this is fraught with too many issues and therefore implausible.

So, my sincere apologies but it looks like we shall have to wait until 2022.

However, in the meantime, I am continuing to assemble this ongoing idea of other events under the banner of ‘SaxWorld’. There will be at least one recording to come for Summer term and as we approach the first live event I shall be mailing you music and tracks to work with, in readiness for our first gathering. More on this as things unfold and as I do secure our venue for these events.

7. Private Pupils & Norwich School: Since leaving NCYM my Private teaching practice has never been more active. My diary is looking very full at present and there has been a constant flow of enquires this last term. I have met with new applicants online and will be taking on one or two new pupils for this new term.

In the Autumn I shall be reducing my work at Norwich School even further and will only be attending lessons there one day a week. The School have been understanding and very supportive and I look forward to continuing my work there for the next few years.

Ultimately my objective for the future is to concentrate my attention and energy only on my Private teaching work – One to One lessons and Ensembles, starting with SaxWorld.

8. Face to Face/One to One or Online/Zoom Lessons):

What a few months it has been. We enter this term with so much more optimism and hope for the future.

I am confident that Face to Face/One to One lessons are safe, provided that we do carefully follow the Covid-19 Safety Guidelines.

F2F lessons are most certainly more fulfilling and enjoyable than Online. Nevertheless, Online lessons do remain an good option, for reasons of Safety or Peace of mind and also convenience, therefore I shall always offer this as an option.

For those wishing to return to F2F lessons I offer to you these guidelines and propose that we use these please:

1.      Face to Face (F2F) or Online? This is completely your decision. I have set all Private lesson times (with a 5 min break in between each one) so that there is flexibility. Your lesson time is on your accompanying Invoice copy.

2.      F2F lessons – Use Sanitiser on arrival & at the end of your lesson. I shall provide this but do bring your own if preferred.

3.      Always sneeze/cough into a tissue (keep these handy and ready at all times). I also have these available here.

4.      All surfaces to be wiped – I shall provide Anti-bacterial Cleansing surface wipes and sprays & will use regularly.

5.      Minimise contact between individuals & maximise distancing. Use ventilation & only allow one person at a time to enter the teaching room. I do have very effective air condition system in the Music Room.

6.      I shall use Transparent Hygiene/Partition Screens during lessons – for your protection and mine also.

7.      I shall keep a careful log (which shall remain confidential) of lesson attendance – should there ever be the need for Track & Trace in the event of a local outbreak of Covid-19.

8.      I would ask that Parents (or those accompanying Pupils) please wait in the Car during lessons and avoid entering the home (hallway/reception area). The hallway and music room should have only one Pupil at a time. I shall aim for a smooth transition between lessons.

I shall post a new Safety Notice to you, along with your first lesson timetable, and place this on my Notice Board here at home and also at the entrance of M23 – my teaching room at Norwich School.

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. ‘Charlie Parker’s Saxophone Fees’. I do still receive one or two ‘mystery’ payments but most do come through with absolute clarity and so 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 2021 

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! 

You will have received my email regarding the need to remain flexible as we move within these various Covid-19 Safety Tiers. Whether lessons are Online or Face to Face I assure you that you will receive lessons that are purposeful, progressive and fun!

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

1. Private Lessons: will commence on Monday 4th January. (Spring Term will end on Saturday 27th March – last day of lessons). There are also lessons this coming Saturday 2nd 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 2020 Exam Results: have all come in and once again we have achieved truly excellent results! Nearly all 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.

3. ABRSM Spring 2021 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 15th March). Please confirm at the beginning of term if you do wish to take your exam this Spring (including Jazz exams). The closing date for all exams is Friday 15th January (this date may be a little flexible, particularly if we return late to School).

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’ - available from St George’s Music or online from the 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.

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. 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/

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 8th - Friday 19th March 2021) – 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 right away. If you are wishing to enter and to perform at the 2021 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 early January.

For those who would like to consider performing in 2022 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 - https://norfolkmusic.org.uk/booking/

6. Norfolk Young Musicians 2021: 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 21st 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 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 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 2nd year of study at the Guildhall School of Music, Jonathan Jolly - now in his 2nd year reading Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Reuben Selby – now in his 1st year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Michael Anning – in his 3rd year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and due to commence two years of study for a Masters Degree in Music Performance & Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, having been awarded a Scholarship very recently).

One pupil, at least, will be applying to perform in March and so if you feel that you might like to join them do let me know.

I would highly recommend that you make plans to attend this unique and prestigious Competition, 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 2021 performances do please let me know and I shall get these to you (once these are confirmed and listed).

For more information please visit: https://www.academyofstthomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Revised-NYM-Entry-Form-2021.pdf

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) 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).

Many of my pupils, past and present, have found being part of ensembles such as the Norfolk Symphonic Wind Band (who 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), has also performed at National events at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall. Others have also found Norfolk Students’ Jazz Orchestra, now directed by Geraldine Evans, 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. Past and present pupils have found that being a part of these two ensembles has been an essential part of their own journey.

I have posted a few of these ensemble opportunities on the notice board for you but 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/

8. NCYM (Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians): As you know, after months of thought and careful consideration, I made the decision to end my time at NCYM and left at the end of last term. I have truly enjoyed my six years at NCYM, working hard to establish two excellent Saxophone ensembles and building up the Jazz Ensemble (from only 6 members initially). The pupils have been truly wonderful and a joy to teach.

However, there are a number of valid reasons why I felt that I had to leave. In my opinion, the move away from being a part of Norfolk County Music (who were in partnership with the Guildhall/NCYM originally) was unfortunate. Also, the departure of CYM/Guildhall School of Music Youth Academy Director (Stephen Dagg) was, again in my opinion, such a loss. Stephen truly was an enthusiastic and motivational presence and influence, visiting NCYM regularly. Since his departure, the landscape has changed considerably. Finally, since Covid-19 struck, I have also found Online ensembles to be increasingly frustrating, lacking in purpose or objective – due mainly to the fact that LIVE ensemble playing is at the heart of what these are about, playing and making music together.

9. A New Initiative for Norfolk: It is my intention to establish something new for Norfolk in due course – SaxWorld, which will consist of three Saxophone ensembles (Junior Saxology – for beginners up to approx’ Grade 4, Saxology – for players who are Grade 5 & above & Quartz – for advanced players). I have been directing Saxophone ensembles for many years now, within the School or Music School framework. I think that there is real scope to do this independently.

At present I am assessing the potential or need for such an initiative, planning things carefully and looking for the right location. Once we do see real signs that this Covid-19 Pandemic is over I aim to see these ensembles established. I shall keep you posted.

10. Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital was last held in 2019 at Soul Church (www.soulchurch.com) and was such a great success! As with each year’s Recital, we were treated to a wonderful variety of excellent performances from our soloists & various ensembles. The layout and design was set out in a ‘Jazz Café’ style and this was such a perfect environment in which to relax and to spend time together.

I am truly hoping that we might actually assemble again in 2021!

As well as being in discussion with a possible venue for SaxWorld I am looking at the prospect of moving our Summer Recital to the same venue (possibly King’s Community Church, Norwich – www.kingsnorwich.com or similar Church complex).

More on these plans to follow in due course… If you have any ideas or suggestions for the 2021 Annual Pupils’ Summer Recital do please let me know. These would be very welcome indeed.

11. New Pupils: Although I always have a busy teaching diary, for which I am always grateful, I do have a few spaces available (just a few). If you know of anyone who would like Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, 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.

Finally, thank you so very much for your gifts, cards and messages during the Christmas season, I do appreciate all of th