Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Teaching abroad

"The world of international education is steadily growing, with an increasing number of overseas jobs available for English-speaking, UK-trained teachers. For many teachers the thought of taking up a post abroad is an enticing one: it is the opportunity for a fresh start with a change in lifestyle and scenery; the chance to boost your career with new challenges and experiences; to work in a multicultural environment, and perhaps experience more professional freedom and creativity."
Click here to read on. For publication in January 2014 issue of Music Teacher

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Recorder, and Other Classroom Instruments

"Mention the word 'recorder' to a random selection of 20 people. There's a fairly high chance that the majority of them will shudder with the recollection of enforced group tuition that left them either uninspired (at best) or bestowed upon them a lifelong aversion to the instrument. With a new music curriculum that requires every child to play a tuned musical instrument, many teachers are looking for the instrument that will work best in their classroom. Does the recorder deserve the title of archetypal classroom instrument, and are there any viable alternatives?"
Click here to read on. Published in December 2013 issue of Music Teacher

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Importing Percussion

"Sourcing the right World Music instruments for use in schools is a juggling act. A number of considerations have to be balanced – such as affordability, safety and durability, quality and consistency of sound, and practicality (size and weight of instruments, storage, ease of transport). On top of these factors, you want instruments that are as true to their traditions as possible; preferably made using traditional techniques, in the general region of the tradition’s origin. Given that the vast majority of World Music instruments imported to UK come from factories using modern materials and processes, how do World Music instrument retailers source anything that is vaguely representative of the traditions that they represent?"
Click here to read on. Published in July 2013 issue of Music Teacher

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The David Idowu Choir: Driving out darkness with light

"It has been almost five years since 14-year-old David Idowu lost his life to hate crime. The boy who carried out this fatal stabbing had never met David; the mere fact that David attended a certain school was enough to make him a target in this senseless crime. David had been an active campaigner against knife and gun crime. Now, as a way of coping with the darkness of his death, his family and community are fighting hate with love. The David Idowu Foundation was set up by David’s parents and works to eradicate school rivalries, educate about the effects of hate crime, and help young offenders put their lives back on track. One of the Foundation’s recent projects is the David Idowu community choir. Jointly supported by the Foundation and Southwark Music Service, the choir’s membership is drawn from several schools in the borough. Bringing together local teenagers through song is a positive way to fight against the circumstances of David’s death, and promote harmony between different schools."
Click here to read on. Published in June 2013 issue of Music Teacher

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

'Let's get the whole place singing!'

"Every so often, we are called upon to search our memories for information that we know we learned during our school days. We scratch our heads and try to summon up that elusive historical date, the name of that capital city - sometimes with success, other times to no avail. What is far more likely to ignite that spark of memory is a song or chant that we learned at the same time. Get the tune started, and the facts within will flow."
Click here to read on. Published in April 2013 issue of Music Teacher

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Music Teacher magazine 2012-2013

Here are some of my articles for Music Teacher:

"Going Global", January 2013
"Today’s musicians, from classical to pop, are being inspired and influenced by musical idioms from the other side of the world. At the same time, western classical music has found keen new audiences, particularly in India and the Far East. Traditionally, student orchestras and choirs in the UK have opted for tours to European destinations, safe in the knowledge that the culture will be fairly familiar, audiences receptive and costs relatively low. But in an age where culture is crossing all borders, should our students be doing the same?".
Click here to read on.


"Safety First", December 2012
"Musical instruments are like close friends. We get to know them and feel comfortable with them, we grow familiar with their little idiosyncrasies, and we would feel quite distraught without them. But however fond we may be of our instruments, accidents do happen – and dealing with the consequences can be very stressful. The antidote to this stress should, in theory, be musical instrument insurance".
Click here to read on.


Interview with Paul Sartin, November 2012
"The Kodály method uses a lot of modal musical material, and after being immersed in classical harmonies for so many years I found these sounds completely ethereal! I became hooked on Vaughan Williams, which felt to me like the height of pastoral Romanticism. Then a friend got me into Jethro Tull, which was followed by slightly lighter folk rock styles – Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. Together with one teacher and a group of school friends we formed the Purcell Folk Group".
Click here to read on.


Interview with Kristjan Järvi, October 2012
"I can’t really put a finger on a specific moment or age I began to take an interest in music – it was more a process of osmosis as I absorbed and drank in all the beautiful music that was around me".
Click here to read on.


Some of my other articles

Here's a selection of my writings. Some represent the earlier, uncensored versions of pieces that were later clipped, pruned and manicured for publication ...

"Long-haul music tours"
"Traditionally, student orchestras and choirs in the UK have opted for tours to European destinations – perhaps Central America for the more adventurous – safe in the knowledge that the culture will be fairly familiar, audiences receptive, and costs relatively low. But in an age where culture is crossing all borders, perhaps our students should be doing the same?"
Click here for the full text


"Mini Maestros and Infant Instrumentalists: when should we start children on formal music education?"
"While the vast majority of us are unlikely to be harbouring mini Mozarts under our roofs, there is no doubt that all children can gain a great deal from a musical education, regardless of their aptitude or ability. Given that our brains are wired to respond to music from the earliest age, does this mean we should start playing instruments just as soon as we’re physically able to hold them?"
Click here for the full text


"Specialist Music Schools: a Five-Step Guide"
"Whether to send your pupil or child to a specialist music school is a big decision, and there is a great deal that needs to be considered. This five-step guide takes you through all the important information you need to know when judging what’s best for each young musician".
Click here for the full text


Here's the text of my interview with Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson, which will be published in the March issue of Music Teacher
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