"We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace."
Dalai Lama


Are you a complete beginner interested in learning to play the fiddle? 
Are you a classically trained violinist who is looking to experiment with new styles? 
Bored of learning scales and taking grade exams?
I might be able to help!

I teach at home in Pakefield.  Please contact me if you'd like to arrange a trial lesson. 
Rates are £16 for half an hour, £22 for 45 minutes and £28 for an hour's lesson.  

For beginners half an hour is usually plenty.  I usually teach on weekdays due to performing commitments at the weekends.  Although I can't guarantee to be available at the same time each week, I try to accomodate my students needs as far as possible.

Each student is a unique individual, so I try find out what works best for each one rather than following a set script.   Students seem best motivated to practice by learning music they enjoy listening to.  If no sheet music is available we can make arrangements from ipods, youtube and so on.

Some students prefer to learn completely by ear.  Some are happier reading music.  Learning both is best!
Here is a link to a research article which shows that learning by ear benefits every aspect of a student's musical development
"With the “experimental” students surpassing the “control” group in every criterion assessed at the post-test stage, results suggest that playing by ear from a recording may be beneficial for children’s aural development."

Recording machines (like my Zoom H1) are incredibly useful devices for teaching purposes.  It is impossible for a violin student to devote their full attention to the sound they are making - they are far too busy trying to coordinate their muscles.  Being able to play something into a microphone and listen back to it immediately helps students to hear and understand for themselves what they need to work on.  Often students are pleasantly surprised by the sound they make - scratchy sounds under your nose can translate into a healthy projecting tone a few feet away.  Hopefully, this critical listening gives students more musical insight than practising a certain way because the teacher says so. When a piece is ready for performance, we can make a CD quality recording.  These can help students to track their progress over a period of time.  

In repertoire terms, I try to start with my students musical interests.  Alongside plenty of English and Irish folk tunes (from sources such as thesession.org) I also recommend the Suzuki Violin Method books which contain an excellent and varied selection of classical repertoire. Pupils are also learning music ranging from Bach's double violin concerto and intermediate level classical works such as Oskar Rieding's Concerto in D major op.36, some Klezmer fiddle tunes, as well as the odd bit of Jazz and film music such as Pirates of the Carribean with playalong CDs.  As long as a piece is playable on the violin, I am usually happy to teach it.  

For me the internal satisfaction of performing a piece well is usually more important than achieving an exam grade, although I do sometimes coach pupils for grade exams if they wish to take them.   Grade 8 however is a useful mark of achievement, and it also earns valuable UCAS points for University applicants.

I also enjoy helping my students develop their own arrangements of pieces, which can include music they've heard on youtube and spotify. Recent examples include John Williams's haunting theme from Schindler's List, tracks by GreendayThe Levellers and folk tunes by Dave Swarbrick and others.  

For more advanced pupils we can work on transposition and improvisation techniques to build all-round musicianship.

Here a fantastic example of what becomes possible when you combine musicianship and technology!




Useful links:

Introduction to the violin - labelled diagrams and information about how to care for your fiddle.
How to tune a violin - detailed instructions and a tone generator to help you find correct pitches for your strings.
Online fiddle lessons - series of text-based lessons. Informative - but no substitute for a real teacher!
Online music theory lessons - accessible introduction to music notation with interactive exercises.
Virtual folk session - collection of Irish folk tunes with recordings to play along with
Playford Compendium - Henry Playford's English Dancing Master - collected facsimiles of 17th and 18th century folk tunes
IMSLP - gigantic archive of public domain sheet music for download