Meet our Cello & Piano Teacher

At around the age of seven, I began to have piano lessons and at eleven, I gained a scholarship to Chetham’s Hospital School in Manchester.

Though the school was not, at that time, a specialist music school, there were two timetabled double periods of orchestra rehearsal every week.

As orchestral accompanist, I was not always required, so in order to have a more fulfilling role, I chose to take up the cello. The lessons were provided at no cost by the School. This became my first study, to be pursued at the Royal College of Music and as a post-graduate, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The GSMD was then located in John Carpenter Street, which was opposite the former site of CLS. It seemed familiar territory when I was interviewed by the Director of Music, Mr AW Gould. I was taken on as the visiting cello teacher.

In 1975 we were housed in the 19th century building of which the imposing Victorian entrance and Great Hall still stands. The Music Department was split into different corners of the old and newer block. I taught in a room created from a stairwell which had no window and little ventilation. At least it was not across the quad in what was known as The Tudor Street basement, where it was rumoured that as many mice attended lessons as boys.

As a 'visiting music teacher' at CLS, I have always enjoyed a sense of being included and as playing a valued role in the life of the School, benefitting from the support of our full-time colleagues across the entire Common Room. Such a positive environment must foster in the boys themselves an awareness of the value of their musical endeavours. After all, being so closely associated with two important church choirs (the Chapel Royal and Temple Church choirs) is a considerable responsibility, as it does provide a steady stream of talented youngsters already initiated in the joy of music.

As a self-employed musician and teacher, life and work are possibly more closely bound up than in other professions. I have enjoyed working closely with colleagues as friends, playing chamber music in houses in France together and working with their pupils as accompanist. I prepare singers and instrumentalists for exams and competitions.

Chamber music and continuo playing have provided my most fulfilling work as a player and I have been for many years associated with the excellent Pro Corda Courses as a coach.

I have many happy memories of concerts and social events over the years, all of them associated with the unique view of the River and of working in the heart of the City with talented growing pupils and dedicated colleagues.

Every day presents a different challenge, in being resourceful and adapting to accommodate the needs of each individual pupil. The overall end being to stimulate their interest and enthusiasm in order to inspire them to do their best, and above all to enjoy the process of learning to master the instrument.

My overall aim is to generate the boy's enthusiasm for learning a new instrument and inspire them to do their best.