Where I am today, and a summary of how I got here:
2012: This year's big task will be to write articles on the new ABRSM syllabus for e-music maestro, the teachers' advice website. I contributed extensively to their content on grades 1-5 pieces when the last syllabus came out. More recently I helped with the new aural test practice material that is now live on the site.
2010-11: I am putting into practice what I learned in 2008-9 when I gained the CTABRSM professional development qualification for established instrumental teachers. This has refreshed my extensive stock of ideas and resources, as well as providing high-level feedback on my actual teaching - which was observed over ten months by the head of a local authority music service - and confirming my existing experience and success as a teacher. I have also joined the European Piano Teachers' Association as a full Professional Member. Since I believe that teachers should always be learners too, I have started learning the clarsach (lever harp), which has already given me new insights into instrumental teaching and learning. My skills as a writer have been put to good use in contributing to a new website for teachers, www.e-musicmaestro.com which provides extensive guidance on the teaching of exam and competition repertoire.
2001-present: Edinburgh. Bringing up my three children and giving private music lessons. I played the keyboard regularly in the Colinton Parish Church praise band until 2009. As a church children's worker and a Scripture Union leader at the local primary school, I have undergone Child Protection training and hold enhanced disclosure certificates from Disclosure Scotland.
1996-2001: Brussels. I was closely involved in the musical life of the British community in Brussels. My performances featured regularly in charity concerts including a solo piano recital at the British Embassy. I provided piano accompaniment for rehearsals of the Brussels Chorale, assisted the Director of Music at St Andrew's (Church of Scotland) and played the cello in amateur groups. Working in a multi-lingual environment, I taught a wide range of piano students of all ages and nationalities, particularly from the diplomatic missions to NATO and the EU. I wrote and presented two successful Music Appreciation (adult education) courses for the British and Commonwealth Women's Club. In 2000 I passed the ABRSM Advanced Certificate to keep my performing skills up to date. I also ran an image consultancy franchise for House of Colour.
1986-96: London. Civil Service. Working with Ministers, legal advisers and business representatives, I developed and delivered policies, briefed in Parliament and managed staff.
2008-2009: Certificate of Teaching, ABRSM, Edinburgh centre. Professional development qualification in piano teaching. Special focus on developing an instrumental curriculum, sight reading, teaching adults and resources for musicianship. Marked "Excellent" in all categories including lesson observations.
1982-1986: Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Upper second class honours degree equivalent (GMusRNCM) in the School of Academic Studies, including music history, analysis, theory, harmony and counterpoint, and musicology. I continued my piano studies in the School of Keyboard Studies and also learned to play the viola da gamba and harpsichord.
1981: whilst studying for my A-levels I gained the LTCL Performance Diploma in piano from Trinity College of Music, London.
I teach all ages and all levels from beginners to grade 8. My approach is holistic and carefully tailored to each student's needs, preferences and musical aspirations. As well as technical development and repertoire, which can be structured around Associated Board exams if wished, I encourage my students explore keyboard harmony, improvisation, theory and general musicianship. Most learners are not aiming for concert-platform virtuosity so I provide opportunities for them to try classical, contemporary and traditional styles as well, and develop the skills to become a "useful" pianist.
The most important task for a piano teacher is to enable the student to learn and play music independently. So I teach my students to understand and apply many different ways of learning, exploring and practising. I help them discover how they can best deal with various music-making situations, and how to have fun and be confident at the keyboard.
Teachers should themselves be learners - this is at the core of my teaching philosophy. Having taken up the clarsach (lever harp) I am playing at elementary level and experiencing the same frustrations and struggles that my piano pupils do - trying to play hands together, wanting to make a better sound, avoiding tension, finding time to practise (!) and so on...