Double Bass Lessons and Cello Lessons

I offer Cello and Double Bass tuition to pupils of all ages and abilities both with one to one lessons and online tuition. These are bespoke lessons tailored for each pupil and focus on the individual’s needs, aims and abilities.

Music theory tuition and Recorder lessons are also offered up to Grade 8 standard and Violin lesson are also offered up to Intermediate standard.

“I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music”Albert Einstein

Learning to play a musical instrument is a wonderful experience, can bring great joy to yourself and others and enhances the creative thought process. Many of the greatest minds have cited music as a driving force behind their work.

“The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception”Albert Einstein

I am a highly motivated professional musician and private music teacher with a broad range of skills. Drawing on over 15 years of teaching experience, I believe passionately in passing on those skills that others have given to me and aim to fully equip the student with a broad musical skill-set so that they can develop into confident, independent learners.

Throughout my years of teaching I have developed a method of teaching drawing on aspects of Suzuki method, Dalcroze and Kodally methods. I have attended several Dalcroze teaching courses alongside seminars ran by the renowned educator Paul Harris.

One to one lessons are offered at lengths of 30 minutes, 45 minutes 60 minutes or longer if required. Tuition is normally given at home although external lessons are offered if requested. I teach weekdays during the daytime, after school and all day on Saturdays.

Students attend lessons from the local area as well as travelling further afield. I currently have students from Timperley, Altrincham, Hale, Chorlton, Hulme, Withington, Lymm, Didsbury and central Manchester.

Many pupils (and parents) may wish to sit exams and I offer specialist tuition for both the ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall examinations.

Alongside my private tuition I also teach in schools and my current teaching activities include;

  • Tutor of Double Bass for Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
  • Tutor of Lower Strings, Strings Ensemble Director and Classroom support for class music lessons at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
  • Tutor of Cello and String Ensemble Director at Loreto Preparatory School
  • Strings Tutor at The Ryley’s Preparatory School

Alongside a busy teaching schedule, I Direct several String and Lower String ensembles which range in age groups and standards all of which I arrange bespoke Ensemble music for, catering to each players individual standard.

I also offer presentations and assembly talks demonstrating the lower strings instruments, their History and associated repertoire.

If you are interested in studying the Double Bass, Cello, Recorder, or beginner Violin, are a parent thinking of lessons for your child or a school interested in a presentation then contact me and we can discuss it further.

  • Exams

    If pupils wish they are able to take graded exams and diplomas. Exams are offered from grades 1-8 with grade 8 being the highest non-professional standard in instrumental performance. I enter all exam candidates through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) or Trininty College London (TCL). There are also examinations offered in music theory and grade 5 theory is a requirement in order to pregress to grade 6 with ABRSM.

    "It is well worth remembering is the progress made during this preparation period that really matters"Clara Taylor, Chief Examiner, ABRSM

    I prepare pupils for exams as part of a well rounded curriculum. It is important to remember that exams can be a good milestone and target to aim for but they are not intended to be used as a curriculum. It is very important that pupils study other music, as exam pieces can make very good test pieces, but are often lacking in educational value.

    "exam syllabuses are not intended to provide a complete curriculum"Clara Taylor, Chief Examiner, ABRSM

    100% of pupils that have taken exams with me have passed them, with a considerable proportion achieving distinctions.

    A graded exam takes a lot of preparation, we have to prepare set pieces, perform numerous scales and arpeggios from memory, undertake aural tests and sight-reading tests. There is a lot to prepare and, whilst I always seek to have pupils progress as quickly as possible, it is very important not to cut corners as ultimately this will store up problems for pupils and they will inevitably give up.

    "the next grade may seem to be the most important step, it usually takes a year between grades, and an exam syllabus, however interesting and comprehensive, is not an ideal musical diet for this entire period"Clara Taylor, Chief Examiner, ABRSM

    This is why it is essential to use examinations as part of a well rounded curriculum that focuses on all aspects of music making

    Diplomas are offered by different boards but the main contenders are ABRSM and Trinity. Both are equally challenging. Both offer diplomas at three levels;

    • DipABRSM or ATCL
    • LRSM or LTCL (Licentiate)
    • FRSM or FTCL (Fellowship)

    For young talented pupils the DipABRSM or ATCL is achievable prior to attending university.

  • Advice for Parents and Pupils
    • Instrument advice

      Choosing a suitable instrument on which your child can practice is a very important decision.

      I will be providing further information online but at the moment it would be best to discuss this with me in person so I can meet the child.

    • Practice

      Pupils should aim to be practising on a daily basis and as a rough guide we can use a useful formula of 10 minutes plus 10 additional minutes per grade to calculate a suitable amount of time. As an example Grade 1 would be 20 minutes each day and Grade 5 would be 60 minutes each day. This ensures that the amount of time required for each grade as calculated by Ofqual for QCF accreditation is achieved over an academic year, during term-time and practising on week-days.

      "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it."Jascha Heifetz

      Most pupils will struggle at times with their practice and will resist working at certain elements. This is quite natural as practising any musical instrument can be very frustrating! It takes a lot of encouragement and a gentle approach to achieve positive results if children are resistant. Constant praise and encouragement are essential ingredients, they are usually aware of any errors that they are making.

      Help could be offered in structuring their time so that ample time is set aside each day and so that it doesn't cause conflict with other activities. Practising before school or immediately after school is usually the best option as it will become part of a routine. If a child however finishes school and immediately opts for the television or I Pad then they will resist practising a musical instrument as they will begin to see it as something that is preventing them from engaging in other activities.

    • Environment

      Establishing a comfortable environment for learning the instrument can also vastly improve the engagement of the young musician.

      If the instrument is kept in a room where there is likely to be continual disruption, or where its use will cause inconvenience to others this will have a negative effect on how often it gets played. If restrictions are placed on when it can be played, e.g. when another family member wants to watch a television undisturbed, then it will make it harder for the full enjoyment of learning a musical instrument to develop.

      Good lighting is also essential as the eye-strain caused from staring at poorly lit music will cause tiredness and the young musician will lose focus and struggle to make progress. The clip-on LED music stand lights sold by many retailers are largely useless as they are really suited to professional musicians working in Jazz clubs or orchestra pits at theatres. I recommend a bright "up-lighter" that will provide a very bright but unfocussed light. Spot lights on the music can also cause eye-strain from the reflection.

      Try to keep all of their sheet music and musical accessories easily accessible. A small bookcase next to the instrument can transform the young musician's surroundings. Keeping their metronome, pencils and music organized and easy to access will make a big difference to the productivity of practice sessions and increase the opportunities for independent learning. Children will rarely turn to reading books as a hobby if all of their books are hidden from them or randomly distributed around the house.

      Find a prominent position for festival trophies and exam certificates so they are always there to remind us to keep persevering when we struggle.

      A suitable stool or chair is essential so that your child can be comfortable and practice without any backache or strains caused from poor posture.

    • Music

      Gradually building a good music library will work wonders in helping to stimulate the young musician.

      As an example, most children I teach tell me of the many books that they have been reading. However, the stories that they choose to read for pleasure are not those set by their English teacher. Instead they are reading books bought as Christmas presents, birthday presents or books purchased from visiting the local book store or online retailer. The English teacher teaches the skills needed to read well, but it is the personal interests of the child that determine what they read for pleasure.

      Using a similar approach with music books will yield great results. Why not make regular trips to the local music shop and see if anything interests them? Or, maybe allocate a monthly music allowance to purchase music from somewhere like music room.

      Then they will gradually build up a library of music that interests them, and be far more likely to develop the skills learnt in lessons into a lifetime hobby or profession.

      Don't worry about the standard or difficulty of the music, this is exam thinking. The grade is a reflection of the standard we play to, not the absolute difficulty of the music. If musicians want to play something, then they will learn it, regardless of how difficult it is. If it's an easy arrangement of a familiar tune then they will likely improvise with that tune and turn it into something far more spectacular.

      Sheet music is relatively inexpensive these days so there is really nothing to lose here. They might find a particular piece too hard at the moment, but they will try, they may even be able to play the tune with one hand and one day they will be able to master it.

      Digital pdf copies of music are available from many online retailers. My advice is to buy the book. When it arrives in the post you have the joy of opening your new music; many are colourful; film music will often have lots of related material. Printed copies are difficult to play from, the print ends up too small and they always fall off the music desk! The published books will be alive and well long after the printout has become a crumpled pile of paper!

    • Listening

      Listening to music is a very important and enjoyable part of any young musician's life. I feel it very important that parents engage with their children as this is one area where parent and child can really work together and form a common interest and learn together. The world of recorded music has changed rapidly over the last number of years with young people moving away from physical recordings like CD's. This has led in many cases to a technical divide between generations in how music is consumed and much harder to share a CD and listen together.

      There are ways forward though with wireless speakers and social media sharing that enable a similar experience. What has been lost with the move to digital formats though is the background knowledge. Classical CD's always included the booklet which had a lot of information about the composers, the music and the artists performing. These booklets always helped me in to connect with the music, in most cases though all of this information is only a "click" away.

      The most important shared listening experience has not changed - the live performance. We are fortunate to be in close proximity to the Bridgewater hall and some of the world's leading orchestras. The experience of live classical music is powerful, it was never intended that it would be experienced in any other way and has been composed for the concert hall - not recorded media. The dynamic scale is enormous, the energy from all of the musicians on stage is electric and it does not have to be expensive.

      Take advantage of this jewel on our doorstep, it will do more to motivate and educate than any other experience.

    • Accessories

      There are many ideas for accessories, some essential, and some great gift ideas. Here are a few.

  • Resources