Length of lessons
In terms of lesson time, half-an-hour is fine up to about grade 5. After that 45 minutes, or an hour a week would be more usual.
I offer a second pupil a 10% discount - so, for example, two members of the same family for two 30 minutes lessons would be £33.20, rather than £36.60.
15 minutes *
* (years 1 and 2 only)
I issue contracts for teaching, a standard agreement prepared by the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Students sign up for a series of lessons, to which both they and I are committed. Cheques should be made payable to Fergus Black within ten days. Exam and Competition fees, purchase of music, and the provision of pencils and rubbers, are additional.
Please try not to miss lessons: if you are ill or working, please give me notice if you can. I would prefer to re-arrange missed lessons, but if we can’t agree a mutually convenient time, I reserve the right to charge.
If I accompany singers in exams and auditions, I will charge for it, as if it were a lesson.
I teach during Peterborough school terms. If I take other breaks, I’ll let you know as far in advance as I can.
Parents must accompany children 16 and under, and wait through the lesson.
It would be best to look on the lessons as a kind of ‘check-up’. The work of learning music is done between lessons, not at them. The student should be practising regularly, preferably daily. Each time there should be a variety of different activities: posture, warm-up exercises, technical work / scales, pieces at different stages of preparation – some new, some well-known. The general rule of practice is that it should be purposeful, not simply dutiful. For example, to get a difficult bit right, slow it down, and take it apart: for pianists, practise hands separately before putting them together; for singers, separate the words and the music. Simply playing through from the beginning each time you make a mistake will not do!
From time-to-time I arrange student lunchtime concerts to give students performing experience in front of an audience – so that they are not fazed in exams and performances.
I don’t follow any strict curriculum for students, since we are all individuals. However, I encourage students to take Associated Board exams and to enter the local Competition Music Festival. These provide objective assessments of standards, and help students prepare for performance.
I will, in the course of time, recommend some sheet music to buy for lessons. I need to make an assessment before doing that. The music that I have copied or lent is only a temporary measure to get us going.
When I ask you to order music, if you have the time, please go together to a music shop. That way you can see what else is available, and browse interesting things.
27 Rivergate Arcade, Peterborough, PE1 1EL
Tel: 01733 313598
Stamford Music Shop
11 St. Mary’s Hill, Stamford, PE9 2DP
Tel: 01780 751275
I think the Stamford shop has the widest range of music in stock.
You can get also sheet music online in many cases, e.g. from
musicroom.com or amazon.co.uk
I will provide a notebook, which I hope will guide practice. Without a notebook it is unlikely that practice will be focussed on the things that need to be practised.
Bringing books to lessons
It would help the lessons flow smoothly if students always bring all books to lessons. I do try to have a copy of their music with me, but I would not be able to mark their copy.
Through my membership of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), I have Public Liability insurance up to £10m in relation to my professional work. I renewed my DBS Enhanced Certificate in 2018.