If you have any questions, please see if they are answered here - questions about how long lessons are, how much practice needs to be done; questions about books, and insurance. If you don’t see what you need to know, please: ObscureMyEmail to send me an email (using your mail client) or call my mobile number, 07843 058994.
At Bourne Grammar School, I teach piano.
At John Clare Primary School, I teach singing and piano.
Privately and online, I teach a full range of subjects listed here:
Fergus Black plays the organ on a Sunday-by-Sunday basis at All Saints in Stamford.
He gives occasional recitals - recently at Burghley House, and in St John's Stamford.
Fergus Black teaches piano at a number of local schools, including Bourne Grammar School, as well as privately. In his blog, you will find a number of articles that demonstrate his approach. He performs regularly as a pianist, playing in concerts and for exams and diplomas.
Fergus Black prepares students for aural tests at Grades 6,7 and 8, and for auditions. Sometimes, other instrumental teachers are reluctant to take their students through practice aural tests for the higher grades - perhaps because of a lack of lesson time, or because the tests need advanced keyboard skills to administer them.
He teaches singing privately, and he runs the adults’ and children’s choirs at All Saints Church.
Theory is really Musical Literacy – writing music, and understanding how it is put together. Students of ABRSM practical exams need Grade 5 Theory to progress further, but that isn't why they should do it!
There are pages on Theory on this site. Click here. Singers face especial difficulty with Theory - see here.
There are half-term courses on Music Theory.
I am a freelance musician, mixing teaching with performing. That means that I don’t have any formal connection with the schools I work in. So it would be best if you contact me directly about anything to do with the lessons.
Also, if your child is starting lessons for the first time, please let me know about anything that you think I ought to know: about any learning difficulties, or dyslexia, etc. The school will not tell me unless I specifically ask.
In terms of lesson time, 20 minutes is fine for beginners. For very young beginners in Years 1 and 2, I offer 15 minute lessons. Once past Grade 2, half-an-hour would be better up to about grade 5. All lessons are on a one-to-one basis.
In school, lessons take place in school terms, during the school day on a weekly basis, at the school, usually on a rotating timetable, on a day mutually convenient to me and the school.
Privately, after school.
Potential students need to be happy at this stage that I have an approach which they would find sympathetic - I prefer to meet prospective students, and to hear them perform and give them feedback - a kind of taster lesson. Usually this will last 20-30 minutes.
If you are already having lessons, please bring a piece you can perform (not something you have just started work on).
For private and online students, I give preference to:
Difficult question! It all depends - there are so many demands on students’ time, that giving a specific answer is hard. Suffice it to say that progress depends on contact time with the instrument - the more you play, the better you get.
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:
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.
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.
I will, in the course of time, recommend some music to buy for lessons. I need to make an assessment of range and suitability of repertoire 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.
Wild Heart Music
Unit 4, Angel Precinct
27 Rivergate Arcade,
Tel: 01733 313598
Stamford Music Shop,
11 St. Mary’s Hill,
Lincs. 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.