Information for parents for music lessons at John Clare Primary School

2019-2020

INTRODUCTION
I am a freelance musician, mixing teaching with performing. That means that I don’t have any formal connection with the school. 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.

There is a web site with links to my activities here:

fergusblackmusic.uk

LENGTH OF LESSONS
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.

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.

PRACTICE
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!

CONCERTS AND PERFORMANCES
From time-to-time I arrange student concerts to give everyone a chance to meet other students and parents. Also, to give students performing experience in front of an audience – so that they are not fazed in exams and performances.

CURRICULUM
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.

INSURANCE AND CLEARANCE TO WORK WITH CHILDREN
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.

NOTE ON MISSED LESSONS
School Activities and Illness : I do not usually get information from schools about Sports Days, trips out, or if a child is ill, etc., so please let me know directly about missed lessons if at all possible. I will do my best to reschedule a missed lesson, but I reserve the right to charge.

Not allowed out of lessons : It sometimes happens that class teachers don’t allow children out of lessons - usually because there is a test or other important activity. Provided this doesn’t happen too often, I will do my best to reschedule the lesson. Again, I reserve the right to charge for the missed lesson.

BOOKS AND MUSIC
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
Bourne
Lincolnshire
PE10 9AE
01778 425885
info@wildheartmusic.co.uk

Breve Music
27 Rivergate Arcade,
Peterborough
PE1 1EL
Tel: 01733 313598

Stamford Music Shop,
11 St. Mary’s Hill,
Stamford,
Lincs. PE9 2DP
Tel: 01780 751275
info@stamfordmusicshop.co.uk

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/

NOTEBOOK
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.


Please also see the following information pages: