Private Teaching

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I always seemed to end up in tears after my childhood piano lessons. My first teacher, Mrs Gallagher, was a tiny woman – but she terrified me! She would hover at the side of her towering grand piano, ready to strike me across my knuckles with her ruler whenever I played a wrong note. It may seem strange that I carried on having lessons with her for six years, but in the small Scottish town where I grew up, she was reputed to be the best teacher… and I wanted the ‘best’.

How little did I realise, at such a tender age, that a good teacher is someone who instills confidence and joy.

Dear old Mrs Gallagher! She certainly taught me how to practice well, I’ll give her that. And indeed, she taught me how to teach… or rather, how not to teach!

The most valuable thing I can give my pupils is the sheer joy of learning to play an instrument. Not everyone is cut out to be a master musician… but everyone can know the thrill of making progress, of finding that they, too, can make music!

I don’t push my pupils to do better than they are able. But I do encourage them to push themselves. Learning an instrument is not just about music. It’s about learning how to focus on a task, learning that satisfaction, joy and excitement come with the pushing of our skill boundaries.

Learning to play an instrument is a valuable training for life. I wish every child could have the opportunity.




Folk guitar