Wednesday, March 4, 2009

UK workshops February/March 2009 - Camden, London

I'm typing this on the train from Leeds to London, having completed a mini-UK tour which took me from London to Liverpool, Cambridge, Shrewsbury and Altrincham. I was speaking to groups of music teachers, but also students (as young as 7) parents and even grandparents, as you will hear!

First up was a workshop in Camden, north London on 20th February. Hosted by Dot's Music ( this was an afternoon workshop and the relatively good turnout was partly because it was scheduled for the end of half-term. It was held in a lovely old church off Camden High Street (see picture above)

The teachers were very interested in American Popular Piano ( because Microjazz is now what you might call a "mature" product (I guess I am as well!) and this is the first major new series from Christopher Norton in years. The whole idea of a series using contemporary popular styles to teach students to read music, play well and enjoy listening to themselves struck a (ahem...) chord. But it was when I got teachers to come and improvise that interest really picked up. My "student" pictured above right was a teacher who said he was looking for something fresh for himself as well as for his students - teachers can get a bit jaded and a new angle can come as something of a relief!

One other participant said he was a sax player and teacher and was pleasantly surprised to find that my teaching methods were very similar to his - we'd both come to similar conclusions about what might be needed (and more importantly, what might work) independently.

Thanks to Dot, a french horn player -tuned-music dealer, whose enthusiasm for music and helping teachers seems undiminished.

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