Nicholas has an instinctive ability to focus on each learner as an individual. He enjoys guiding the first steps of beginners and helping advanced learners polish the quality of their performance with equal facility whatever their age.
He has taught many teenagers from childhood to the time they leave for university. A number of them went on to study music at specialist music schools or university; others built up the skills and confidence to play professionally, solo or in bands. He has helped university students struggling with some aspect of their studies. He now often teaches the children of former pupils who want them to experience the same pleasure in learning music as they did when they were kids.
He helps adults take up an instrument or resume their progress after a break. He is especially gifted to support retired people realise long-held aspirations to learn an instrument.
Nicholas also teaches teachers. If you teach music but want to acquire a particular specialist skill, you can trust him to help you plug the gap. Teachers of other subjects pick up on his attitude and techniques while learning music.
What Nicholas says:
I first encountered the piano aged 14 when an instrument was left behind in the house my family moved into, and it immediately became an all-absorbing passion. I reached grade 8 within a year and then studied at the Huddersfield School of Music, where I chose classical guitar as my second instrument.
I became a professional player at 19, mainly for two groups playing university and other venues, Plexus and One-Eyed Jack. We recorded albums together and I also played as a session player for other professional performers’ recordings.
I later gave solo recitals on the piano, guitar, mandolin and lute, offering programmes of music from the Renaissance to the current day, including my own highly praised original compositions.
From my late 20s, I have been mainly engaged in teaching. I worked as an instrument and theory teacher at Hipperholme Grammar School for a few years, taking on a variety of responsibilities for school concerts. But mostly I have been teaching from my home in Edgerton, in a spacious dedicated music room where pupils can enjoy playing in excellent surroundings and parents are always welcome to attend.
I focus on classical and acoustic as they form the best basis to progress in any style. Beginners will acquire solid technical skills on which to base further classical development, or veer into folk, country, jazz or rock. I encourage intermediate and advanced learners to widen their horizons and fully enjoy music making. Improvisation is always an option, with guidance on relevant scales and modes.
I believe in acquainting pupils with a variety of styles and periods of music. I encourage intermediate and advanced learners to steer their own course; I provide information and guidance on the vast repertoire available from keyboard composition though the ages. Improvisation is always an option, with guidance on relevant scales and modes.
I welcome pupils of any age from beginner to advanced. If you want to take exams, read the exams section below.
I teach mandolin and lute from beginner to any level. Piano players can explore the different sound quality and feel of the harpsichord, which can also be learnt independently.
Over the years, I have helped pupils studying a variety of other instruments pass exams or break down obstacles in their progress. These have included players of the flute, clarinet, cello, trombone, euphonium, as well as singers.
Theory and Composition
I teach the theory required at every stage of development. I’m a specialist at helping pupils through the grade 5 theory exam compulsory to progress to higher grades on instruments, and the grade 8 required for Diploma and degree courses. I understand well all the difficulties pupils encounter and know all the tricks to get over them.
I offer expert guidance on composition, particularly useful for GCSE and A’ level.
Exams are not compulsory but many want to take them. I usually enter pupils to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations from Grade 1 to Grade 8 and beyond to Diploma. Exams can be taken with other Boards if preferred. GCSE and A’ level students enrol via their school; I offer specialist help with these exams.
Statistics comparison with the ABRSM national average
These statistics are for theory and practical and all grades combined, based on the last 5 years (from 2007-08) for Nicholas and the last year of statistics available from ABRSM (2011) at http://gb.abrsm.org/en/press/exam-statistics.
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