Since 2004, I have been teaching children of all ages, as well as adults, in a variety of subjects: music performance, music theory, aural skills, conducting choirs and school orchestras in repertoire ranging from baroque to the latest musicals; I’ve also taught Latin, ancient Greek, English, linguistics…the list is long and slightly incoherent! However, over the years I’ve been continuously amazed at how all those disciplines informed one another in the classroom or rehearsal room; the modules in pragmatics and psychology informed my teaching toolbox when I was helping a fourteen year old perform ‘Pinball Wizard’ on stage, and seminars from my postgraduate studies proved invaluable when lesson planning for cello students and pre-school music. I’ve also been very lucky to have been taught and conducted by many distinguished and inspirational pedagogues; my cello teacher, Professor Russi Dragnev, who has taught me since I was 7 years old, will always be the main source of inspiration and creativity for any music-related endeavour. Not least because of his approach to some of the youngest children, who had started coming to lessons forced by pushy parents and ended up decades later playing in various ensembles and enjoying music making every day... I finally managed to understand why his system worked so well when I discovered the developmental and neurocognitive bases of his unique pedagogical approach in my academic studies! All these have helped me form the four core principles in my teaching and in developing the Mini Music programme.
A teacher needs to make the subject become alive and relevant.
Children love to be challenged and they all have enormous potential.
Teachers need to rethink and, if necessary, reinvent their lesson constantly.
Every child has different needs and a different pace; teachers need to consider and accommodate this.
In creating Mini Music, I incorporated everything I have ever learned, plus my own experiences as a mum, in a programme designed to facilitate the first steps of infants, babies and young children, as well as their parents, into the world of music.
I have a Degree in Classics and Linguistics, a Diploma in Violoncello, an MMus in Performance and a PhD in Music Psychology; I’ve performed a bit and published a bit, but the main field where I feel all the studies and years of practice came together, made sense and found reason as a whole was teaching.