Saxophone

Lessons are offered from beginner to grade 8 standard, though of course it is up to the student whether they wish to take examinations. I recommend the earliest age to begin the saxophone to be 9 or 10 years due to the size and weight of the instrument, though this is dependent on the individual.

 

New and second hand beginner saxophones can be rented  at Normans, to begin with, I recommend renting a saxophone from Woodwind & Reed (Cambridge) or Balaam's (Bury St. Edmunds) as this will keep inital costs down and give you the flexibility to switch models if required. The specialists at these shops can also offer specialist advice on beginner, intermediate and advanced models. The student will also need to purchase reeds (for beginners I recommend Rico, size 1.5 and 2), a neck strap (I recommend Neotech) to help support the instrument and a music stand for practicing.

Flute & Clarinet

Lessons are offered from beginner to grade 6 standard, though of course it is up to the student whether they wish to take examinations. Due to these woodwind instruments being smaller and lighter than the saxophone, many children take them up first. I recommend no younger than 7 years old to begin.

 

New and rental instruments can be found at Woodwind & Reed (in Cambridge) or Balaam's (in Bury St Edmunds), who also offer specialist advice on beginner, intermediate and advanced models. Clarinetists will also need to purchase reeds (for beginners I recommend Rico, size 1.5 and 2), and a music stand.

Piano

Lessons are offered from beginner to grade 4 standard, though of course it is up to the student whether they wish to take examinations. The earliest recommended age to begin the piano is 5 years (I have found that 6 or 7 years is a better age to begin lessons, but this of course depends on the individual). Music can help in developing a variety of skills at this age, including hand-eye coordination and attention span. Rhythmic exercises and singing will feature heavily in lessons for younger students, to help develop their listening skills and to add more variety to lessons.

 

Buying a piano is an investment (of both money and space) and many people understandably would rather delay spending money on a quality model until they are certain it will be used for many years. However, often it is a poor-quality instrument that puts students off. No one wants to spend time practising on a piece of plastic with unweighted keys, no dynamic control and awful midi sampling; thrifting like this at the beginning will be a false economy. The answer at this stage is a simple but good quality digital piano, with touch response, 88 weighted keys and a sustain (damper) pedal input. This will give the student everything they need to develop a good relationship with their instrument.

 

Second-hand acoustic pianos can often be found very cheaply (or even for free) online on sites such as Preloved, though these will often require tuning and other (potentially costly) maintenance.

 

Once the student has shown a solid interest in learning the piano (has achieved up to about grade 1 or 2 standard and shows continued enthusiasm) I highly recommend buying a good quality acoustic piano (it doesn't need to be brand new, but please seek advice from specialists - I recommend a visit to Cambridge Pianoforte).

Music Theory

I teach freestanding Music Theory lessons as well as including the subject in instrumental lessons. Grade 5 Music Theory is needed to progress to grade 6 in any instrument, and I aid students with this in piano and woodwind lessons as well as providing for students who wish to complete the theory grades separately. Many students find Music Theory to be quite a dry subject, particularly in comparison to learning an instrument, but it is a subject I am passionate about and I bring a high level of enthusiasm to make lessons fun and interesting.

 

Lessons are offered from beginner to grade 8 standard and are taught according to the ABRSM syllabus, though it is up to the student whether they wish to take the exams.