Alice Haylock - Music & English Tuition

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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 9-10 years due to the size and weight of the instrument, though this is dependent on the individual.


I recommend Jupiter as a good make for a learner’s first saxophone. New and second hand models can be found at Normans, who 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), a neck strap (I recommend Neotech) to help support the instrument and perhaps a music stand for practicing.


Flute & Clarinet

Lessons are offered from beginner to grade 4 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 second hand instruments can be found at Normans 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 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 and it is best to delay spending money on a quality model until you are certain it will be used for many years. Keyboards can be a good starting point, though it is vital that they have a ‘touch response’ feature (where the keys sound louder or softer depending on how hard the note is played) and ideally have an input for a MIDI sustain pedal.


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 digital pianos, such as the Yamaha Clavinova range. These sound and feel like playing an acoustic piano, but have the added bonus of volume control and a headphone socket for privacy while practising. Many also offer different instrumental sounds and the ability to record yourself playing, which is both fun and educational. I personally have owned a Clavinova since the age of 9 - it still works perfectly almost 20 years later!


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.