Hi! My name is Alistair and I am a freelance musician. I am originally from Leicestershire however I lived in a town called Hexham in Northumberland from 1999-2008. I then moved to Manchester to go to University, and have never left since!
- Which subject(s) do you teach?
I can teach Violin/Viola (Classical//Jazz/Rock), Fiddle (folk Violin or Viola), Chamber Music, Composition, Musicianship, Music Theory, and Piano.
- Tell me about your qualifications.
I have a 1st class degree in Music from the University of Manchester, one of the UK and the World's most prestigious universities. I learnt a variety of disciplines while at University, especially in performance and composition; the course is recognised as one of the best music degrees in the UK. I then went to the RNCM and studied Viola Performance for 3 years to gain a Masters Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma.
- How much do you charge?
I charge £15 for a consultation - this will take up to an hour and is mainly a chance to meet you, discuss what you would like to learn, and have a 'mini' lesson!
Viola and Violin (including fiddle): £30 per hour. £20 per half-hour lesson. £25 for 45 mins - We can discuss what best meets your requirements at the consultation.
Chamber Music: £30 per hour. I am more than happy to provide a one-off 'drop in' session if you are looking for an outside influence. I have space within my house to have a String Quartet, or a Piano Trio (my piano is usable, but not fantastic!)
All other instruments/disciplines: £30 per hour.
- Where do you teach?
I teach in my house, in Withington. We have a dedicated music room used primarily for practise, rehearsal and teaching. We may be able to arrange lessons at your house - this would however incur additional costs based on distance/journey time. My house is within easy access of Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Whalley Range, Fallowfield, Heaton Mersery, Heaton Moor, Heaton Chapel, Burnage, Northenden, Levenshulme, Stretford, Rusholme, Reddish, Stockport, Davenport, Urmston, Altrincham, Wythenshawe, Cheadle, Timperley, Carrington, and Hale. If you don't live in any of these areas (but nearby!), please do get in touch and we can discuss practicalities. It may be possible for me to travel to you too so please get in touch if you have this in mind.
I would also be happy to arrange to teach in the Hexham area of Northumberland - this would need to be arranged in advance as I spend most of my time in Manchester.
- When are you available?
I am most likely to be available on weekday mornings and evenings, however I am willing to work weekends or any other time that my schedule permits. Freelance Musicians have a constantly varying schedule, so while it is probable that a weekly time can be arranged, it is possible that we might need to find another time/day on particularly busy weeks!
Also, i'm happy to teach during school holidays as well as during term-time.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
I teach all ages and abilities. If you are a complete beginner, I would usually incorporate elements of musicianship (at no extra charge!!) to help you get to grips with pitch, rhythm and notation - the musicians essentials! If you are an intermediate or an advanced student hoping to hone your skills to perfection, I specialise in critical self-awareness, practice methods, and (for Violin and Viola) 'visual intonation'. I am also a recent student of the famous Garth Knox, who specialises in Contemporary Music, and improves string playing technique using new innovative methods (the 'Viola Spaces' being an integral part of this).
- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
All ABRSM grades. University/Conservatoire auditions (undergrad and postgrad), Diplomas, and all other exam boards (eg. Trinity).
- Do you have a personal message for students?
Never forget that while learning an instrument is extremely challenging and time consuming, your ultimate goal is enjoyment. I will help you enable this!
Remain open-minded at ALL times.The best thing about music is there is no 'best' way to do anything. You have the chance to be create something that is yours - this is why it is so enjoyable.
'Listen' to your body. If something is uncomfortable, the chances are you are doing it 'wrong' and a small adjustment will make it 'right'! I am strong believer that everyone is different and therefore plays an instrument differently. There is no 'my way or the highway' in my teaching!
- What kind of experience do you have?
My teaching experience is wide-ranging in both styles and abilities. I teach Viola at the University of Leeds, JRNCM, YYM and RNCM Young Violas. For 2 years I taught Chamber Music at the RNCM as a Junior Fellow. I have also lead workshops with group classes of children through working with Live Music Now.
As a performer, I am primarily a Classical Violist. I play with several of the Professional Orchestras in the North of England, including the Halle, BBC Philharmonic, Opera North, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, sitting as Guest Principle with several of these Orchestras. As a member of the Solem Quartet I have performed internationally and in the UK, maintaining a busy concert schedule throughout the UK. I have never lost interest in any style of music and continue to be inspired by folk music and the joys of learning by ear, while also occasionally playing Bass Guitar in a rock band at private parties!
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
Yes. I have 3 seperate DBS's with the RNCM, Yorkshire Young Musicians, and Sefton Music Service.
- Where and with whom did you train?
2013-2014 Garth Knox - International Tutor in Viola, RNCM
2009-2013 Louise Lansdown - Head of strings at Birmingham Conservatoire (RNCM)
2008-2009 Alex Robertson (RNCM/Manchester University)
2001-2008 Mike Gerrard - Principle Viola of Northern Sinfonia (The Sage Gateshead)
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
University of Leeds
Sefton Music Service
Yorkshire Young Musicians
- Tell me about some of your current students.
I have a variety of students who are happily learning in completely tailor-made ways. Some of my students prefer to focus on more technical aspects of playing, analysing their arm and finger movements to meticulous levels, while using repertoire (sometimes composed by me!) to solidify each aspect. This method is often pursued with a view to invest learning the basics of playing the instrument first, and then 'jump' into repertoire at an intermediate/advanced level. Other students are enjoying learning styles that they are particularly interested in - I currently have a student who is learning some arrangements of Jimi Hendrix songs that I have made! All of my students enjoy playing duets too, an essential part of playing with good intonation and rhythm - and, of course it is extremely satisfying to play something together!
• MusB Manchester University (1st)
• MMus and PgDip, RNCM
• 3 DBS certs with RNCM, YYM and Sefton Music Service
Alistair has been teaching Ruth (age 11) for about 18 months. He explains things clearly, gives her lots of tips and makes the lessons enjoyable. As a result, her playing has improved and she has passed both her grade 1 & grade 2 and is now working towards grade 3.
Alistair is a wonderful violin teacher. He tutored me from complete beginner to ABRSM Grade 1. Throughout the time I worked with Alistair, I found him highly knowledgeable, insightful and resourceful. He was constantly encouraging and was able to identify and to help me resolve any difficulties which arose along the way. His patience and good humour ensured that our lessons together were always fun. I would unreservedly recommend Alistair to any potential student.
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