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About Henry M.
Henry is a pianist, composer, and researcher who works internationally in many kinds of music-making. Henry is passionate that anyone can be a musician, and that there are as many ways of making music as there are people. As a teacher, he has experience working with learners of all ages and abilities, including those with additional needs, and is always happy to share his love of music with others. His teaching method balances the need for students to acquire and develop techniques of playing and composing, with the importance of enjoyment, and an encouragement for students to find their own personal relationship with music as an expressive art form. He offers teaching in Piano and Keyboard, Composition, Music Theory, and Singing. He trained in composition and piano through Masters level, and is now doing a PhD in music.
Teaching in Piano/Keyboard/Singing
• Piano/Keyboard: Absolute beginner to advanced (eg. Undergraduate) level
• Singing: Absolute beginner to Grade 8
• All ages and abilities welcome
• Graded exams offered through ABRSM (but no obligation to take grades!)
• Blended learning for those unfamiliar with notation
• Arranging music for students to learn
• Offering Improvisation
A bit more info:
Henry believes that the best learning comes through working on pieces which the student enjoys. He will always work closely with students to choose music which interests them, and encourages students to bring new things into the classroom! Henry also will make bespoke arrangements of pieces of music for students, especially when sheet-music is hard to find.
For students who struggle with reading music, Henry will work on a blended method of learning, encouraging the use and development of aural skills, memory training, and alternative forms of written music.
If the student is interested in improvisation, Henry will encourage them to explore the instrument through spontaneous playing. He might use non-traditional scores (graphics, pictures), structured exercises, “free” playing and jamming, to allow the student to get to the know instrument intimately. He believes that improvisation is a wonderful way to learn what an instrument can do (and in improv, there’s no “wrong” way to play!).
Teaching in Composition
• Absolute beginner to advanced (eg. Undergraduate) level
• Fostering student creativity and personal voice
• Use of alternative writing methods (non-notated composition)
• Guidance on careers and professional composition
A bit more info:
As someone who works professionally as a composer, Henry knows that composition can mean lots of different things; but at its heart it simply means making your own music. Henry will work closely with the student to develop a unique teaching plan which will help them explore their own creativity. He will discuss the student’s experience, and talk about the way that they want to create. He will introduce them to various ways of “writing”, which may not always include western notation, as music can be written in a number of different ways. Depending on experience, he may encourage students to write short pieces for lessons, or work on a larger piece over a longer period of time. He will also encourage students to think about collaboration and working with others.
For absolute beginners, lessons will also include discussion of some key elements of western Music Theory, as well as the use of graphic scores and improvisation as compositional tools.
For students working towards university or conservatoire entrance, lessons will include: contemporary and extended compositional techniques, history of European composition, guidance on score-presentation, introduction to various instruments and their families, discussion of professionalism and rehearsal etiquette.
Henry also offers coaching on use of Sibelius notation software.
Teaching in Music Theory
• Absolute beginner to advanced level
• Student-centred learning: no experience required
• Making theory relevant: combining theory with instruments
• Blended learning method using audio-visual
• European Music Theory in global context
A bit more info:
Learning theory can feel like a real challenge. There are lots of unusual words and terms to remember, and sometimes it can seem like it has no relation to playing an instrument at all. But it can also really help students to understand how the music that they love to play is written, and even why instruments are built the way they are. Theory can be a tool that can help you understand how music works on the inside.
Teaching theory, Henry uses drawing, singing, and moving to illustrate key concepts. He also maintains it is very important to discuss theory in global context, and will always talk with the student about other forms of music making outside the European tradition.
Lessons working towards graded exams will include: aural and memory skills, transcription, instrument identification by ear, history of European classical music, clefs and notation, etc. For grade 6 onwards, it will also include discussion of: figured bass, chorale and counterpoint writing.
Henry trained in classical music, but grew up also playing jazz, show-tunes and pop-songs. He teaches all genres, specialising in classical music and improvisation. (He’s also a big fan of movie soundtracks and video-game music!)
A first lesson will always start with some informal chatting. Henry will invite the new student to talk a bit about themselves if they want to, why they want to learn, and if they have any experience. If the student just wants to play for a bit, to show what they’re working on, this is very welcome too. The student can also ask any questions they like about the teacher, and talk about any needs they might have. Henry will then talk a little about warming up and show some simple exercises. The rest of the lesson will depend on the kind of work the student wants to do – this might be learning pieces, improvising, or thinking about music theory. At the end of the lesson, there will be a short chat about how the student is feeling, then Henry will make a joint plan with the student for upcoming lessons. Feedback is always encouraged, and Henry welcomes dialogue with students to find a teaching method which works best for them.
Anyone can learn to play and write music, and beginners of all ages are very welcome in Henry’s classroom. Whether you’re curious about music, have been self-teaching and want some help, or just want to try something new, there is always a way we can work together! Starting an instrument can be daunting, but can also open a world of possibilities, no matter your age or experience.