Before joining St James Prep, I taught violin, piano and singing across two schools in South West London. I also ran the music programme for one of those schools. I have worked in music all my career and 17 years ago I decided teaching children the building blocks of music (and the rest…) was the most important use of my time! Having begun violin aged 3 and piano at 7, music is a major part of my make-up. Prior to teaching, I worked at the Royal Academy of Music, followed by IMG Artists (a classical music agency) and then English National Opera.
Apart from Newcastle University, where I graduated with a BMus Degree in Music, I have lived in London all my life. In normal times, this city has so very much to offer in terms of musical opportunities. When my three children were much smaller I took them for free musical foyer events at the Royal Festival Hall and they used to run around happily (or just sit and watch) whilst the musicians performed live music on interesting instruments; the children absorbed the music whilst being encouraged to be small free developing youngsters. For my own part I have played in many orchestra performances as a violinist, and public events and concerts with my string quartet, and attended hundreds of concerts, gigs and operas. I have sung in choirs for 20 years and that is ongoing – even with Covid! Singing with a mask is interesting but the music goes on. I am a keen cook – my parents sent me to Leith’s as an 18yr old in case a musical salary needed complementing! During lockdown I have been pursuing my love of chess, and spending time with family and on fitness. I often make a bike lap of a local park and appreciate the open air.
What attracted you to St James?
Having been a pupil myself at St James, I knew the school had a special ethos and I felt drawn back to that. I feel grateful to St James for what they gave me and I wish to give something back. The openness and connectivity between staff, children and parents is tangible. The children display such kindness and a caring nature which is so warm to be around. In addition the school has a high reputation for singing and music making in general and I am excited about upholding that. I am so proud to hear the children singing beautifully, and really in tune, when they have only just been taught a melody. The children already have a strong musical knowledge and I look forward to building on this.
What makes a St James education stand out?
Each child is being carefully and sensitively nurtured, academically, pastorally and in all other ways. I love the mindfulness which is built into every part of every day for the children and staff. From Mr Spencer’s assemblies, to the posters on the corridor walls, to the discussions through the day, to the pausing, the mindfulness message underpins it all. This must bode well for the developing youngsters and I feel lucky to add my support.
What strikes you about St James pupils?
The children love to ask questions in my lessons and share thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Children have been quick to share which members of their family (including grandparents!) play a musical instrument and they reflect how music binds them all with something beautiful which clearly moves them. The children have a natural maturity and awareness which makes them very approachable and responsive.