Teaching and Creative Initiatives
Interested in playing the piano? Child or adult, beginner, improver, or diploma candidate, I believe I have something to offer you!
If you'd like to enquire about having piano lessons, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoy teaching, and try to find a good balance between addressing the basics – notation, technique, style – and giving you a more rounded experience of music (one which is often missed through too much attention to exams). For example, you’ll find that I encourage you to compose as well as to play. Why? Because learning to compose is not only a good thing in itself: it’s also the best way to learn about music theory, and the best way to understand why theory matters. Of course, the emphasis is still on playing – a lesson goes quickly, and most of that time will be spent getting your fingers and your brain to work together as you engage with the keyboard in front of you!
I have a number of composition students – mostly adults – and would welcome further applications.
Having worked in this area for over twenty years, I hold a passionate belief in the value of ‘lifelong learning’, as it’s sometimes called. The task of providing people with the means to learn, and to engage with personal development and fulfilment, is both humbling and rewarding.
Current work involves teaching short courses around the south-east (e.g. courses on opera for Rottingdean Whiteway Centre: www.rwc.org.uk). While working at the University of Sussex I administered and taught two part-time BA programmes in Creative Studies. Here, too, teaching, composing and performing were all involved, along with a more philosophical approach to the nature of creativity and the way it expresses itself in society.
In 2001, I received an Award for Excellence in Teaching. The nomination was supported by students, whose comments included the following:
I am deeply indebted to Julian’s teaching and encouragement for the enrichment of my life [. . .]
Music is, I believe, uniquely challenging to teach well [. . .]. I appreciate the fact that Julian never seems to stop thinking about how to teach it better – and the fact that he is demonstrably an outstanding all-round musician makes his teaching yet more inspiring, and indeed more valuable, to me.
Julian is a most inspiring teacher. I know many people who have come to make music an important part of their lives through his influence. His knowledge of his subject is profound and wide ranging and his communication is always clear, detailed or concise where appropriate, and often entertaining.
He builds a rapport with his students giving the feeling that we are on a journey together. While never authoritarian or dogmatic he inspires deep respect.
To enquire about possible creative contributions to your adult education initiatives, please email me at email@example.com
Breaking down the barriers: creative initiatives
It must be obvious by now that I like to mix things up a bit: music for me is not the pursuit of a single area, such as composition, but a question of engaging all its branches in a fruitful dialogue (a metaphor which makes one think of orchards in a light breeze. . .). For example, as conductor of the Sussex Philharmonic Chorus, I created livelier, broader programmes by introducing a ‘featured living composer’ scheme, and by including orchestral and chamber music in our concerts.
But I also like music to engage with the other arts in new and enriching ways. While working at the University of Sussex, I devised a number of new artistic initiatives designed to bring people together across the usual divides, both within the University and beyond. In 2008 I set up a series of lunchtime events under the heading ‘Arts and Minds’, which brought together visual art, music, and readings of poetry and fiction. These were generally followed by discussion – all part of an attempt to enliven the arts ‘scene’ on campus.
Also in 2008 I conceived and, with my colleague and friend River Jones, implemented the first ‘Sounding the Site’, a day-long arts event involving parts of the campus not normally used for such things.
The first ‘Sounding the Site’ featured 6 installations involving word, music and image inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. Creative partners came from within and beyond the University, and so did the audience as it toured the installations with the help of a group of schoolchildren. Later ‘Soundings’ included ‘Ark!’, and ‘Root and Branch’. For each occasion I wrote and performed new music in collaboration with poets (Kim Lasky, Abi Curtis, Peter Abbs), artists (Christopher McHugh), and fellow composers (Epa Fassianos).
I believe this creative approach to working with people and places can be transferred to any institution (including businesses), and I would be pleased to offer suggestions to anyone whose imagination has been caught by the idea. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org