Hannah Fieldhouse has been teaching guitar, bass and Ukulele for over 10 years alongside her commitment to Midlands metal band, Winter Storm (lead guitar/lead vocals). Hannah personally delivers Skype lessons as well as working for arts and music education charity, Severn Music, based in Worcestershire.
We caught up with Hannah to discuss music education, her favourite elements of the Rockschool material and her goals for the future.
“Every student should have the option to learn music – for their well-being as well as a means to develop a new skill.”
Can you give us a brief explanation of your teaching operation?
I have been teaching for over a decade, and currently teach over 100 children guitar and ukulele in primary schools across Worcestershire. Outside of school I teach students privately, and regularly enter students for Rockschool graded exams through RSL. I hold a BA (Hons) in Music and PGCE in Post Compulsory Education, and have been performing in bands for fifteen years. Currently, I front UK based band Winter Storm (Melodic/Symphonic/Prog Metal) in which I play lead guitars/sing and we have just released our third album Relapse In Time.
Hannah also performs with metal-band, Winter Storm (Lead Vocals/Lead Guitar)
How long have you been using Rockschool, and why has it worked for you?
Rockschool has been an aid for my own playing for over 15 years. Ever since gaining my Grade 8 in Rockschool Guitar, I have been running instrumental tuition, both privately and in schools. It was a no-brainer once I saw how much my students enjoyed the variety of styles and genres within each grade book. It helps your students achieve exactly what they need to at each stage of their development as young musicians, so I’ve continued to use it year after year.
Hannah performs Rockschool’s ‘Meet Darth Ear’ on her Vimeo channel
What’s your favourite performance piece to teach, and how does it improve your learners?
That’s a tricky one! My ukulele students are especially enjoying ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons at the moment, as well as ‘Another Dime’ from the Rockschool Electric Guitar Debut syllabus. It really depends on the student, which is great because the variety made available to students means that they can learn the fundamental techniques associated with their instrument by connecting with music that speaks to them.
What’s your favourite Rockschool Supporting Test to teach, and why is it important for your learners?
I believe that sight reading is really valuable as it teaches students to play in time, as well as learn note values – which is really going to help them in the future. It encompasses several musical skills, which is excellent when considering the support needed to be as well rounded a musician as you can be. The option for Improvisation & Interpretation is a great option for the more advanced learners (as well as being a lot of fun). Students can develop their scale knowledge as well as embellishments such as slides, hammer ons, pull offs, vibrato etc. This is where they really start to express themselves and define what kind of player they want to be, which is exciting for them.
What’s your favourite learner success story?
There have been several. It’s always a great experience when your school students work really hard and achieve so much in a short amount of time. I had two Grade 1 students both getting over 90% on their exams recently, and that’s always really rewarding. Some of my students have gone on to join their own professional bands and become working musicians, which is what I will always be most proud of given how much work you’ve seen them put it to finally get their career started.
What musician(s) inspired you to start playing, and why?
There have been quite a few! When I first started it was Eva Cassidy, but as I started to get more into Metal and Rock I was largely inspired by Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Troy Stetina, Jennifer Batten and Guthrie Govan. I love listening to players like Django Reindhart, Andy McKee and Michael Romeo too – there’s just so many amazing musicians to be inspired by as a guitarist, it’s hard to list them all!
Django in New York, 1946. You can find ‘Minor Swing’ on the new Rockschool Acoustic Guitar Syllabus
Do you have any favourite personal experiences as a musician?
With Winter Storm we’ve been lucky to be a part of some incredible tour supports, performing alongside bands like Delain, Sirenia, The Birthday Massacre, Alestorm, Theatres Des Vampires, Leaves’ Eyes, and Stream of Passion (to name a few). For me, a huge highlight has been getting to perform at festivals such as Bloodstock Open Air, Wizzfest, HRH Metal and Hammerfest. I feel really fortunate to be able to integrate teaching and performing into my life as I’m rewarded in so many different ways.
Do you have any goals for the future of your teaching business?
I’m going to keep expanding my tuition into more schools, hopefully bringing as much new, inspiring knowledge to children as possible. Every student should have the option to learn music – for their well-being as well as a means to develop a new skill – I’ve seen up-close the positive effect it has on their confidence, creativity, and overall academic performance.
What reasons would you give to encourage young musicians to teach others?
The students learning will always be rewarding, but it’s all the things you learn on a personal level that make teaching so special.
That’s it for this weeks instalment of Rockschool Stories. We’d like to thank Hannah for her time and wish her all the best, both on the stage and in the classroom!
For further info about Severn Arts Education Charity: