Lisa-Marie and the team at Mayzmusik Performing Arts Academy opened their doors back in 2000. Located in Abergavenny (South Wales), the centre of excellence for Performing Arts currently uses Rockschool Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Drums and Bass to support their music education programmes.

Promoted to Principal in 2019, the company website labels Lisa-Marie "Our most multi-talented tutor". That's not surprising to read, given she is listed as a specialist educator in Woodwind, Guitar, Bass, GCSE and A-Level Music, and a range of performance and dance disciplines!

"I find successes in the little things, as well as the huge achievements. The first "ah-ha" moment is just as rewarding as helping student go on to study at a high level, or work as a professional musician."

How long have you been using Rockschool, and why has it worked for you?

We've been teaching the Rockschool syllabi since we opened in 2000. We've stuck with them ever since, but now that the grades include songs from so many well known artists, we've found that more students are interested in studying Rockschool than ever before. As teachers, we're always satisfied with the material across all of the instruments we teach because each book provides an ideal balance between the development of fundamental techniques and performance skills.

Mayzmusik students perform at a show

What’s your favourite performance piece to teach, and how does it improve your learners?

For me, it's got to be 'All Funked Up', the classic Rockschool composition for Grade 5, Bass. I really enjoy getting to teach the popping & slapping techniques that are included in this piece in particular. For anyone learning the bass, these techniques are something students are either really looking forward to learning, or are completely unaware of and find themselves really wrapped up in for the first time. Either way, it's all good fun. 'Best of You' from Rockschool Acoustic, Grade 3 is another favourite with me and my students. It provides a great opportunity to teach unbalanced strumming techniques - plus, it's a great song!

Bassist, Neil Bartlett, performs 'All Funked Up' for his YouTube channel

What’s your favourite test to teach, and why is it important for your learners?

They all have have equal merit. I guess it depends on the student and what they want to achieve. Sight Reading is a perfect exercise to instil into those less-disciplined students who can really profit from learning how to practise with structure. Getting them to a point where they can read exactly what is on the page as they're playing is a great achievement for both student and teacher. It's a skill that many highly regarded musicians can't even claim! Improv is another extremely useful skill - especially for those students who have an extreme fear of empty bars! Teaching them rhythmically, one pitch at a time, that filling that space isn't as daunting as they once thought can be extremely rewarding. This particularly applies to those students who have come to popular music after being classically trained.

What’s your favourite learner success story?

I find successes in the little things, as well as the huge achievements. The first "ah-ha" moment is just as rewarding as helping student go on to study at a high level, or work as a professional musician.

Lisa-Marie and a group of students smile for a Christmas selfie!

What musician(s) inspired you to start playing, and why?

Honestly, my dad. Both my parents are musicians and I grew up in studios with pianos and guitars everywhere! I'm pretty sure I could read music before I could read English - which actually made teaching a little difficult at first, as I have no memory of the learning process. I guess it was inevitable that the children of two musicians would follow in their parents' footsteps!

A big thank you to Lisa-Marie and the entire Mayzmusik team. For all inquiries into how you can learn with Rockschool Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Drums or Bass in the Abergavenny region, just click on the logo below to get started!

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