After using Rockschool's guitar books to improve her own playing, Roz Bruce continued to use Rockschool Electric Guitar since she began teaching in 2009. Since the release of the new Rockschool Acoustic Guitar syllabus, Roz has also taken to incorporating this material into her lessons, which have been adapted for both individual and group learning.

"It's important to me to be a part of the community I'm in and to encourage budding musicians of all ages and different walks of life."

Can you give us a brief explanation of your teaching business? Include any achievements you’d like to highlight.

I've been teaching private and group guitar lessons for a number of years now. Many of my lessons use Rockschool materials quite heavily, and many of my students have achieved their Rockschool grades in electric and – more recently – acoustic guitar. It's always an amazing feeling when a student does well in their graded examinations, but it's an even better feeling when they enjoy the whole process. It always helps when there are so many songs that the students love to play at each grade!

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

I've used Rockschool since I started teaching in 2009. I actually used the Rockschool syllabus to improve my own playing before I began teaching by gaining some grades. I've always appreciated the effort it takes to keep things up to date and fun for instrumental learners, whilst also ensuring that the foundational skills are imbedded along the way. I will always enjoy to play, and teach, the 'Rockschool Originals' – but the benchmarked versions of real songs that you find in the latest releases are a better way to engage learners, in my opinion.

Rockschool Acoustic Guitar ALL Grades Double trouble: Rockschool's full suite of grades for electric and acoustic guitar features tracks from some of the most iconic artists of all time

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

I really enjoy teaching a lot of the well known tracks that feature on the latest Rockschool Guitar syllabus, but I especially love the Metallica songs. If I had to choose my absolute favourite though, it would have to be 'Bonecrusher' from grade 2. It's so much fun to play and it always ends up in my head! my students always absolutely love it, too. Even those who aren't particularly into heavy metal end up getting a lot out of learning it.

Bonecrusher! Roz's favourite tracks is the metal-themed Rockschool Original for grade 2, electric guitar (Credit: Rupdeep Paul)

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

I really enjoy teaching improvisation. Personally, I think it's the most important skill to get a good grasp of early on, particularly if you want to be able to solo effectively on the electric guitar. If you're a lead guitarist in a band, you're going to find yourself improvising a lot and you'll need to get comfortable with being able to trust yourself in that situation. I like to take a creative approach to teaching improvisation, inspired by composer and pianist Christopher Norton. His approach heavily focuses on taking what the student is already confident with and working with it as a foundation to develop their own technique. It works well and it's always a very musical, practical challenge.


What’s your favourite learner success story?

Outside of students passing their exams, seeing students go on to be in their own bands is always really great. I have an ex-students who has gone onto play in her own death metal band, which is great. I'm really happy for her, but smaller successes also delight me. Witnessing a young teenager practise diligently until they develop the bravery to get on stage and play will always make me beam with joy.

Festive fun! Roz's students, Hazel and Violet, play at a Christmas Concert in 2018

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

I fell in love with Jimi Hendrix at a very early age. His creativity and the obvious love he had for his guitar was, and still is, really inspiring. I like to get my guitar and treat it as Hendrix treated his: with wonder and fearlessness. If you were to study one guitarist, it would have to be Jimi.

Favourite Jimi track?

I can't choose a favourite Hendrix song, but I adore the entire 'Electric Ladyland' album. I actually listened to it about 3 times this weekend – it never gets old!

CLassic: footage of the Jimi Hendrix Hendrix Experience playing 'Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)' Live in Stockholm, Sweden in 1969

Do you have any favourite personal experiences as a musician?

We've played some really cool gigs in our band. Some support slots we've had have been particularly enjoyable. These have included playing with Gong, The Blockheads, Focus and Arthur Brown. Playing these bigger gigs is always an experience and meeting the artists is also really cool.

Do you have any goals for the future of your teaching business?

I have recently moved base from Derby to Nottingham, so my goal is to develop my teaching business here and gain a good reputation. It's important to me to be a part of the community I'm in and to encourage budding musicians of all ages and different walks of life.

What reasons would you give to encourage young musicians to teach others?

Teaching others always puts you in a good mood. Every time you share what you've learnt and make someone smile, you will smile yourself. It's a fulfilling job and it feeds your soul, just get yourself out there and you'll begin to improve after every lesson you take.

A big thank you to Roz for taking the time to speak to us. If you'd like to inquire into how you can learn with Rockschool Electric Guitar and/or Acoustic Guitar in the Nottingham area, you click on the image below to get started now!

You can also contact Roz via her own website:

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