Specialising in mastering sight reading and effective practise techniques, Howe Music Tuition's Sandra Howe has successfully implemented Rockschool's syllabuses into her tuition service.
Ever since Sandra was introduced to the Rockschool syllabus by her son, she has been using the material to teach piano and guitar to children and adults with a myriad of abilities.
We caught up with Sandra to find out how Rockschool has benefitted her teaching practice, Howe Music Tuition, and given her son Kyron a focus for his development in the world of drums.
How long have you been using Rockschool, and why has it worked for you and your students?
"I was first introduced to Rockschool by my son Kyron. He began learning drums as a way to help cope with a debilitating health condition and once he began on the Rockschool syllabus he was hooked. He played all the time."
"When I heard the syllabus I found it really fun, even the early grades were musically interesting and I started exploring the Rockschool piano syllabus. When I did, I recognised some of the pieces from my son's drum syllabus and we began playing them together."
"My husband and I now use Rockschool with our piano and guitar students at our teaching studio, Howe Music Tuition, in Chippenham."
What has been your favourite performance pieces so far?
"Our favourite piece to play together was Geek, it was a lot of fun to learn."
"Kyron's favourite piece is Mindsweeper from the Grade 6 Drum syllabus. Kyron learnt a lot about complex off-beat rhythms and the piece helped improved his break beats as well as his off-beat accented fills. He learnt about broken ride grooves using the ride surface and bell to help improve his off-beat drumming."
What’s your favourite test to teach, and how has it played an important role in the learning process?
"I enjoy the sight reading and improvisation tests and think the are important to develop both knowledge and instrumental skills to build musicianship."
"Kyron enjoyed the quick study test because it incorporated both sight reading and improvisation allowing him to put his own twist to the set piece."
What’s your favourite success story whilst using the Rockschool material?
"Kyron, my son, is my favourite success story. He suffered from a health condition that made it difficult for him to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. When he started learning drums with Tom Mallard and began on the Rockschool syllabus, the music drew him in and he could concentrate for a lot longer."
"He has studied grade after grade without a break because he enjoyed it so much. After 5 years, he is studying grade 8, he regularly plays drums in the school orchestra and jazz band. He has also begun playing piano, has started to compose music and is planning to continue his music studies at college."
How would you sum up Rockschool to someone wanting to learn music?
"Rockschool has been a lot of fun for us. Just start playing!"
If you're interested in taking part in our Rockschool Stories series, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Simply drop us an email introducing yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Rockschool Stories" as the subject header!