I am a fully qualified teacher in the Chippenham area, specialising in violin and viola from beginner to advanced level, incorporating music theory. My pupils attain a very high success rate in graded exams, often achieving merit or distinction marks.
I am widely recognised as an excellent teacher, with over 30 years’ teaching experience, mainly with the highly-regarded Wiltshire Music Service (closed in 2015), which included regular formal assessment of my teaching performance.
I have wide experience in First Access (formerly Wider Opportunities) whole-class teaching of violin, cello and recorder.
I also have many years’ experience as a musical director / conductor of youth ensembles (junior and intermediate strings) including regular concerts at the Wiltshire Music Centre. My groups have achieved successes in National Festivals of Music for Youth. I have tutored advanced level ensembles and chamber groups.
As a Wiltshire Music Service teacher and ESTA member I have benefited from regular continuing professional development to ensure my teaching skills are maintained, updated and refreshed with new ideas and approaches. One example was training received on an ESTA course in 2012 which inspired me to adopt a whole new approach to teaching large groups and which I was also able to share with my Wiltshire Music Service colleagues. I have attended ESTA summer schools each year since becoming self-employed.
Throughout my career I have maintained my own playing to a high standard in local music groups. I am principal viola in Bath Symphony Orchestra; regularly leader of Vallis Chamber Orchestra; section leader in Bath Concertino; frequently invited to play (violin or viola) for other local orchestras, choral societies and musical shows.
BA (Hons) Music Education;
LGSM: diploma in violin playing/teaching (Guildhall School of Music and Drama);
Member of Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).
Member of European String Teachers Association (ESTA).
What I / we help young people achieve
Research has shown* a wide range of benefits to children from learning music:
• Active engagement with music has a significant impact on brain structure and function.
• Those who have had musical training demonstrate enhanced speech perception on a wide range of different tasks and have advantages in other language related skills.
• Children with musical training have significantly better verbal learning and retention abilities.
• Music intervention studies with young children have found enhanced creativity; the greater the engagement with music the stronger the relationship.
• Cohesion in classes in schools can be enhanced through extending music making activities leading to better social adjustment and more positive attitudes. These effects seem to be particularly marked for low ability, disaffected pupils.
• Collective music making supports co-operation, pro-social behaviour, belongingness, relationships, collaborative learning, social advancement, group identity, solidarity, taking turns, teamwork and helping others.
• Musical activities can lead to a sense of accomplishment, enhanced determination and persistence and of children being better able to cope with anger and express their emotions more effectively. There are also reported benefits in terms of discipline, time management, relaxation, coping with difficulties, communication, and the ability to work with others.
*Quotations taken from The Power of Music - a research synthesis of the impact of actively making music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. Susan Hallam, 2015
Video clip of a concert by massed junior strings groups, Spring 2014 (including two of the groups that I directed – Chippenham Junior Strings and Minety Junior Strings): http://www.wiltshireyoungmusicians.org.uk/
Opportunities for children & young people
- To learn to play an instrument and / or develop skills on an instrument
- To play, perform music with others
- To learn things about oneself , other subjects or life-skills through musical activity
- To work with and support other young musicians
- Term Time
- After School
Working with special needs
Experienced teaching pupils with dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, hearing impairment, visual impairment.
- Music Theory
- Musical Director / Conductor
Qualifications, Grades & Certificates Taught
- Instrument grades
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
Musical Clusters Covered
Nominated for award in Outstanding Contribution to Music Education (Wiltshire Music Education Awards, July 2020).
From Helen Dawes, parent of two pupils, July 2015:
“I have appreciated Mrs Tyson’s skill and judgement as a teacher, which has been visible in the children’s progress, the different pieces they have played, and their comments about lessons. Seeing how the children have progressed and hearing them talk about their lessons with Mrs Tyson has increased my appreciation of what a highly skilled job teaching children an instrument is. We have appreciated Mrs Tyson’s experience and judgement enormously. She has always known when it was the right time to enter our children for their next exams so that they would be ready but not bored. She has also guided them through the necessary developments in technique as they moved up from one grade to the next. As a result, the children have made good progress through grades without it ever feeling as if they were on an exam conveyor belt. Both children enjoy their lessons and (with the normal hiccups) enjoy playing the violin.
A family move means we will no longer have Mrs Tyson as our children’s violin teacher. Our first thought in looking for a new teacher was that we should find someone like Mrs Tyson.”
From a primary school music coordinator, Chippenham, March 2015:
“[Mrs Tyson’s] approach has been very successful with pupils making rapid progress in learning an instrument but also embedding higher level musical skills alongside. This has had a positive impact for general music teaching in school.
Due to Mrs Tyson’s commitment and enthusiasm there are a good number of children taking up the violin at the School with several continuing the instrument on transfer to secondary school. Mrs Tyson has always been dedicated to the wider musical life of the school.”
Extract from formal lesson observation by line manager, 2014:
“Progress is significant and expectations from you were high, with all pupils on task through the full 50 minutes. They clearly understand what is expected of them.” (group of 19 pupils, year 4)
I was rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘excellent’ in all lesson observations in the last five years.
From Valerie Hayward, former Head of Wiltshire Music Service, following visit by Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham, to see First Access (Wider Opportunities), 2011:
“You did an amazing job. It was slick, professional, musical and fun. The children were great. They gave it 100%. Duncan Hames was very impressed with the music and he commented on how well the children concentrated and how well they behaved.
… he is now well briefed about the quality of Wider Opportunities and the effect it can have on children and schools. … [The Head] pointed out that there were two children on the autistic spectrum playing the violin in the assembly.”
My Training & Development
Recent training/ CPD:
PREVENT Awareness training – Frogwell School, April 2016.
ESTA Folk and Rock String Workshop with Chris Haigh: jointly organised with a colleague, and participated – Devizes, March 2016.
Superorchestra day – workshop and performance with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, July 2016.
First aid: Emergency First Aid for Appointed Persons course, July 2017.
ESTA Summer Schools: Cheltenham, August 2015; Chichester University, August 2016, 2017, 2018.
Child Protection online training, August 2018.
Wiltshire Music Connect training events including dyslexia seminar (October 2018); Mental Health and Well-being in the Music Teaching Environment (Nov 2018); networking events re online teaching (during Covid lockdown, Spring-Summer 2020); Preparing for a Different Normal (re teaching in the Covid era – June, July 2020).
Music Expo (London, Feb 2020).
ESTA webinars re online teaching (during Covid lockdown, Spring-Summer 2020).