Wiltshire Music School Limited
Type Of Organisation: Working with individual artists
Wiltshire Music School Limited, trading as Slater Music School (SMS)
Stuart Slater began the school as a local community project for local children and young people. It has developed into a sizeable music provision and ongoing progress, results and learning outcomes are strong.
The underlying core of the business is a desire to help children become musicians and help musicians of all ages progress to their potential.
The predominance of SMS students are children/young people aged 5-18.
– Established in 2003, SMS provides multi-disciplinary instrument tuition in Drums, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Theory and run band Development / Rock Clubs for groups.
– Structured learning is provided for young learners both privately and in 7 schools across Wiltshire.
– Private teaching takes place at St Johns Academy Marlborough (music department) via rental arrangements after school hours Mon-Fri and during school holidays.
– With 6 teachers, SMS teach c.200 students, typically 20/30mins weekly (in schools) up to 90 mins weekly (private). Lessons are one-to-one, in pairs and/or in small groups.
– 400+ students have been taught to date, the vast majority children and young people. (Beginner to Grade 8)
– Preparation and tuition for Rockschool Professional Performance / Teaching Diplomas is available to those students who have achieved their Grade 8 or equivalent. This includes young learners.
– SMS have a 100% exam pass rate using Rockschool Music Board.
– Duke of Edinburgh programmes are available (30 students to date) and each year in the last three years, we have taken students for work placement from St John’s. (Y10 work placement week).
– Wider opportunities are also given to young musicians to become involved in teaching and the running of the school, e.g. to assist their studies or applications to college.
– Such initiatives have assisted the recruitment of new Assistants, targeted at 16-18 year olds, including previous work placement students. Such assistants are targeted to help with rock clubs / band development, new online products, new online video series, and potentially some instrument tuition to younger children.
– The following link contains the biography of the teachers, https://www.slatermusicschool.uk/meet-the-teachers
– All are performing musicians throughout the UK and in some cases internationally, qualified to higher education level. Teacher training is given both internally within the school and formally through Rockschool, interlinked through Stuart’s close involvement in both. (See below). All teachers are experienced in working with and helping young musicians.
– Sean Carter in particular is ex-Swindon Music Service with strong experience of providing music tuition / workshops to young people of all ages before joining SMS in 2013. This included numerous schools and was based at the Platform in Swindon.
– In addition, all teachers have worked in different areas of the music business, from studio and session work, live work, touring, judging music and talent competitions across the UK, as well as a clear academic bias / background, authorship and a notable music exam specialism as below.
As founder and owner, Stuart’s background is contemporary music performance, education, music examining, music consultancy and syllabus writing.
Senior Examiner (Music board: Rockschool Ltd www.rslawards.com),
– UK and worldwide examining Grades 1-8 in drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, guitar, bass, piano, vocals and ukulele, plus Performance and Teaching Diplomas.
– c.10,000 exams to date, c.25 countries in Europe, South America, Canada, Middle East, Africa and Far East.
– Syllabus Advisor (2012-pres) and Deputy Chief Examiner (2015) including overseeing the London based Chief Examiner role worldwide. (Stepped down in 2016 – medical operations required)
– Writing new examining policies, procedures and guidance, managing appeals, conducting examiner recruitment, training, moderation and standardisation.
– The Senior Examiner role continues to this day, including examiner recruitment, training, standardisation and management.
Authorship / Syllabus Writing
– Co-devised Rockschool’s Theory syllabus.
– Re-wrote all Grade 7 and 8 drum pieces for Yamaha Music Board.
– Devised / wrote Rockschool’s ITDC (Intensive Teacher Diploma Course), (Inc. SEN and Children Safeguarding Learning Outcomes)
– Devised / wrote Rockschool’s Level 4 & 6 Teaching Diplomas. (Inc. SEN and Children Safeguarding Learning Outcomes)
– Co-devised / wrote Rockschool’s Level 4 & 6 Performance Diplomas
– Contributed to 30+ drum, guitar, piano, theory and vocal Rockschool Grade books plus magazine articles.
Stuart’s most recent work is a 2 day Pre-Level-4 Rockschool Diploma course for China, successfully delivered in Sep 2018. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx9eUYym7eY)
What I / we help young people achieve
- 100% exam pass rate, Entry Level 2 to Grades 1-8. (See link for all exam successes: https://www.slatermusicschool.uk/exam-roll-of-honour).
Although....children’s learning outcomes go beyond just musical progress, extending into improved wider curriculum learning, greater classroom involvement / personal confidence, enhanced self-belief and identity_.
- Young musicians recording video performance pieces for portfolio purposes, milestone accomplishment and to share with others.
- Also performing in public / community events, for example village fetes, promotion events, school events, school assemblies, end of school concerts / performances.
(The above two are to showcase children’s progress, gain live experience in controlled conditions, and afford the joy of the experience, plus peer, public and family praise / respect this brings. It is important the work of young musicians is celebrated).
- Work opportunities for students. E.g. in the last few years, three students have been taken on as teachers. (Ben is full time salaried with pension; Matt is freelance - now on sabbatical - and Joe is a trainee teacher).
(The generational cycle of students in turn teaching and helping younger learners is motivational, offers a visible pathway, and can be inspirational, as well as benefitting the recruits directly).
- SMS also work with the Scouts, deliver samba classes in school events and are currently organising the band for the St Johns production of ‘School of Rock’. (Due 2019). Numerous such initiatives are ongoing
Children and Young People as individuals
- The significance of the 'individual' is a core principle, acknowledged and applied in terms of programme setting, appropriateness of lesson tasks / methods for different learner types and personalities, and anticipated variables of progress which will be individually defined.
- Success is about progression relative to starting points. Not all children (or adults) are capable or have the opportunity to reach the highest levels in their chosen discipline. It is important to celebrate each milestone of progress, no matter how small.
In summary, SMS take pride in the achievement of young people, with high retention rates, strong progress musically, live performance settings, and wider personal development. Feedback in all these aspects from parents, students and schools alike is regularly positive.
Testimonial: “We have been working with Slater Music School since September 2014 to provide Drum and Guitar lessons. They provide an excellent service and fully understand the challenges of working in this environment”. (Head Teacher, Kennet Valley School)
Testimonial: “The thanks are all from us - we are genuinely grateful for the professionalism and dedication that you and Sarina have shown in our school” (Head Teacher, Baydon School)
Opportunities for children & young people
- To learn to play an instrument and / or develop skills on an instrument
- To create / write music and / or lyrics
- To develop recording /production skills
- 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
- To develop their wellbeing
- Term Time
- After School
- School Holidays
- Project based
Working with special needs
SMS are well placed to assist SEN learners, with sizeable experience over the years. This includes:
– Behavioural, with such learners often targeted towards SMS as part of a wider strategy to assist a child, often funded directly by a school, external funding or via Pupil Premium.
– Dyslexic and dyscalculia, with dyslexia affecting (we would estimate) 5-10% of students at any one time, a number of whom again recommended to SMS on this basis.
– Downs Syndrome, including a recent gift experience for an adult seeking (via her family) to fulfil a lifelong wish.
– Physical disability
– Asperger’s, including the particular success story of a young drummer on the taken from complete beginner to Grade 6 distinction, now studying Grade 8. His progress and success have opened up a real possibility to a future in music, plus the associated outcomes of confidence, purpose, personal development and wider learning have benefited him notably.
SEN learners receive tailored programmes based on their individual situation, with adjustments in objectives, tasks, teaching methods, resources and expectation of anticipated progress / outcomes.
Testimonial: “Fantastic teachers, kids really loved their lessons. Great with kids with special educational needs. Highly recommended” (Marlborough Parent by Facebook review)
- Guitar & Bass
- Drums / percussion
- Music Theory
- Songwriting / Composition
- Music Production
- 4 and under
Qualifications, Grades & Certificates Taught
- Instrument grades
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
Musical Clusters Covered
- Calne & Melksham
- Marlborough & Pewsey
“We have been working with Slater Music School since September 2014 to provide Drum and Guitar lessons. They provide an excellent service and fully understand the challenges of working in this environment. KAREN VENNER, HEAD TEACHER, KENNET VALLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL
“The thanks are all from us – we are genuinely grateful for the professionalism and dedication that you and Sarina have shown in our school”. CAROLINE KNIGHTON, HEAD TEACHER, BAYDON ST NICHOLAS PRIMARY SCHOOL
“We are enjoying your teaching immensely! More than happy to continue with your lessons” LISA WATKINS. PARENT
“Jonas is very much enjoying his drumming. Thank you for helping him become a musician” EDWARD DE BEUKALEAR. PARENT
“We are so delighted and would like to say a big thank you” ROS FEAKES. PARENT
“Fantastic teachers, kids really loved their lessons. Great with kids with special educational needs. Highly recommended.” MARLBOROUGH PARENT (by Facebook review)
Our Training & Development
In terms of training and development, the principal focus is in-house and external courses coupled with research based training. This is tailored to the needs of individual teachers, aligning where possible with the needs of the business:
In-house and External Courses
Sean Carter is currently studying for a degree in Professional Musicianship having already achieved his Level 4 Performance Diploma in Drums.
Ben Dumpleton is currently working towards his Level 4 Teaching Diploma.
Sarina and Paul are at the moment subject to internal CPD, with current topics including Rockschool Assessment Criteria, FCP’s, maximising marks in exams, and content of syllabus guides. This will further extend to group teaching and exploring methods of teaching stylistic outcomes and improvisational development.
Paul Mortimer-Jones has recently undertaken an online Communication Development course and is looking into an ATM Teaching Course as a possible pathway suited for him.
Joe Knights is on a personal training course internally as a trainee teacher. Initially he is working on Pre-level 4 Rockschool Teaching outcomes, with a view to his own Level 4 Teaching Diploma in 12-18 months’ time with more experience.
Assistants take personal training programmes, as appropriate to their particular function.
Stuart is planning to enrol with Berklee Online to develop some personal theory objectives over the next couple of years; wider workload and international work permitting.
All teachers have completed the online course: “NSPCC: Child protection: An Introduction: and over the next 12 months we will be making more use of MU and ISM web-based and regional CPD courses.
All teachers are also invited to internal CPD events.
Task / Research Based Training
In addition, training and develop takes place by targeted tasks and research, e.g. seeking improvements to teaching practice and resources
Paul: With a degree in Music and Production, Paul has been tasked with a feasibility study to develop Rockschool’s new Production Syllabus into the current teaching range.
Ben: has been researching / constructing a means of presenting online theory to assist learners. See https://www.slatermusicschool.uk/onlinetuition-drum-gmqs. Password ‘DONL1’. (Pilot stages…)
Joe: has been tasked with 1) Developing use of video to record learners’ performance pieces and 2) Educational online tutorial provision.
1) Learner Videos: In addition to formal grade study, video recordings are used as a means to:
– Record learner milestone achievements
– Serve as practice motivation
– Use for portfolio purposes
– For young learners to enjoy / learn from the experience of the process.
2) Educational Tutorials: Joe’s first project is being piloted to demonstrate the content of SMS’s Drum learning Materials 1, also giving Joe a direction to develop and extend into fuller teaching tutorials, e.g. techniques, improvisation workshops, stylistic devices etc.
See https://www.slatermusicschool.uk/drums-learning-materials1 Password ‘DONL1’.
Note: Drum Learning Materials 1 is one of a series, internally written as part of a starter pack given to new students. See https://www.slatermusicschool.uk/sms-seperates.
In summary, the need for training, development CPD, extension of study aids and overall investment in the teachers and product range / skill set cannot be overestimated and forms a major part of planning with budget allocation.