I am appraised as an “Outstanding” and “Excellent” teacher. I am a specialist flute and woodwind teacher with over 17 years of experience delivering individual, small group, large group and whole class instrumental tuition. An Associate Provider for Wiltshire Music Connect, my teaching portfolio includes delivering specialist flute teaching in senior schools, conducting flute ensembles both small and large, general woodwind in primary schools, Music Time after school clubs to Years 1 and 2, and coaching young musicians as part of the Bath and North East Somerset’s Saturday Morning Centre.
I earned my degree at Sheffield University where I took modules in educational psychology of music, and performance to prepare her for a career in teaching and performing music. Peter Lloyd invited me to attend his undergraduate and postgraduate flute classes at The Royal Northern College of Music, and study flute with him during my second and third year at Sheffield University. Upon graduation I gained over a years’ experience in music coaching at Wells Cathedral School’s Specialist Music Department where I worked with specialist music pupils ranging from primary school age through to sixth form. Since that time I have developed a busy teaching portfolio.
My passion for teaching is matched by my passion for performing. I am a professional flautist who freelances around the South West. I am a member of the New Bristol Sinfonia where I occupy the piccolo chair. Other notable performances with ensembles in the South West include Bath Light Opera Group, The Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra, and the Bristol Ensemble.
What I / we help young people achieve
My teaching is consistently appraised by Bath and North East Somerset Music Service and by Wiltshire Music Service as “Outstanding” and “Excellent” across a range of Teaching and Learning criteria. Pupils thrive making exceptionally good progress in a high quality, independent learning environment. The appraisals highlight a very high level of subject understanding in music theory and performance and that modelling comes from a “clearly inspirational musician”.
My teaching mission is to provide every pupil with the skills and techniques to play the instrument, learn to read notation, develop aural skills, improvise, explore their own expression and ultimately realise their musical voice creatively and expressively. My teaching method combines the ideologies of Dalcroze, James Froseth, and Paul Harris’ Simultaneous Teaching approach with over 17 years of high quality CPD training. It is in constant evolution.
Music Time Club specifically focuses on developing skills in pulse, rhythm and pitch through musical games and practical activities on percussion instruments, recorders and using the voice. These skills are first taught aurally and developed through to reading notation. The longer term goal is to move pupils onto a recorder and then introduce the family of musical instruments.
Successful independent learning is a high priority, therefore the atmosphere in lessons is often relaxed and friendly but with a clear goal of moving each pupil’s achievements forwards from the previous lesson. I adapt my teaching style to the pupil’s learning style. Where learning is taking place in larger groups I adopt an approach which stimulates visual, aural and kinaesthetic learning. Pupils in smaller and larger groups are on task throughout the lesson whether working in ensemble or working solo. Examinations are used to mark each pupil’s progress in instrumental ability and expression.
Opportunities for children & young people
- To learn to play an instrument and / or develop skills on an instrument
- To learn to sing
- To create / write music and / or lyrics
- 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
I have taught a deaf primary school child to play the flute and pass Grade 1.
- Music Theory
- Musical Director / Conductor
Qualifications, Grades & Certificates Taught
- Instrument grades
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
Musical Clusters Covered
- B-on-A / Corsham
- Calne & Melksham
- Trowbridge (CSL)
“Mrs Holden has taught me the flute for around 4 years now and she is such a friendly, encouraging teacher who pushes me to achieve my very best. She is someone who understands your true potential, and is as much involved in my music as I am. I am currently working toward my grade seven, which is a position I never thought I would be in, but I feel excited and ready for the challenge with Sophie teaching me”
“Sophie’s teaching style is incomparable, far surpassing the clarinet teachers I had at university. She has a natural teaching style with a highly motivating and encouraging approach. My lessons were always challenging and creative which kept things interesting and made me want to progress further. Sophie always had a way of making me play with panache, expression and creativity, whilst ensuring I was technically accurate and mastered the instrument. If I struggled to grasp a technique she always offered a different teaching approach or handy tool to help me with a difficult passage, which encouraged me to ‘think outside the box’ when developing my skills. She was patient, professional and a very fun teacher to have for nearly ten years.
Sophie is a very experienced teacher who clearly loves both teaching and performing. Her lessons gave me the confidence to perform in front of huge audiences and have made me a confident and self-assured individual, who always strives to do the best I can.”
“The pupil learned a great amount about music with her flute, body and voice. She developed superb aural and theory skills through the music she played. Pulse and dotted rhythms were attacked from many angles to maintain the interest in learning, these were clearly a focus of the lesson and the pupil was aware of her own progress.”
“Use of questioning was a particular strength; the pupil must always find the answer and was never simply told with no explanation of how to find this out for herself. You were enabling the pupil with the skills she needs for independent learning and practice. Modelling was used from a clearly inspirational musician…”
(Wiltshire Music Service – 06/07/2010)
“Regular evidence of high quality independent learning took place in all lessons.”
“Your use of language in both lessons was simply outstanding. The questioning was always completely appropriate. The weighting of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questioning in both lessons was absolutely right – well done. This was a real strength in your teaching – bravo!”
“Your ability to differentiate the teaching and learning, reacting to the pupils’ verbal response or playing, was very impressive”
“You demonstrated a very high level of subject understanding, not least in the way that you were able to adapt your teaching style to maximise the learning that took place in each lesson (showing a true understanding of your pupils’ individual learning styles).”
“Pupils were required to use more than one assessment procedure at various times during the lesson (pupils showed evidence of self-assessment and an understanding of how to use teacher-assessment profitably).”
(Bath and North East Somerset Music Service 12/09/2011)
“Both pupils noticeably improved during their lessons, and showed clearly that they understood what you wanted them to do”
“Different parts of the lessons were well linked together and there was a definite thread running through the lessons.”
(Bath and North East Somerset Music Service – 03/05/2012)
My Training & Development
I regularly undertake training as part of the Bath and North East Somerset Music Service, which requires a minimum of three days attendance per academic year.
AS a member of ISM I have access to Webinars from leading members of the profession.