Jean Gibbens (B.Ed hons)

Music Teacher

I am a qualified teacher based in Churchdown, situated between Cheltenham and Gloucester, Gloucestershire. I teach the piano, keyboard, violin and flute, and up to Grade V theory of music privately to adults and children of any age and specialise in beginner to intermediate level. Nobody is too old to enjoy learning to play a musical instrument and I am happy to teach children from the age of 3.

I have a wealth of experience in helping my pupils through graded music exams with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, but I'm also quite happy to teach people who just want to play for fun.

Shinichi Suzuki

Shinichi Suzuki believed that all children have ability to learn and that their ability can be developed into a talent for playing a musical instrument given the right environment, support and encouragement. His philosophy developed from his observation that young children become experts at a very young age in speaking their mother tongue and that this is developed through listening, repeating and active encouragement and praise from their families.

Suzuki initially developed his method with the violin and this has now extended into other instruments including the flute, recorder and piano. The method is based on children listening to good quality recordings of the music they will learn. This encourages them to listen, absorb the music and model their playing on that of experts and because they know what the music sounds like they learn more quickly.

I have recently begun following the Suzuki method of teaching with the piano and flute. Suzuki's philosophy was based on his belief that very young children become experts in speaking their mother tongue through listening, constant repetition and encouragement from their parents and family and that this could be transferred into developing musical talent.

I have found that with this method pupils very quickly learn to experience success, and that they enjoy playing the music that Suzuki has written and arranged.

My own philosophy

I have taught music since my late teens and find it very rewarding to watch and hear the progress of my pupils and to see the excitement they feel in their achievements and the fun they can have.

There is such a wealth of music that there has to be something for everybody and I see no point in children or anybody, struggling to play music they don't enjoy and find difficult.

I use a wide range of music in addition to Suzuki's method to ensure that a good standard of reading is achieved and pupils experience different styles and traditions. I believe that all aspects of musical development should be taught from the beginning whatever instrument is being learnt and that it should be fun if introduced through a variety of activities and games. Even the dreaded scales, aural training and sight reading, which are an important element of exams, can be fun with the fear taken out of them.

There are so many distractions in life now, and people are so busy that unless it is fun, then all too often music practice can be squeezed out by computer, TV, sports, 101 other interests and, of course, and for teenagers the all consuming study for GCSE or A' level's.