Are you wanting to start lessons and don’t know how to find the right teacher?
Are your current lessons just not the right fit for you?
Do you feel unmotivated to practice?
(I have been there!)
Do you want to achieve more, perform more consistently and achieve your goals?
Do you already sing in a choir or play with an ensemble and want to improve your skills?
Did you take music lessons in school and would love to return to it or maybe it is something you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity?
I am Nikki and I teach people like you who want to achieve their goals and turn your musical dreams into reality.
It probably doesn’t shock you, that I’d love you to love music as much as I do.
Like most people, my journey hasn’t always been easy, I was painfully shy as a young child and struggled with confidence. My parents found it difficult with no real musical knowledge to find a teacher that was the right fit for me, a person who could indeed bring the best out of me and give me the confidence and skills to achieve my goals.
I know and understand that the right lessons, with the right teacher, can open the door to a whole range of musical experiences, hours of fun and a lifetime of fulfillment.
“Nikki has been teaching my son singing lessons for the past 2 and a half years and I can honestly say that she has been fantastic in every way!
Her teaching skills are incredible. She has a way of explaining things which just seems to click. My son’s voice has improved so much and many people have commented on the change. He has learned how to control his voice and extend his range in a way that would not have been possible without Nikki’s coaching. He has also gained in confidence and is really motivated to push his voice to it’s limits and learn new styles and techniques.
Nikki has a lovely manner and style of teaching. She works my son hard in a really fun way with a lot of laughter thrown in.
She is really encouraging and motivating and I can’t recommend her highly enough!”
Interested to know my story?
Music has been the biggest and best part of my life for over 35 years. The enjoyment I have had making music from those very first three notes on the recorder at primary school to today has been immeasurable.
I grew up with a lot of music, although my parents had no musical background, they loved music. Music was always playing in my house, I grew up listening to Shaft, Isaac Hayes, Earth Wind and Fire, Dr Hook with a bit of popular classical music thrown into the mix.
At Primary school I played the recorder, played tuned percussion in the school orchestra and sang in the choir and enjoyed them all thoroughly, I sang in the church folk choir and we would regularly perform at residential homes and at church social events. I was as mentioned painfully shy, I would struggle to speak to people, yet I could get up and sing or play (Strange I know!)
When I started at secondary school, a school with a strong tradition of music, I got involved with everything going! I sang in the junior choir, performed in the musicals whatever I could do and soon after this, I started taking singing lessons as well as continuing with recorder lessons.
After my first few months of singing lessons, my amazing teacher suggested I took part in my first ever music festival. I actually remember this really well. It was Skipton music festival and I sang in the Girl’s Solo class 11 years and under and the test piece was a piece called Silly Sally Sue which is composed by Havelock Nelson. I remember the feeling of being on the stage and it was scary, it almost felt like an out of body experience. Did I get a place in the class? NO! But I also remember being really pleased with myself.
I DID IT!
Over the next three years, I gained a distinction at ABRSM grade 5 and I had won several places and a pretty nice collection of silverware from many music competitions. I really was loving it. I was still plodding along with recorder but I was disappointed that I couldn’t be involved with the school orchestra.
Now here is the really strange thing.
I came home from school one day and said I’d like to drop the recorder and switch to the flute.
I don’t remember this but apparently, my mum had been saying for years “Why don’t you play the flute?” For years I kept saying “No Thanks, I don’t want to”. She always maintained that she knew that I would play the flute and it was the right instrument for me. Someone did approach her when she came to visit me and we were wandering around the shops and said she “Had the Gift”. Being as cynical as I am I just laughed, but in fairness, there were more than a couple of times that she did seem to have some crazy sixth sense thing going on, but also don’t you just hate it when your parents are right??
I loved the flute, like really loved the flute. I played it ALL the time. I’d get home from school and the first thing I’d do is get my flute out and play it. I made rapid progress and generally drove everyone at home crazy, so much so my parents actually had an extension built on the house to build a music room so my dad could watch the telly in peace!
After about a year my flute teacher left school and another lady came in. For some reason, we didn’t hit it off at all. She really didn’t seem that interested in how keen I was or that I was expressing an interest in the possibility of pursuing a career in music.
Here came the tricky bit, my parents asked around their friends to see if they knew any good flute teachers. By this stage, I was playing at a good grade 5/6 level and needed someone to really push me. I was out several times a week playing in local concert bands, orchestras, singing in choirs, heavily involved in all aspects of music at school and now also playing in the County Concert Band (I am still in contact with these friends regularly although we left the County music ensembles nearly 30 years ago!)
We had several trial lessons with teachers in the area and several said they couldn’t really take me to the level I wanted, several I just didn’t like and a few were just too weird! A long term friend of my family used to host foreign exchange students and one of them played the flute and he was going to Manchester to have lessons with George Galway (Yes, he’s the brother of Sir James!)
Manchester, however, was a good 60 miles from where I lived, but we gave it a go and started fortnightly lessons which I continued until I was 18. George really did equip me with the skills I needed to get to where I wanted. I still loved the flute, but wasn’t the best practicer, I played it all the time but wasn’t the best at doing what I was supposed to do admittedly. For Christmas one year I got a piccolo and drove everyone demented playing it literally ALL day. I cannot tell you how much I loved the piccolo and still do to this day. Who wants to be one of the flutes when you can play the piccolo that everyone can hear? The shy retiring girl was gone!
With Grade 8 done and out of the way, the next stage was the auditions to study music.
Where and why?
The why was the easy bit, the only thing I was really any good at was music. I was pretty average at school, I loved school but was not especially academic and in all honesty, the only thing that grabbed and maintained my interest was music.
Where to go to study? There were conservatoires or universities. We had to be lead by my teacher as we really didn’t have a clue. We went to open days galore and I loved Huddersfield University (or polytechnic as it was then!) a strong recommendation from my teacher, the bonus of it, was that it was a degree course and not a graduate diploma so if I wanted to go on to do other things than perform or go into teaching classroom music, progression to teacher training was straightforward.
I did several auditions at several places and got offered places but I decided Huddersfield was the place for me. I can honestly say, for me at this stage it was hands down the correct decision. I had a great teacher Alan Lockwood who really pushed me and also really got me to understand what I needed to do to be good at this flute playing thing. I was lucky also to be able to continue with singing and piano too and had outstanding teachers. Though the piano really wasn’t my instrument. I can get by and I’m great at busking a pop tune!
In my second year at university, I started teaching. It beat a bar job for sure and I LOVED IT. The buzz I got from it was huge. I still loved performing and took every opportunity to do so and started performing in the group Occasional Music. With this and teaching I finished university with not a penny of debt! We were performing at weddings virtually every weekend, doing corporate events and in the Summer were playing at music and arts festivals in Yorkshire and all over the country.
As my degree was coming to an end, I decided to apply for the Master’s degree in Music Performance where I continued with flute and singing and I decided to study part time over two years as my teaching was getting busier and busier. I secured a job at the Blackburn School of Music and Huddersfield Grammar School (where I am still a member of staff).
My pupils in my private studio and schools were growing in numbers and were getting great exam results and doing really well in competitions. The satisfaction I was getting from teaching was HUGE. I loved it. Today, I still love it and am immensely proud of what my numerous pupils have and still achieve every day of the week.
I still perform regularly and love it, but teaching is my true calling. I wake up every day happy to know I have often a ridiculously long day teaching at school, university or at home. I love helping my students be the best they can be and love the enjoyment and satisfaction they get from their lessons.
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