Review of 2018

Category: Music

As 2018 is fast coming to an end I thought it would be nice to document the year as a whole and celebrate huge successes that my pupil’s have achieved this year.


Usually a quiet time for music, but this January Imogen found out after her auditions at music college, she was awarded places at the  four colleges she applied to and was also awarded scholarships too. She auditioned at the Guildhall School of Music, The Royal College of  Music, The Royal Northern College of Music and The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music.

After much deliberation, I was thrilled that she decided to take up her scholarship offer and place at the Guildhall School of Music where she will be studying with flautist and composer Ian Clarke.


Bradley auditioned at several institutions to study a BA(hons) in Popular Music and after successful auditions, he decided to take up his place at ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) in London.

The month of February is The Mrs Sunderland Music Competition which takes place in the beautiful Huddersfield Town Hall.

Once again my students performed incredibly well and were awarded several prizes.

Open Woodwind Class

1st Mistral Trio

3rd Les Six Flute Ensemble

Pop Ballad Class Open

1st Isabelle

2nd Daisy

3rd Hannah

Open Disney Class

1st Isabelle

3rd Vicki

Girl’s Vocal Solo Yrs 10 & 11

1st Ophelia

Yrs 10 & 11 Music Theatre

2nd Ophelia

3rd Isabel

Yrs 10 & 11 Disney Class

2nd Daisy

Yrs 6 & 7 Disney Class

3rd Maddie

Yr 11 & under Woodwind Solo

1st Emily

2nd Sammy

3rd Ellie

Open Woodwind Solo

1st Imogen

2nd Emily

An amazing festival for not only these students, but some superb performances from everyone in classes that were huge!

February also brought the news that Imogen has been awarded her DipABRSM Diploma in Flute Performance. A real achievement.


Kaytie-Jo successfully auditioned and was offered a place at CAPA college in Wakefield to study Music Theatre.


ABRSM exam results came through and I only had two candidates this time both Grade 8 Flutes and both Alice and Angela achieved distinctions.

At the beginning of April I took a very long trip down to Saffron Walden to see the NCWO “umbrella” of ensembles concert after their intensive Easter course. It was an absolute joy and worth the 3 plus hour drive to witness some impressive music making. All of the members of the ensembles are 18 and under and the repertoire they performed was really varied and performed to the highest level. Really impressive stuff and I was very proud to have 5 of my students involved after being awarded places at the end of last year.


Sammy & Angela




Imogen & Guylaine

LCM exams took place and the results were excellent once again. Special mention must go to Amelia for her distinction in her Grade 3 Popular Music Vocals and especially to Isabel for her very high distinction mark 98/100 in her grade 8 Popular Music vocals exam. Well Done!

Les Six Flute Ensemble entered the Music for Youth regional festival but sadly it was cancelled due to the ridiculous amount of snow that came down that morning. We were permitted to submit a recorded entry instead and we heard that we had been selected for the National Finals which would take place in July down in Birmingham and got excellent feedback.

Here is one of the recordings we submitted for the competition if you’d like to listen

More audition news, Emily G auditioned at CAPA College to study Music theatre and was offered a place and Isabel auditioned and was chosen to play Fantine in the Wakefield Youth Music Theatre production of Les Miserables.


Isabel auditioned and was offered a place with National Youth Theatre. A HUGE achievement.

Grace won the Huddersfield Grammar School Musician of the Year for her performance of Burn from Hamilton.


June is a quiet month music wise due to the GCSE and A Level exams so very little happens apart from normal lessons this month.


July kicked off with Emily being awarded Junior Young Musician at Bootham School and her, Sammy and Ellie were awarded prizes for their contribution to the the music department. I’m immensely proud of how hard these three flute players work, not only with their individual performing, but for the amount of dedication they show to the school with their playing in Flute trio, Senior Flutes and Orchestra too.

Music for Youth National Festival day came around very quickly! Les Six Ensemble headed with parents and friends to Birmingham.

What a fantastic day it was too. The whole event was so well organised and we were lucky to perform in the Concert Hall at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. We performed Bumblebee Fantasy arr Ann Cameron Pearce, 2nd Movement of Sonata for Flute and Piano, kindly arranged especially for the event by Paul Feehan and then finished off our performance with The Typewriter by Leroy Anderson arr Orriss.

I can honestly say I have never been prouder of these six young musicians. They performed superbly well and not only that, conducted themselves like professionals. It’s days like this that every hour you put in, is worth it. Here is the performance of The Typewriter live from the competition if you’d like to have a listen.

Emily, Sammy and Ellie auditioned for the newly formed York Youth Orchestra and all three of them were offered places. What a flute section that is or the Dream Team as I call them. As all three of them perform together regularly and the way they play, there is hardly any wonder they got offered places. Congratulations!

LCM exams took place again this month and Asher achieved a distinction in his Grade 1 Music Theatre, Philippa achieved a distinction in her Grade 3 Music Theatre exam, Hannah achieved a merit in her Grade 8 Music Theatre and Alex achieved a merit in her Grade 6 Popular Music Vocals and Olivia achieved a distinction in her grade 6 Popular Music Vocals exam. Impressive results with an examiner who is always tough!

Ophelia who is a member of HATY was awarded the Most Outstanding Performer of the year in the Calderdale NODA awards for her performance of Swallow in Whistle Down the Wind.

Emily auditioned and was offered a place in the Halle Youth Orchestra, a really massive achievement as 27 flutes auditioned for 3 places.

At the end of July, Imogen went to Weggis in Switzerland for a week at the Galway festival. She was lucky to have a masterclass with Michael Cox and was selected to have two classes with Sir James Galway and she got to meet my old flute teacher George Galway.


Sammy was chosen to play 2nd flute in the Young Artist’s Symphony Orchestra at the Musicale course.

GCSE and A Level results are the main focus of this month, my students did incredibly well. It amazes me every year how well they do and still manage to do consistently well with their music too. Grace and Hannah got 9’s in their GCSE music as well as many other 9’s too and Alice achieved 3A*’s and an A and Imogen achieved 2A*’s and an A. Well done!

Isabel auditioned and was offered a place at CAPA College to study Music theatre after doing a late audition as she wasn’t sure about taking up her place at Greenhead College to do A Levels.

Although not music related Angela was awarded 1st place in the Yorkshire and Humber Cyber Matrix Challenge 2018. Angela is so bright, hard working and dedicated to everything she does I’m convinced she’ll be a spy! She thinks this is hilarious!

The final day of August, Les Six Flute Ensemble and myself went to Da Sandro’s for a meal to wish good luck and goodbye to Imogen who was moving to London a couple of days later to start the next excting chapter of her life, studying music at The Guildhall School of Music. Imogen is one of my student’s who has made me so proud with her outstanding achievements over the 10 years or so I’ve been teaching her.

She achieved distinctions in every one of her ABRSM exams, passed her diploma with flying colours, won more competitions than I can count, was chosen to represent the Haydn Wood Festival at the Regional Festival, was the leader of Les Six Flute Ensemble and Mistral Trio, was a member of National Ensembles for 6 years and that culminated in being principal flute in the National Youth Chamber Orchestra, was a prize winner at the Galway Festival in 2017 and in the same year won the Kirklees Young Musician of the Year. All this as well as achieving outstanding GCSE and A Level results and staying down to earth and normal!

I’m very excited to see where the next chapter of her music life will lead.


In September I started the #100 Days of Practice Challenge. I saw a friend on Twitter Jen of Ivories and Strings was doing it and thought it’d be a great thing to do and to encourage my students to do. I love playing the flute and singing, but with teaching life is ridiculously busy I rarely have time to do proper practice. I knew it would be tough, but when I’ve decided I’m doing something, I do it.

I went to see my students in Wakefield Youth Music Theatre’s production of Les Miserables. It was impressive! Young people 18 and under tackling this musical is brave but it was superb and you forgot that these were young people. Congratulations to Isabel and Kaytie-Jo on your performances.

I started a “Student of the Week” award this September to reward those students who have shown excellent progress in a certain week. I thought it’d be nice for those who don’t get a mention so often as they chose not to do exams and competitions and also to recognise the hard work of my adult students too. The Roll of Honour can be found here and is also on the wall of my music room.


No news to report here this month, a bit like January, it’s one of those getting back into it months!


I was so proud to see one of my old pupils Guylaine performing with the Good the Bad and the Queen on the Jools Holland Show. Guylaine is a first study bassoonist in her 2nd year at The Royal Academy of Music. She was an integral part of music at Bootham School for 7 years. She is also a diploma standard flautist and achieved a distinction in her Grade 8 Music Theatre Exam and has been a valuable member of Mistral Trio and Les Six Flute Ensemble. Guylaine is a great musician and a lovely person and I know this performance will not be the last time we see her on telly or achieving big things in music.

The Haydn Wood Festival takes place in November and it is a music competition I have supported for many, many years and it was another successful one. Although I didn’t have as many students taking part this year as usual, the results were outstanding. Every student that took place in the competition was placed. Pretty good going!

Open Woodwind Solo

1st Emily

2nd Hannah

3rd Angela

Open Recital Class

2nd Emily

Music Theatre 15-21 years

1st Daisy

2nd Grace

3rd Hannah

Daisy was awarded the Swift Salver winning the Music Theatre Class, The Colne Valley Guardian Trophy for the highest mark in the vocal classes and also the Kirklees Leisure Trophy for the highest mark of the Festival.

Emily was awarded the Robert Clarke Memorial Trophy for achieving the highest mark in the woodwind classes, as well as this she was chosen by the adjudicator to represent the festival at the prestigious Regional Championships which will take place in September 2019. Congratulations.

In the same weekend, Emily also competed in the York Rotary Club Young Musician of the year. Emily performed Hypnosis by Ian Clarke and was accompanied by pianist and Director of Music at Bootham School, Paul Feehan. She was awarded 1st place and received excellent comments from the judges and will now progress to the regional competition in March 2019. Emily is a very talented, dedicated and very hard working student and deserves every bit of her success. Congratulations.


If January is quiet, December is the complete opposite.

Several school concerts and 5 days of exams, carol services and 1001 other things it is a wonder anyone in music survives it and stays sane.

I was immensely proud of how my Senior Flutes, Flute Trio and Junior Choir performed in the Grand Christmas Concert at Bootham School and also Emily’s mature and stunning performance of Ganne’s Andante et Scherzo.

More ABRSM exams took place at Bootham and Mount St Mary’s College as well as my private students.

Everyone did really well and special mention must go to Natalie for her merit in her first exam her Grade 2 Flute, to Joe for his Grade 5 flute with distinction and to Sammy for his merit in Grade 8 flute and to Ellie for her distinction in her Grade 8 flute exam. I also must say a huge well done to Amy on her result in her Grade 5 after a very difficult time and how proud I am that you actually took the exam in the first place!

LCM exams took place over two consecutive days and all students performed well on the day and achieved great results, special mention must go to Ophelia for her merit in her Grade 7 Music Theatre and to Elise, Hannah and Grace for achieving merits in their Grade 8 Music Theatre exams and to Daisy for her distinction in her Grade 8 Music Theatre.(I am still awaiting some of the results, as they have been selected for moderation)

York Youth Orchestra (Emily, Ellie and Sammy) had their first concert which got a lovely review and a special mention for the flute section and Emily had her first Halle Youth Orchestra concert at the Bridgewater Hall which was a huge success too.

In December, myself and several students completed the #100 Days of Practice Challenge.It was not easy, as predicted. I ended up practicing at some ridiculous times of day but couldn’t feel prouder that I actually managed to do it and equally as proud of Hannah T, Emily, Natalie, Hannah Q, Pippa, Eve and Amelia for completing the challenge too.

What a year! I have no complaints at all, my students are lovely people who continually work hard and achieve so much. I am so proud to be your teacher and so proud of your efforts and dedication too.

I’m ready for a rest though and will look forward to another action packed and hopefully equally successful year in 2019 and want to thank my pupils and their parents for their constant support.

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.