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Alistair Vennart Viola Teacher (Manchester)

Alistair Vennart Gold Member

  • Withington (M20) View on map
  • Last Logged In: 30 Sep 2015
  • Sex: Male
  • Web site:
  • Can Travel To: Bury, Cheshire East, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford
Contact Me View My Full Profile
Personal Message
Hi! My name is Alistair and I am a freelance musician. I am originally from Leicestershire however I lived in a town called Hexham in Northumberland from 1999-2008. I then moved to Manchester to go to University, and have never left since!
Which subject(s) do you teach?
I can teach Viola, Violin, Chamber Music, Composition, Steel String Guitar, Musicianship, Fiddle (folk Violin or Viola) and Bass Guitar.
Tell me about your qualifications.
I have a 1st class degree in Music from the University of Manchester, one of the UK and the World's most prestigious universities. I learnt a variety of disciplines while at University, especially in performance and composition; the course is recognised as one of the best music degrees in the UK. I then went to the RNCM and studied Viola Performance for 3 years to gain a Masters Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma.
What kind of experience do you have?
My teaching experience is wide-ranging in both styles and abilities. I have assisted workshops with the InHarmony Initiative with group classes of up to 30 beginner pupils aged 4-10. I have also taught smaller groups of 3 or 4 intermediate-advanced students at Pro Corda, Yorkshire Young Musicians, and Aberystwyth International 'MusicFest', ranging from ages 12-19. In addition to this, I have given individual lessons to advanced students at Birmingham Conservatoire, the Junior RNCM, and at a one week intensive course in Switzerland. This year, I will be teaching Chamber Music for Strings, Piano and Wind (in various combinations!) at Undergraduate level (post Grade 8) as part of the Junior Fellowship programme running at the RNCM.
As a performer, I am primarily a Classical Violist. I play with several of the Professional Orchestras in the North of England, including the Halle, BBC Philharmonic, Opera North, Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. As a member of the Solem Quartet I have performed internationally and in the UK, maintaining a busy concert schedule in the North of England and London. I have never lost interest in any style of music and continue to be inspired by folk music and the joys of learning by ear, while also occasionally playing Bass Guitar in a rock band at private parties!
How much do you charge?
I charge £15 for a consultation - this will take up to an hour and is mainly a chance to meet you, discuss what you would like to learn, and have a 'mini' lesson!
Viola and Violin (including fiddle): £28 per hour. £15 per half-hour lesson. £22 for 45 mins - We can discuss what best meets your requirements at the consultation.
Chamber Music: £30 per hour. I am more than happy to provide a one-off 'drop in' session if you are looking for an outside influence. (n.b We would need to discuss a few practical matters in advance of me teaching you, for example, the size of the group!)
All other instruments/disciplines: £25 pounds for an hour, or £15 for half an hour.
I have access to a car most evenings/weekends - so I can come to you if I can use the car.
Where do you teach?
I teach at my flat in Withington which has a lovely bright open living space perfect for individual lessons. We may be able to arrange lessons at your house if I have access to the car which I share with my partner. This would incur additional costs based on distance/journey time. If it permits it is possible for me to travel around the area to places such as Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Heaton Mersery, Heaton Moor, Heaton Chapel, Burnage, Northenden, Levenshulme, Stretford, Rusholme, Reddish and Stockport. If you don't live in any of these areas (but nearby!) I may still be willing to come to you, so please do get in touch.
I also would be happy to arrange to teach in the Hexham area of Northumberland - this would need to be arranged in advance as I spend most of my time in Manchester.
When are you available?
I am most likely to be available on weekday mornings and evenings, however I am willing to work weekends or any other time that my schedule permits. Freelance Musicians have a constantly varying schedule, so while it is probable that a weekly time can be arranged, it is possible that we might need to find another time/day on particularly busy weeks!
Also, i'm happy to teach during school holidays as well as during term-time.
Which ages and levels do you teach?
I teach all ages and abilities. If you are a complete beginner, I would usually incorporate elements of musicianship (at no extra charge!!) to help you get to grips with pitch, rhythm and notation - the musicians essentials! If you are an intermediate or an advanced student hoping to hone your skills to perfection, I specialise in critical self-awareness, practice methods, and (for Violin and Viola) 'visual intonation'. I am also a recent student of the famous Garth Knox, who specialises in Contemporary Music, and improves string playing technique using new innovative methods (the 'Viola Spaces' being an integral part of this).
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
All ABRSM grades. University/Conservatoire auditions (undergrad and postgrad), Diplomas, and all other exam boards (eg. Trinity).
Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
Yes. I have 3 seperate DBS's with the RNCM, Yorkshire Young Musicians, and Sefton Music Service.
Do you belong to any professional organisations?
Sefton Music Service
Yorkshire Young Musicians
Where and with whom did you train?
2013-2014 Garth Knox - International Tutor in Viola, RNCM
2009-2013 Louise Lansdown - Head of strings at Birmingham Conservatoire (RNCM)
2008-2009 Alex Robertson (RNCM/Manchester University)
2001-2008 Mike Gerrard - Principle Viola of Northern Sinfonia (The Sage Gateshead)
Tell me about some of your current students.
I have a variety of students who are happily learning in completely tailor-made ways. Some of my students prefer to focus on more technical aspects of playing, analysing their arm and finger movements to meticulous levels, while using repertoire (sometimes composed by me!) to solidify each aspect. This method is often pursued with a view to invest learning the basics of playing the instrument first, and then 'jump' into repertoire at an intermediate/advanced level. Other students are enjoying learning styles that they are particularly interested in - I currently have a student who is learning some arrangements of Jimi Hendrix songs that I have made! All of my students enjoy playing duets too, an essential part of playing with good intonation and rhythm - and, of course it is extremely satisfying to play something together!
Do you have a personal message for students?
Never forget that while learning an instrument is extremely challenging and time consuming, your ultimate goal is enjoyment. I will help you enable this!
Remain open-minded at ALL times.The best thing about music is there is no 'best' way to do anything. You have the chance to be create something that is yours - this is why it is so enjoyable.
'Listen' to your body. If something is uncomfortable, the chances are you are doing it 'wrong' and a small adjustment will make it 'right'! I am strong believer that everyone is different and therefore plays an instrument differently. There is no 'my way or the highway' in my teaching!

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