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Robin Thornton BMus(Hons) ATCL Higher Music Tutor (Aberdeen)

Robin Thornton BMus(Hons) ATCL Silver Member

  • Banchory (AB31) View on map
  • Last Logged In: 08 Sep 2015
  • Sex: Male
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Personal Message
Those who can do. Those who can't shouldn't. Those who can and are able to share it with others, Teach!
Which subject(s) do you teach?
I am a teacher of Singing, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drums and Theory.
Tell me about your qualifications.
Briefly, I have an Honours Degree in Music and a Teaching Diploma, which I passed with distinction.

I started teaching in 1993 as part of a local teaching initiative and realised that it was something that came naturally too me. In 2004 I self-studied Grade 8 - Guitar, Bass, Piano and entered myself for the exams. The three Grade 8's gave me enough UCAS points to miss first year of the Teaching Diploma, so my, four year, degree entailed a teaching diploma and the remaining three years of the degree. While studying for the teaching Diploma I passed Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 Theory.

My Teaching Diploma is in the Principles and Practise of Individual Instruction and the Degree which I graduated with is in Music performance and composition, however I studied class room teaching for one and a half years. It is from classroom teaching the that I understand assessment, psychology and learning styles. I clearly plan lessons so that the pupil understands what they are learning in the lesson and what that learning is for.
What kind of experience do you have?
I began teaching in 1993, as part of a local school's programme. After leaving school, I studied for a Bachelor of Eduction. This Degree trains the students to become classroom teachers and, after a period of study, I realised that he preferred to bring individuals to their potential, rather than teach in a classroom, where individual needs cannot be met. It was while studying the Bachelor of Education that I developed an interest in the Psychology of Learning. At that stage it was the constructivist models of Jung that interested me. Between 1998 and 2002 I studied Business Management and developed the skills necessary to start my own teaching practise. In 2002 I started that practise.

In my first year of teaching, I taught 65 pupils per week. Between 2004 and 2008 my pupil base was 125 pupils per week. I employed a team of staff to help with the teaching duties. In 2008, I reduced the business in order to concentrate on my studies.

It is my experience, thus far, that means that I can teach to high levels in a patient and friendly manner. With this level of experience, I understand the learning process and do not panic when pupils take their time learning.
How much do you charge?
Lessons cost £15 per half hour and £30 per hour. All pupils begin be taking half hour lessons and, if it is appropriate, they advance to hour long lessons. I find it more diplomatic this way: rather than reducing a pupil's lessons because they are not coping.
Where do you teach?
I have my studio at: Office 1 Green Park Court Glassel Banchory AB31 4DB. Pupils come to the studio to be taught. In the studio I keep my teaching materials and an array of instruments. One aspect which pupils particularly enjoy is my ability to accompany them on another instrument. Drummers have benefited from playing songs with me singing and playing guitar. Similarly, pupils of other instruments have have felt more secure with me emphasising the beat on the drum kit. This teaching technique, called 'Scaffolding', is often used to support pupils until the are in a position to support themselves.
When are you available?
I teach from 13:00 - 20:30 - Monday-Friday. My availability is shared publicly on my calendar: this may be viewed at
Which ages and levels do you teach?
The youngest pupil that I am teaching is a 4 year old. The programme which is being followed is an age-appropriate mix of 'Mini-Beasts', 'Kodaly Method' and Gross Motor-Skills training. The eldest pupils are in their sixties. Teaching adult-learners is very rewarding. Not only do adult-learners have a great breadth of experience to bring to the lessons, but they often come with misconceptions regarding how quickly they came to that level of experience. Also, adult learner ask questions that young pupils tend not to. This hones my teaching skills as I am required to think about my subject from different angles.

With such a wide range of ages, I am experienced in teaching learners who do not seek qualifications through to those who are preparing for University.
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
All levels: ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall, London College of Music and RockSchool.
Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
I hold enhanced disclosure for my business, Aberdeen College and Aberdeen University.
Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
Currently I post video lessons on youtube. These are free and act as taster videos. I can not emphasise enough the importance of getting quality tuition, but the videos go some way towards improving your musicianship.
Do you belong to any professional organisations?
As a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, I adhere to their code of ethics.
Where and with whom did you train?
I have a wife and two children, therefore I have had to stay in Aberdeen rather than travel to study.
I recieved my training from Aberdeen College and Aberdeen University. While at Aberdeen College I studied under Peter Stuart from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and while at Aberdeen University I studied composition with Paul Mealor, Sarah Neil and Martin MacDonald.
Tell me about some of your current students.
My pupils vary in age from six to sixty. I have students who learn singing, guitar, bass, piano, drums, flute and clarinet. My ability to teach this variety of instruments means that pupils may study different instruments if their interest in one drops, or study more than one instrument. My students enjoy a wide ranging subject base ranging spanning - rock/pop, improvisation/composing and classical: I do not push pupils in to exams. Exams are available at the pupil's request. It is always better to coach a pupil for exams, when the motivation comes from them.
Do you have a personal message for students?
Come as you are, but don't leave as you came. I encourage development in a broad range of musical interests.

Tutors in: Ballater, Banchory, Banff, Buchan, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Garioch, Huntly, Inverurie, Kincardine, Macduff, Mearns, Oldmeldrum, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Westhill