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Robin Thornton MMus, ATCL(Dip) Musicianship Teacher (Aberdeen)

Robin Thornton MMus, ATCL(Dip) Silver Member

  • Banchory (AB31) View on map
  • Last Logged In: 10 Nov 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?
As a Music Teacher, I give lessons in Singing, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drums, Composition and Theory.
Tell me about your qualifications.
I hold a Masters Degree (MMus) 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 facilatate pupil's learning through motivation and encouragement.
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.
Where do you teach?
I have a home studio at The Coach House Invery, Banchory. In my studio I have a Piano, Guitars - Electric, Acoustic, Classical and Bass Guitars - a Drum Kit, microphones for singing lessons and multple other instruments including - a Trumpet, Clarinet, Flute, Violin and Double Bass. These instruments are used in lessons to encourage pupils to be playful and explore their musical interests.

My first studio was in Kincardine O'Neil, then Glassel - just outside Torphins. My reputation spread and I taught pupils from Aboyne, Banchory, Stonehaven, Aberdeen City and the surrounding areas. This reputation has spread to the whole of Aberdeenshire as I have moved around.
When are you available?
I teach from 09:00 - 20:30 - Monday-Saturday. 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. Adult-learners have a great breadth of experience to bring to the lessons. They 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.

I also train prospective teachers to gain their professional qualifications. Teaching diplomas are no longer taught either at Aberdeen College or the Universities of Aberdeen or Robert Gordon's. To maintain high standards and develop good teachers, I provide all the training necessary to gain professional qualifications in teaching.
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
All levels and interests are covered. Whether you are taking up music lessons as a hobby or preparing for University entrance, I will tailor your lessons to suit your interests.

There are a variety of syllabuses which can be used to guide pupils on the route to becoming qualified. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity are sylabuses which I would teach for solo performance. These offer a brought education in performance: separate training is offered in theory and composition. The Rockschool incoroporates both performance and composition into one syllabus. This syllabus is aimed at students wishing to enter the Pop Music side of the industry. All syllabuses offer a Jazz component which develops aural skills and interpretation.
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 and the Scouts.
Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
Online tuition works extremely well. I first trailed Skype lessons while on teaching practise, when I couldn't get home for lessons. Lessons are set up via Skype or Face Time and run in real time. The student takes their own notes and explains what they are seeing on the music. This facilitates long term memory retention. As part of all lessons, pupils Compose their own music. This is marked during the lesson and feedback is given via "Two stars and a wish" - a form of assessment encouraged as part of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence.
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. My Masters was guided by Phillip Cooke - from Oxford University, whom Composes for Choirs.
Tell me about some of your current students.
I have a broad range of pupils some interested in exams: some not. Some pupils use music to help develop their social skills and motor skills, others study to grade eight and diploma standard. I also have pupils who are training to be teachers.

My pupils vary in age from four to sixty(ish). I have students who learn singing, guitar, bass, piano, drums, flute and clarinet and violin. My ability to teach this variety of instruments means that pupils may study different instruments if their interest alters, or study more than one instrument. My students enjoy a broad education ranging through- rock/pop, improvisation/composing and classical. 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.

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