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Teacher in Piano, Singing, Drums and Guitar Music in Banchory/Online

Robin Thornton Music Tutor Musicianship Teacher (Aberdeen)

Robin Thornton Music Tutor Gold Member

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  • Professional Qualification MMus, BMus (Hons.), ATCL (Teaching Dip.), MISM.
  • Professional Qualification Teaching since 1993
  • Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS, formerly CRB) Check DBS/PVG
  • Professional Membership Incorporated Society of Musicians
  • References References are available upon request
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Personal Message
Robin Thornton MMus, BMus (Hons.), ATCL (Dip.) teaches Singing, Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar Drums and Music Theory. Music Tuition - either in the studio or online.
Which subject(s) do you teach?
I give lessons in Singing, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drums, Composition and Theory. Lessons are given on an individual basis and are person centred. Materials used in the lesson are guided by the pupil's interests. Lessons are available at the studio or online.
Tell me about your qualifications.
I hold a Masters Degree (MMus), BMus (Hons.) 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 I learned on the Masters Degree informs my teaching. A thorough understanding of the history and development of music sets the context for the pupil's learning and brings it to life.
What kind of experience do you have?
Robin Thornton - Teacher

At a young age, I decided that I wanted to be a Musician. I did not believe that I could support myself with one instrument, so I set about training as a multi-instrumentalist. To this end, I have specialist knowledge of all styles of Singing, Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar and Drum Kit. I have more generalist knowledge of Percussion, Double Bass and Chordophones which are not Guitars - I have given lessons in Mandolin, Banjo and studied a little Lute in University.

I began teaching in 1993 and progressed to owning my own studio with a staff, assisting me. I found the demand for my teaching grew and decided to reduce the business size. I now teach from my home in Banchory (Aberdeenshire, Scotland), providing individual, person centred, lessons both in my studio and online.

My Educational path has taken me through a Teaching Diploma and Undergraduate, which included components in Kodaly and Classroom Teaching. I also studied my Masters of Music with Dr Phillip Cooke.

I describe my teaching as, “Teaching classically, although not necessarily Classic”. Lessons are taught from a classical foundation - not limiting the growth of the student - exploring the music which currently interests the student.

Robin Thornton - Composer

I came to Composition later in life, having established my Teaching Practice, in the North East of Scotland, in 1993. To begin with, my Performance Career, showed most success with Bands culminating in 144 concerts in 2007. I then went on to study my Undergraduate Degree - where I had works performed at workshops by The Edinburgh Quartet and the Auriga Quintet - and discovered that Composition was where my heart lay. Both the Edinburgh Quartet and the Auriga Quintet commented on the intricacy of the inner parts which I wrote. My background in Bands informs my Compositional Aesthetic. This may explain my lack of a ‘top down’ approach: favouring an ‘inside out’ approach.

I went on to study under Phillip Cooke for my Masters Degree where I had works by Paul Mead and Sir Michael Berkley. I established my voice as a Reductionist Composer. Reductionism is a branch of Post Minimalism. Reductionism develops in a direction opposed to the Post Minimalist style of Adams and Nyeman. Post Minimalism uses techniques derived from Minimalism, in a broader lyrical style. Reductionism is austere. One motif is composed and all other material in the piece is derived from that material. Nothing is added. My interest lies in how the smallest material can be reimagined to make large scale works.
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 teach from my home studio and give online lessons.

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 Google Hangouts 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.

I have taught throughout the UK, France, the Middle East and Australia, via online lessons.
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.

I have had feedback on my work from The Auriga Quintet, Edinburgh Quartet and Sir Michael Berkley.
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.