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Derek Williams Musical Composition Teacher (Edinburgh)

Derek Williams

  • Central Edinburgh (EH1) View on map
  • Last Logged In: 15 Mar 2018
  • Sex: Male
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Personal Message
I teach Piano and Theory from level Grade 5 upwards to ABRSM and Trinity syllabus, including Jazz, Popular Music and Improvisation.
Which subject(s) do you teach?
Piano, Theory, Jazz, Composition, Arranging/Orchestration, Music Technology (Cubase) and Score Programming (Sibelius)
Tell me about your qualifications.
PhD in Music Composition from The University of Edinburgh

BMus (Distinction) from The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Winner Hollinrake Memorial Scholarship and Senior Scholarship for best student in graduate year.

FTCL in Pianoforte & Composition from Trinity College of Music, London

LMusTCL in Composition from Trinity College of Music, London

DipTeach in School Education from the New South Wales Department of Education & Training, Australia

DipTchg in School Education from the New Zealand Department of Education

Teachers' Diploma from Auckland Secondary Teachers' College, New Zealand.
What kind of experience do you have?
Alongside my career as an educator, I have been self-employed variously as composer, conductor, musical director and record producer for a range of international clients, including The University of Edinburgh and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, EMI Music, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Caroline O'Connor, Sir Robert Helpmann, Sir Howard Morrison. My work has featured in performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Royal Albert Hall and Garrick Theatre (London), Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Hamer Hall (Australia), the Australian Embassy (New York), Sala Accademica di Santa Cecilia (Rome) and Edinburgh University.

I am credited as orchestrator, associate composer, conductor or musician on 27 feature films, television documentaries, mini series, and have 33 recording credits. I have been a frequent conductor of studio orchestras, including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the feature film Frauds. Many of the media to which I have contributed have themselves achieved critical and popular acclaim, including BAFTA Award (The Making of Longbird), Best Film Score (Crush), an Oscar (The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert), Triple Platinum record sales (Come In Spinner - ABC) and an Australian Aria Award nomination (Cash Landing – EMI Music).

Stars in films I have orchestrated include Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Phil Collins, Josephine Byrnes, Lee Majors, Jack Scalia, Bob Peck, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp. I worked with Torvill & Dean as arranger and pianist for their album Here We Stand. I have performed extensively as keyboardist, including over 400 performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber's show Cats (Really Useful Theatre Company) and Phantom of the Opera (Cameron Mackintosh Limited), and as musical director for independent productions.

My most recent commissions have been to arrange, conduct, mix and master the vocal and orchestral music for the Glenfiddich 21yo Whisky ad campaign, so far reaching 1.7 million hits, viewable on my YouTube channel below, and to score the music for Ruaridh M Turner's multi award winning short thriller, 'The Beast in the Storm'. My current commissions are to compose a new 4 movement symphony for The Orchestra of the Canongait in Scotland, and a new trio for the Hindemith Trio in Parma, Italy.
How much do you charge?
Details of discounts for advance block bookings at

Free initial consultation.

For one-off lesson:
£25 per half hour or
£40 per hour, reducing to £30 per hour if booked in a block of 10 lessons
Where do you teach?
Edinburgh, Scotland or online anywhere via Skype
When are you available?
Late mornings, afternoons and evenings.
Which ages and levels do you teach?
Over 16 - adult, Grade 5 and above, or beginners who have already achieved Grade 5 on another instrument.
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
All ABRSM and Trinity College London
University courses in Music
Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
Current DBS certificatation - all ages
Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
Do you belong to any professional organisations?
European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA)
Musicians Union
British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA)
Edinburgh University Graduates' Association (EUGA)
Wagner Society of Scotland (Chair)
Royal Geographical Society
Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd (APRA)
Music Arrangers Guild of Australia (MAGA)
Where and with whom did you train?
Professors Nigel Osborne and Peter Nelson (PhD supervisors, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland) 2006-2011
Professors Charles Nalden and Peter Godfrey (BMus, The University of Auckland, New Zealand) 1971-1973
Mary Nathan (Piano, New Zealand) 1966-1977
Tell me about some of your current students.
All my current Piano and Theory students passed their 2017 ABRSM exams with Merit or Distinction.
Many choose the Jazz option. I also have Music Technology students studying for the SQA.