Catherine Jones

Stroud, Gloucestershire

Qualifications MA(Cantab) MA (Glos) PGCE EYPS MISM

Teaches Cello

Locale Stroud, Dursley, Cirencester

Catherine is passionate about everyone having the opportunity to experience and love music, whatever their age, or their previous experience. For her, it’s finding what makes the learner, as an individual, tick, what motivates and helps them learn. She teaches children from age 2 or 3 to adults well into retirement, students with learning issues and disabilities, to those who have obtained music scholarships and top awards. She also runs two community choirs so that everyone who wants to participate in music can.

Cellobabies and Catherine

Catherine loves the Stringbabies method which encapsulates everything she believes in to make early age music making and experiences fun, relevant, creative and sets up students to make excellent progress.

She is particularly interested in the transition between prestave reading and conventional notation and uses similar methods for her piano students as well. She knows from years of teaching, how very young children can become proficient without even realizing that they’re on the road to reading conventional notation- always a very exciting process for her as well as the student!

My thoughts on teaching music

My lessons are always full of laughter and creativity, we have props and toys for young children, pens and whiteboards, finger puppets and pictures, to bring our music making and creative thinking to life. And so much of the fun is instantly transferable to my older students and adults as well!

We have regular concerts and tea parties where we can share our music making, and I give students lots of opportunities to play in recitals, perform with my community choirs and with each other- music is about sharing and communicating at whatever level any of us find ourselves. I regularly compose pieces for students to play, we make arrangements and I encourage my students to compose and improvise as well.

Learning an instrument isn’t about becoming a professional musician, although obviously that’s fantastic if it happens, it’s about learning skills for life: resilience, determination, creativity, team work, problem solving, laughing and sharing!

Musical experience

Catherine taught herself the descant recorder (which had been put in a cupboard, as she wasn’t old enough to have it!) from a little instruction booklet in the packaging, when she was about 3 years old, much to her parents’ surprise. She then nagged to learn to play the piano, and they gave in when she was nearly 6, then heard Steven Isserlis play the cello at an old age home her grandmother worked at, as a social worker, and demanded to learn to play… the rest is history. Well she always sang alto at school, then auditioned for a semi professional choir and discvoered she was really a soprano.

Catherine read music at Cambridge University where she is remembered by her fellow college students for always wandering around with a cello on her back. She played in a number of orchestras and groups, acoompanied on piano and harpsichord and sang sometimes in two choirs a night, as well as chapel choir, contemporary operas and a madrigal group. She managed to damage her left hand through over playing so wasn’t able to continue her professional studies, and after training to teach,  (she hated doing formal school teaching…. and never wants to stick to the rules as she’s always been looking for better and new ways to help all ages learn) ended up working as a solicitor for a number of years, although quartet playing and singing and running choirs and doing some private teaching was a theme that ran throughout

Following the birth of her two boys, she decided to make music teaching her main work, as it has always given her so much pleasure and personal recommendations made it obvious it really was what she should do! It was only while studying for a Masters in Fine Art, which included composing and training friends to play and perform in installations she created, that she discovered she is dyslexic, which might at least partly explain her dire spelling, and ability to think round problems and find new ways for students to learn. As well as working as a musician, Catherine is a writer, artist and involved in 20th century architecture groups projects based in the West Midlands.

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Use the site contact form to get in touch with Catherine – via Kay