Inspiring the next generation: Fran Barsby

Welcome to our brand new weekly feature where we highlight the great work that RBC alumni are doing in the field of music education.

Each week our guest will reveal insights such as what led them to do what they are currently doing, the projects they have been involved in since graduating, what inspires them on a daily basis, and what advice they would give to any music student considering working as a music educator in the future, whether full time or as part of a rewarding portfolio career.

Episode two: Fran Barsby

Fran Barsby

Years studied 2011-2015

Course BMus (Hons)

First study Harp

I graduated with BMus (Hons) in Harp Performance from RBC in 2015. During my university studies, I taught music at Perry Beeches and Kimichi School (2013/2015).

In my last year at the Conservatoire, I set up PoppyHarp Ltd, which is a harp hub, where I teach privately-run ensembles, host composition and harp festivals. For example, I work with the Future Blend Project, which publishes new works and has a harp showroom. Selling harps via PoppyHarp enables me to direct people to affordable instruments and help them learn the harp regardless of their financial background. As Resident Harpist at Pilgrim Harps, I am also able to encourage as many people as possible to start learning the harp at ‘come and try’ days around the country. PoppyHarp is now five years old, and I have enjoyed running it alongside my busy solo performance career.

I had a baby this year, so I have given up my role as Harp Teacher at The Blue Coat School, King’s High School and Warwick Preparatory School. I am also currently studying a Research in Education Masters at University of Bath. I feel very lucky to be a role model to my students and I will always work hard to develop my teaching to give them the best start to their musical careers as possible. Passing on your skills to the next generation is not only fulfilling, but our duty as musicians to keep classical music alive and thriving. There is no better feeling than seeing your students succeed and reach their goals, such as achieving their university place.

If you are one of RBC’s alumni and would like to take part in this feature, contact Interim Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) Luan Shaw, Head of Pedagogy Dr Adam Whittaker or Head of Learning and Participation Richard Shrewsbury.