Welcome to our weekly series 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 9: Hannah Woollacott
Years studied 2011-2018
Course BMus (Hons), MMus
First study Guitar
I studied classical guitar on the BMus Hons course from 2011-2015 and at postgraduate level from 2016-2018. Throughout my time at RBC, I took the pedagogy and further pedagogy modules in my undergraduate course and then chose to study Teaching Matters at postgraduate level. I teach privately and in schools, at guitar festivals and lead guitar ensembles and workshops. I’m currently in the process of setting up my own teaching practice in North Devon.
Ever since my first guitar lesson in primary school, where I was fortunate to have an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher, I knew that I wanted to teach and try to inspire people as well as he did. Teachers have the chance to empower people and to help them access opportunities by developing their self-confidence and ability to express themselves, and this is what I enjoy most about my role in music education.
I have had numerous performance, teaching and mentoring opportunities during and since I studied at RBC. For example, I lead the North Devon Guitar Ensemble, I am a teacher with The Guitar School at The Classical Guitar Centre in Bearwood, I adjudicated guitar classes for Leicester MusicFest 2020, I‘ve taught for Services for Education Music Service, mentored at the World Youth Guitar Festival on four occasions, taught at Cardiff Guitar Festival (2018 and 2019), I am a musician for Music in Hospitals and Care - performing in different healthcare settings, including playing lullabies in neonatal wards, I perform concerts for children and babies for concert series such as BabyGigs and Polka Dot Concerts, I have performed at Winchester Guitar Festival and I’m a part of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble Fellowship (NYGE Fellowship).
It’s a real honour to be able to work with students and to open their eyes to the incredible potential that they have. It’s wonderful when your students are offered a place to study at a conservatoire and are awarded certificates for grade exams, but at a deeper level some of the most rewarding moments are seeing students believe in themselves and grow as people.
As musicians, I feel it’s our duty to encourage and inspire the next generation of musicians to safeguard the future of music and I would encourage current students to pursue a career in music education. My advice would be to observe and talk to teachers and take any opportunity to gain teaching experience, whether this is teaching a class yourself, leading an activity or watching another professional; learning through experience is one of the most valuable ways to learn.
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.