Welcome to a new 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 4: Jay Hall
Course BMus (Hons)
First study Tenor Trombone
I studied trombone on the BMus (Hons) course at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, which included the Art of Teaching module with teaching staff from the Brass Department, and Further Pedagogy with Luan Shaw. I found this immersive and reflective approach to pedagogy incredibly helpful for my own playing development as well as sparking a wider interest in teaching and learning.
After leaving the Conservatoire, I studied for a MMus at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), and since then I have worked in varied music education settings in a portfolio career that includes playing, teaching, conducting and management.
I am currently full time Head of Instrumental Studies at Scarisbrick Hall School, an independent school in Lancashire. I am responsible for all peripatetic staff as well as ensemble leadership and large-scale events at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
I lead an outreach programme to local state primary schools to increase opportunity and exposure to the arts. I am also Musical Director (MD) of St Helens Youth Brass Band, St Helens Sinfonietta and Greenalls Brass Band, as well as Lower Brass Tutor with Lancashire Music Service County Ensembles. I also maintain my own private teaching practice.
Highlights have included sitting on a creative board for Lancashire Music Services’ ‘Big Show’, bringing over 500 Wider Opportunities musicians together for a large concert and conducting St Helens Youth Brass Band in the Music for Youth National Festival on stage at Symphony Hall Birmingham. I am coming to the end of £35,000 arts council emergency grant delivery and I have been accepted on to the Clore Emerging Leaders course this year.
Every day presents new challenges and rewards, whether small scale in a classroom with a child's individual achievement or with a large ensemble on stage. We are all aware of the inherent value the arts have and the impact music has on our lives. It is an immense privilege and my greatest pleasure to be able to facilitate these opportunities for a new generation in sometimes challenging circumstances.
I would encourage all music students to explore teaching and pedagogy. It can have a profound impact on our own musicianship and approach to performance and practice. Say “yes” to every opportunity and try to work outside of your specialism and comfort zone, collaborating with other musicians, teachers and artists. Self-reflection is also incredibly important. Working in music education allows us to make a genuine difference in people’s lives and I can think of no more varied and rewarding career.
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.