Sarah has always been passionate about Music making! At the age of 5 she started playing the recorder and this soon led onto taking ABRSM exams on the treble recorder. In high school she started to learn the clarinet (which is now her first study instrument-ABRSM Grade 8), tenor horn and keyboard/piano and developed a love for performing in school concerts and as part of ensembles and bands.
Studying both GCSE and A level music led her to studying a BA (hons) in Music at The University of Leeds where she also played in (and led) ensembles. The psychology of musical learning became an area of interest during her time studying and this passion led her to studying a PGCE in Secondary Music at The University of Leeds.
Prior to studying for her PGCE Sarah spent a summer working as a clarinet teacher and Music tutor at Appel Farm Arts Camp in New Jersey, U.S.A. As well as providing specialist clarinet teaching to a range of students (both ability and age) Sarah led Music theory sessions and ensembles and performed at regular camp concerts. When returning to the U.K Sarah worked as a teaching assistant in a Leeds special school where she gained experience of working with children with additional needs often working alongside the Music specialist teacher and leading performances. This experience was incredibly valuable and ignited her passion to teach Music inclusively to young people who benefit from music making to support their social, emotional, physical or learning needs.
From 2005-2019 Sarah has been a Secondary School Music teacher. Over the years her role has included developing the musical skills of students in KS3 and preparing students for KS4 GCSE courses and KS5 BTEC/A level courses. As a classroom teacher her emphasis is on practical music making using the voice, keyboard and ukulele alongside other instruments students have specific skills on. Solo and ensemble performing skills are taught via traditional music reading and by ear with an emphasis on how effective practice impacts on successful musical performing and skill development.
Music theory, the development of aural ability/critical listening skills and teaching of historical/social influences on music production is integrated into lessons through performing and composing opportunities where possible. As a classroom teacher Sarah has taught students how to use improvisation, given scales, harmony and chords in relevant structures to compose instrumental pieces or songs in a range of genres, alongside recording and producing their work using GarageBand software.
Sarah would describe her teaching persona as approachable, encouraging, flexible and inclusive. She thrives on building confidence through positive feedback but has exceptionally high standards of what individuals can achieve and will relentlessly provide detailed feedback about how a particular area of musical learning can be improved to get students to where they want to be.
In her role as a secondary school Music teacher Sarah also lead and conducted a number of musical ensembles including a Concert Orchestra, Junior Band/orchestra and Soul Band alongside annually rehearsing a pit band to perform as part of the school production. She has rehearsed these ensembles regularly to a high standard preparing them for regular performances in a school setting alongside community events, often in public performing venues in the local area. Sarah has also organised performing opportunities and concerts when covering a colleagues Head of Music role during their maternity leave.
In her role as a Secondary School Music teacher Sarah regularly performed in school events as part of the senior choir and on her clarinet in instrumental ensembles. For several years she has also performed on keyboard as part of a teachers band for an annual charity event fundraising for a local children’s hospice. In her spare time Sarah enjoys singing in a choir and has performed at a number of local community events as well as high profile performances with artists such as G4 at Leeds Cathedral and Russell Watson at Leeds Grand Theatre.
As a mum, music is an integral part of Sarah’s family life. Sarah regularly attends live performances with her family at local venues and her family enjoy performing together in the home.
Inspired by her son who has additional needs Sarah is passionate about developing opportunities for young people with physical needs to be involved in ensemble music making. She is currently exploring how orchestras that successfully use instruments based on eye gaze technology can develop in Yorkshire to provide inclusive opportunities for young people with additional needs.