Maggie Gray is a member of The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain. She has had an extensive career as a professional musician, working in television, radio and London's West End Theatre Orchestras, both as a woodwind player and Musical Director. Maggie trained at Trinity College of Music, London, and Reading University. She is an experienced teacher at primary, secondary and professional levels.
"Maggie’s teaching style is fun fun fun! A great teacher who knows her stuff and inspires her students. Learning with Maggie was so enjoyable. She’s a genuinely knowledgeable educationalist, with a sense of humour and a wealth of professional experience.” Anthony Strong,
Welcome to the "Take Note Beginner Courses" Allow me to tell you how they evolved.
My career has fallen into two stages. For the first 25 years, I played professionally, full time with a small amount of teaching then I qualified as a middle school music specialist at Reading University and my passion became teaching instruments. Combining a professional playing perspective with extensive teaching experience has enabled me to create a system of learning that has fantastic results with students of all ages.
I believe that all students have the ability to play. I never audition to establish talent because many beginners, after a challenged start, can blossom into accomplished musicians. With the right guidance, I believe all students can reach a good standard for themselves and thoroughly enjoy the process too.
As a child, my experience was typical of so many beginners. I could so easily have given up when the usual challenges arose. Had it not been for a supportive teacher and a smart Dad, who insisted that I follow through, I could so easily have missed out on the fabulous career I've enjoyed. After what seemed like a long, arduous start I felt comfortable, fell in love with playing and there was no stopping me.
I honestly believe that playing a musical instrument is one of the best things a student can do. The procedure of learning can be made easy and pleasurable through the whole musical journey. As well as being endless fun there are so many other benefits – the developed confidence, the enhanced motor skills, the sympathetic musical ear – are all life-enhancing - and life-lasting too.
As I know what it feels like to struggle a beginner, it has always been my mission to make each pupils' experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There is simply no reason to struggle at any stage of playing. Over the years, I have welcomed parents into the occasional lesson and encouraged them to know a little of what their child is doing as the child always blossoms with a small amount of home support. Parents feel distressed seeing their young child struggle at home and they often feel helpless about what to do. They hold the myth that they are "not musical" and believe that they can not be of support. Suddenly it hit me that I had to create a resource for parents and children for the beginning stages of learning.It was such a radical idea because nothing like this existed out there.
Frequently young beginners forget some of what the teacher has said and will spend the week before the next lesson practising in mistakes and setting in problems and disillusionment. As a professional I know – the challenges at the beginning are always about the technical handling of the instrument – never about "being musical" A supportive parent can be one of the most valuable assets a child can have. Just by knowing simple facts a parent can merely prompt a child here and there preventing mistakes and unhelpful habits practised in over and over again. In turn, this keeps the progress, the motivation and energy high and the child's' experience transforms.
Without the right guidance, any beginner will struggle. The problem solving "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" courses were born in 2015 and until recently have only been available in DVD format. They have been welcomed to great acclaim, not only by young beginners and parents but by also by adult players who wish to either self-teach or supplement their lessons. As well as being a series of lessons "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" is used as a reference guide to fundamental skills, providing solutions and answers on demand when you have a challenge with any aspect of your playing. Being audiovisual this is like having a teacher in your living room – but at a fraction of the cost. Having the answers on tap gives you the peace of mind you are on track to a superb and secure start to your playing experience.