Chris has over twenty years’ experience as a classroom music teacher across the 11-18 age range, including ten years as Director of Music at three independent schools in the UK, where he has taught Key Stage 3, GCSE, A Level and IB Music courses. Under his leadership, these Music Departments have developed high profiles, both within the school and in the wider community. Chris believes that every student has the potential to express themselves musically. His published series of textbooks, Let's Get Musical, reflects his engaging and inclusive approach. Two-thirds of his mixed-ability students achieve the top grades in A/AS Level (A*/A), GCSE (9-7/A*-B) and ABRSM examinations (Merit/Distinction). He has mentored many successful university applications, including those for Oxbridge.
His students’ cognitive development and confidence has been further boosted by a busy enrichment programme, including about twenty musical events per year. Recent performances have included Vivaldi’s Gloria and Fauré’s Requiem, teatime and lunchtime concerts, jazz evenings, and several fully-staged musicals and operas. He runs daily lunchtime activities, including Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Senior Choir, Listening Club, Theory Club, Composition Club and Opera Club, and a weekly podcast showcasing students' performances and compositions. He has organised and led school music tours to Venice and Salzburg. The Venetian tour enabled his pupils to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria in the Pietè church (where the composer worked) on the 300th anniversary of its première and to sing Mass in St Mark’s Cathedral, which included two of Chris' own compositions. The Salzburg trip included a concert of church music at Mondsee Abbey and an outdoor recital on the shores of the Wolfgangsee.
Chris has been composing music since the age of 10. At the age of 15, he entered the inaugural BBC Young Composer of the Year with a piano concerto, symphony and string quartet. His recent compositions include Mass for St Cecilia’s Day for school choir and orchestra and the Christmas carol Go To the Child for unaccompanied four-part choir. He is currently working on a musical which will receive its première next year. He particularly enjoy teaching harmony and composition to GCSE/A Level students, who in turn have developed their skills and achieved high grades for their work.
Chris is a skilled and versatile keyboard player, with excellent sight-reading skills. He is equally at home in a range of styles, from classical to pop, rock and jazz. He has accompanied whole operas and musicals from the keyboard, as well as played in chamber groups and jam sessions. He plays the piano on a daily basis for class lessons, rehearsals and assemblies. He has accompanied many pupils for ABRSM examinations and A Level recitals. He also plays the organ at his local church, and as such have gained valuable experience in leading and accompanying music for the liturgy.
Chris frequently integrates Music Technology into his teaching, using specialist music software such as Garage Band and Logic Pro (on the iMac) and Audacity, Cubase, Soundation and Sibelius (on the PC). He has also taught music technology in school recording studio and technology suites (one with iMacs and one with PCs). Several of his composition projects at KS3 and GCSE are based on music technology, for example, in Year 9, using a sequencer for Electronic Dance Music and notation software for Minimalism.
Chris has worked on many primary school liaison projects: mentoring sixth-form pupils in leading steelpan workshops, adjudicating a House Music Competitions, and devising/leading workshops on The Magic Flute and Amahl and Night Visitors.
Chris has a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from the University of Birmingham, a Postgraduate Certificate of Education from University College Worcester, and an Independent Schools' Qualification in Academic Management (Level 2), accredited by University College London. He is currently studying for a part-time Master's degree in Learning and Teaching from the University of Oxford.