Mary studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where she gained a BA Hons and performing and teaching diplomas. She then completed a PGCE year at Birmingham University, which included what would prove to be an inspiring opportunity to observe Heather Clemson teaching violin in schools in the Birmingham area. Mary’s contact with the equally inspiring Heidi Nixon (then training on the Suzuki course) led to an interview with Sandwell Education Authority, who wanted to appoint a violin teacher interested in becoming a Suzuki Teacher.
Mary then completed the 5 levels of the Suzuki Teacher Training course while working in schools in the Sandwell area, bringing the teaching method to as many families as possible, with the support of Heidi Nixon and Andrew Crabtree – Suzuki trained colleagues – attending workshops (Birmingham, Ayr, Edinburgh, Bryanston, Cheltenham, Bristol, Paris) and large scale concerts in London and Birmingham. After 11 years, Mary moved to work for Worcestershire County Council as she was expecting her first baby and wanted to work near to where she lived, enabling maximum family time.
Mary worked for the music service in Worcestershire, now ‘Severn Arts’ for 20 years, which afforded her a great variety of music teaching experiences, including music curriculum class teaching from Nursery through to GCSE and ‘A’ Level, violin teaching, string orchestra directing, Youth Orchestra string coaching, running an Area Music Centre, liaising with schools and line managing other teachers.
Having now left employment with ‘Severn Arts’, Mary is really excited to be setting up an independent Suzuki Teaching practice at her home (to be called “The Violin Hut”, as the new entrance being built resembles a beach hut!), which will combine well with continuing to fill the role of ‘convenor’ for the Midlands Area Suzuki teachers. She is also taking up a part-time music teacher job at South Bromsgrove High School for students aged 13 – 18 years.
Mary has also recently rejoined ‘Orchestra of St John’ which is led by her past student, Charlotte Moseley and conducted by former CBSO cellist, Dr. Richard Jenkinson. July concerts included Wagner ‘Tannhauser Overture’, Sibelius 2ndSymphony and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Fresh out of ‘The Royal Northern’, with 12 concertos committed to memory, Charlotte says, “it was the Suzuki method that enabled me to memorise music confidently”.
Mary is very happy to have had the support of her wonderful husband, David, a musician, for 28 years and they have two fabulous, bright children, (it must have been the Suzuki lessons!), Reuben and Rachel, aged 19 and 17, who both love music – amongst many other things.