Mentor (PGC, CME) – strings
Mathew first began playing the violin at the age of 11 and the viola aged 14, with Martin Gadd at Brentwood County High School, in Essex. Martin was incredibly patient with him and somehow managed to enable him to play both instruments, despite Mathew’s all-consuming obsession with horse riding!
He never planned to study music, but aged 18 suddenly found himself on an undergraduate course at the Colchester Institute, where he continued to study both the viola and violin with Margaret Williams (AKA Mrs Parfitt). She was an absolutely amazing teacher and he really owes his entire career to her perseverance and the encouragement of him to achieve his potential. Frequently in his lessons with Margaret, Mathew would be faced with the challenging question of ‘how would you teach that?’ – a strategy that really helped him to come to grips with the technical processes involved in playing the viola. He was also fortunate, whilst at Colchester, to participate in numerous masterclasses with the Endellion String Quartet and Nash Ensemble.
After graduation, studies continued with Margaret whilst beginning a teaching career for the London Borough of Havering, teaching both the violin and viola. He also tutored for the junior string ensembles in his home town of Brentwood, learning a great deal from working alongside another amazing string teacher, Ann Elderton.
A period followed teaching bowed strings for the Forces Schools in Germany, based at the music centre of King’s School, Gutersloh. On returning to the UK, he took up a position with the Norfolk Music Service, with whom he worked for 23 years, with a short break to study further and be head of a music department in a school for children with learning difficulties. He eventually rose to be Head of Strings for the Service, a role he enjoyed immensely.
There have been two periods of studying the viola at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with Mark Knight and also a Master of Arts in Music Education at Trinity College of Music. Mathew is lucky to have benefitted from training in Dalcroze Rhythmics, mainly with Jacqueline Vann, and uses this and the Kodaly approach extensively in his string teaching. Mathew holds a PGCE in Primary Education.
A long standing and active member of the European String Teachers Association, Mathew has been on the management committee, the executive committee, held the post of external relations officer and spent four years editing their magazines. Currently, he is the Regional Officer for Norfolk and writes a series of Blogs for the Association that can be read at www.estastrings.org.uk/blog.
Pupils have successfully been members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain www.nyo.org.uk , the Norfolk County Youth Orchestra www.opennorwich.org.uk/youth-activities/norfolk-county-youth-orchestra, participated on Pro Corda courses www.procorda.com and gained places as Junior Exhibitioners at London Conservatoires. They have also been successful at gaining awards for their studies from AYM www.a-y-m.org.uk.
Mathew teaches at the GSMD’s Centre for Young Musicians in Norwich www.ncym.co.uk , where he is about to start a ‘Prelude to String Playing’ project aimed at young players and a primary school in Cambridge, along with private pupils at his home in rural Norfolk. He is also Education Officer for the British Viola Society – www.britishviolasociety.co.uk.
As a player, Mathew can be seen playing in the viola sections of the Academy of St Thomas in Norwich www.academyofstthomas.com and the East Anglian Chamber Orchestra www.eacho.org.uk. He is also a member of the viola section of Opera de Bauge in France www.operadebauge.fr and freelances across the East Anglian region.
Mathew continues his viola studies with the British Violist, Martin Outram and plays on a viola made by Robin Aitchison and a violin by Tibor Szemmelveisz.