Teacher Profile

Mrs Caitlin Mbewe

Music

I am classically trained, with an ARCM performer’s diploma in the cello and Grade 8 distinctions in both piano and cello. An important part of my musical training was competing in music festivals, which I did from the age of six both as a soloist and with others for duets and trios. Prizes I have won include four Associated Board prizes for very high exam marks as well as many trophies at festivals. I was principal cellist in Stockport Youth Orchestra and performed Saint-Saens cello concerto with them.

My first job was playing the piano for a local ballet class. When I left school, I took a gap year to focus on music, which was when I obtained my diploma in cello performance. I was awarded an Instrumental Scholarship (cello) to New College in the University of Oxford. During my degree, music was a big part of my life, as I took part in many concerts, both as soloist and accompanist, also performing in piano duets, string quartets, and orchestras. I now enjoy teaching both piano and cello to a wide range of students.

Teaching has always been a part of my life. I taught Physics for six years after university (three years in England and three in Zimbabwe, which included teaching the physics of music at A-Level) and also home-schooled and taught piano to my three daughters. Our family lived in Mozambique as missionaries for many years, during which time I developed a literacy scheme in the local language, training local people to teach reading in remote areas where there were no schools.

I currently teach piano and cello from beginner level to Grade 8. I am a member of The Curious Piano Teachers, and through the resources of this community I am continually honing my teaching skills, improving my teaching practice, and staying in touch with the latest research and teaching techniques. I am also a member of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA).

Why study music?

The more I have grown in my Christian faith the more I have been able to enjoy the good gifts that God has given us in our world, of which music is one. My aim is to teach music from this perspective, and to help children to feel some of the joy and wonder not just of music itself, but how it points to our Creator. Like all God’s gifts it can be used for good or evil, and, as part of the course, we consider examples of both and how the music relates to the prevailing culture and worldview. In my own experience I found that music as a discipline complemented my other more book-related studies in a way that helped me to succeed at both.

What I offer in my music course

Unfortunately, it is not practical for most home schoolers to complete a GCSE course in music due to the problem of finding a venue at which to be assessed. However, home schoolers have been accepted for A-Level music courses in schools with ABRSM Grade 5 Theory (which has three quarters of the credit value of a GCSE) and musical appreciation skills.

My course includes preparing students for Grade 5 Theory but in a way that the students develop their aural skills. I teach musical appreciation in the context of the history of Western music, but also other genres. Basics of improvisation and composition are also taught. This gives my students not only a recognised qualification but also the right knowledge base should they wish to go on to study A-Level Music.

I am flexible and willing to work with parents and children to adapt the course to the needs of a particular class, so please feel free to let me know what aspects of music education you feel are particularly important for your child.

I offer the following PX Classroom courses:

Enriched ABRSM Music Theory Grade 5

Course prerequisites: A basic knowledge of musical notation (i.e. the stave and simple note values) and access to a piano or keyboard (a cheap one would be perfectly adequate).

Introduction to Classical Music

A popular, one-term course. No prior knowledge of classical music is required.

Testimonials

I found Mrs Mbewe’s teaching of music theory and musicianship very beneficial. She helped me grasp complex musical concepts in a way which worked well for me and helped me build a strong musical foundation. This substantially contributed to a high distinction in my ABRSM Grade 8 Classical Singing exam, which includes significant aural, sight-reading, and musicianship tests. Mrs Mbewe is not only an outstanding musician, but an excellent teacher.

Cassia M.

Aged 16