A Little Bit About Me...
I am a musician, teacher, author, and therapeutic sound artist.
I trained at the Royal College of Music in London, graduating after 5 years of full-time study with a Master of Music degree.
I play many instruments, including the classical guitar, the medieval harp, a range of recorders and tin whistles, and the piano. I sing, in choirs and alone. I compose, for guitar and harp, and also make original arrangements for those instruments.
Music for Wellbeing
At the heart of everything I do, is my belief that making music can improve our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Taking time out to create beautiful music can bring greater balance, peace, and purpose to our day. I hope that every one of my students feels better for having music in their lives.
In the words of Kahlil Gibran :
"Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life, bringing peace"
For many years I have been exploring how mindful movement and body-work can benefit musicians. I have studied the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, Pilates, Mindful Yoga and T'ai Chi. In their various ways, they all encourage balance, fluidity and alignment - and combine muscular strength with conscious relaxation in a measured and mindful way. I integrate these principles into pupils' lessons. The posture can become a better support to the arms, the hands can work more efficiently and accurately, and the musical expression can sing more freely.
I spent some years researching why so many musicians are affected by stress, tension, and playing-related injuries. My book 'Musicians Injuries - A Guide to their Understanding and Prevention' was published by Parapress in 1998, under my maiden name of Nicola Culf.
I have been consulted by many musicians who are affected by these issues, and have given workshops and lectures on the subject. I work closely with my students to ensure they always work comfortably within their physical limits.
Mindfulness and Meditation
I practise Mindfulness and Meditation on a daily basis. This again has much to teach the musician. Creating an inner stillness, freeing the mind of its unnecessary 'clutter', is often what is needed to allow one's authentic musical expression to flow.
The Musical Child
When it comes to working with children, I am influenced by the musical teachings of Zoltan Kodaly, particularly in the early stages of learning an instrument. I have also studied the work of Emile Dalcroze, whose system of 'Eurythmics' aims to teach music largely through movement. Alongside these great musical pedagogues, Rudolf Steiner's insightful approach to education guides and inspires me.
All of these interests and influences (and many more besides) have been added over the years into a great big melting-pot. Out of this, my approach to playing, teaching and mentoring others, has developed and evolved.