Teaching Diploma Mentoring

Opting to sit for one of many diplomas in music teaching is a big commitment, both in time, work and money. Being able to teach is one thing, but being able to demonstrate  your teaching skills and knowledge is another. Every candidate needs to go into the exam feeling thoroughly prepared and confident in their teaching ability. That’s why David offers mentoring for teachers via distance learning. The mentoring is cost-effective and flexible meaning it can be fitted in alongside your day-to-day work. There’s no attendance at a course or lessons, no assignments, and no deadlines: you get individually-tailored, bespoke, professional one-to-one support as and when you need it.

How does the mentoring work?

The mentoring, provided by e-mail, can cover all or any aspects of the diploma preparation. David will be able to answer the questions you have; guide and support your preparations; enable you to prepare for and be confident about the exam; and above all, ensure that you are 100% happy with what’s expected of you. Worksheets, guidance notes, recommendations for further reading and much more is provided, and all the support is 100% geared towards your individual needs. Past mentoring has included providing practice Viva Voce questions, and giving feedback on answers; helping with choosing and writing the Written Submission; listening to and giving feedback on Quick Study attempts; and advising on the choice of materials to take for the diploma exam.

What the mentoring isn’t…

The mentoring which David offers is not a course of study: there are no set study materials or curriculum; rather, the materials are provided as and when needed, and geared towards each individual learner.


The number of candidates David can offer mentoring to at any one time is inevitably limited. If there are currently no vacancies, David will attempt to notify when this changes.

What do previous candidates say?

“I really feel that the questions you sent me got me thinking along the right lines and most certainly helped on the day, in particular when going through the pieces with the examiner after my demonstration…I remember feeling that I had definitely thought about most of what they asked when sending my answers to you. Therefore a huge thank you to you!” (Claire, DipABRSM with Distinction, 2012)

“I would like to thank you for your help as your guidance and pointers were useful, especially with the written submission as I am not a writer myself” (Craig, DipABRSM, 2012)

“My teaching diploma went really well, thanks to your brilliant help! Your [viva voce] questions were so accurate! I had a brilliant experience, two really nice examiners…both were impressed with the Pneumo Pro and had to take down the name and website address!…It was such a brilliant experience, and I answered everything pretty well…thanks so much again” (Deirdre, DipABRSM with Distinction, 2012)

“The questions you had given me were spot on and covered all of the aspects that I was questioned on. Many thanks for your help” (Ann, DipABRSM, 2014)

“Many thanks indeed for this very, very useful feedback. I am really grateful to you. Your comments have helped me to address the basic issues more clearly.” (Stephen, DipABRSM, 2014)

“Huge thanks for your help over the month, it has been more than worth the fee.” (Rachel, DipABRSM, 2014)

“Many thanks for all your help, it really did make a difference…I now feel I would be able to start teaching again with confidence.” (Ann, DipABRSM, 2014)

“I think the overall experience has been useful, it has made me think hard about my practice, and to try out a lot of new ideas and approaches…I wouldn’t have considered doing a diploma without your tweets, and your guidance and suggested sources have made a huge different in my submission and the mark I got for that.” (Martin, DipABRSM, 2016)

How much does it cost?

If you are lucky enough to find a teacher who will offer face-to-face support (David is aware of only two other specialists), you could be paying around £60-£80 for an hour’s session. My fee for each diploma covers unlimited e-mail mentoring and support, plus worksheets, guidance notes etc. Remember, this is a cost-effective way of preparing for your diploma and you’re paying for a professional and bespoke service. For the equivalent of the three month’s unlimited support David offers, you might get only three hours’ face-to-face tuition.


As monthly instalments create extra admin, payments made in full attract a discount as listed below. Payment can be made by cheque or online bank transfer (standing orders are also encouraged for monthly instalments). The options below are the most common; other lengths of mentoring etc. are available too, please ask.

The following fees apply to anyone booking and paying from the 1st September, 2016:

One-off payment Monthly installments
1 month £80.00
3 months £195.00 £71.50
6 months £260.00 £47.50
9 months £325.00 £39.50
12 months £346.50 £32.00

David’s Experience

David has worked for 15 years as an instrumental and vocal teacher in private practice. His experience is wide-ranging having worked with all age groups, including adults; pupils from different backgrounds; and pupils with very different abilities and skills. He has sat many diplomas, including teaching diplomas, and he holds postgraduate qualifications in education, including the PGCPSE, PGDPSE and an MEd from The Open University. He is currently studying for a PhD in Music Education at the Royal College of Music, London.

If you want to ‘try before you buy’ feel free to e-mail a question about your teaching diploma, and David will be more than happy to give you a ‘taster’ of the mentoring provided. For more information, and for an informal ‘conversation’ about what he can offer, click here.

Facebook Group

We also have a closed Facebook group where current teaching diploma candidates can support each other, and also seek the advice of those who’ve already sat their diploma.

Face-to-Face Mentoring

If you are local to Lichfield or the surrounding area, or are prepared to travel, David does offer face-to-face mentoring for teaching diplomas (some people like to supplement their e-mail coaching with a few face-to-face sessions). These sessions are charged at David’s standard hourly teaching rate (see this page).

Recommended Reading for Teaching Diplomas

There are, of course, many many books available to help you prepare for your teaching diploma. Some boards provide a list of suitable reading, so it’s worth checking those out too. I’m often asked to recommend reading materials for teaching diploma candidates. There is, inevitably, a never-ending list of possible reads, so I present here some highlights:

General Instrumental Teaching

A Common Approach (now available to download here)
ABRSM (2009) Raising an Amazing Musician
Gane, P.M. (2006) Making Music: Creative Ideas for Instrumental Teachers
Hallam, S. (1998) Instrumental Teaching
Harris, P. (2006) Improve Your Teaching
Harris, P. (2008) Improve Your Teaching: Teaching Beginners
Harris, P. (2012) The Virtuoso Teacher
Harris, P. (2014) Simultaneous Learning
Harris, P. & Crozier, R. (2000) The Music Teacher’s Handbook
Mackworth-Young, L. (2000) Tuning In
O’Connor, J. (1987) Not Pulling Strings
Schnebly-Black, J. & Moore, S.F. (2004) Rhythm One-on-One
Stringer, M. (2005) The Music Teacher’s Handbook

General Music Education

Bachmann, M.L. (1991) Dalcroze Today
Fautley, M. (2010) Assessment in Music Education
Findlay, E. (1971) Rhythm and Movement
Green, B. (2012) The Inner Game of Music
Hallam, S. & Creech, A. (2010) Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom
Houlahan, M. & Tacka, P. (2001) Kodály Today
Mead, V.H. (1994) Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Today’s Music Classroom
Marcus, G. (2013) Guitar Zero
Odam, G. (1995) The Sounding Symbol
Schnebly-Black, J. & Moore, S.F. (2003) The Rhythm Inside
Swanwick, K. (1988) Music Mind Education
Swanwick, K. (1999) Teaching Music Musically

Group Teaching and Group Music-Making

ABRSM (2004) All Together
Everitt, A. (1997) Joining In


Elson, M. (2002) Passionate Practice
Harris, P. (2014) The Practice Process
Johnston, P. (2002) The Practice Revolution
Macmillan, J. (2010) Successful Practising
Snell, H. (2006) The Art of Practice
Westney, W. (2006) The Perfect Wrong Note


Greene, D. (2002) Performance Success
Roland, D. (1997) The Confident Performer
Any of the ABRSM A Performer’s Guide to… series for stylistic considerations

Business of Teaching

Johnston, P. (2003) Promoting Your Teaching Studio
Osborn, R. (2006) The Private Music Instruction Manual

Also, if you don’t subscribe already, Music Teacher magazine, the ISM’s Music Journal, and MMA’s Ensemble are all good magazines to read. There are, of course, many blogs and websites too, as well as many hundreds of instrument-specific books.

If you have any books you think should be highlighted above, please let me know!