Teacher focus: Julia Harding Jump to main content

Teacher focus: Julia Harding

It's good to share... sometimes!

Juggling… spinning plates… running from here to there and everywhere…it’s that kind of week again. And it’s that time of year! We teach children to share but the problem is they think that this includes the common cold!

Monday starts with some instrumental teaching in a secondary school followed by curriculum and Wider Opportunities guitar teaching in a primary school. We have just about sorted everything out for the Christmas Tree dedication service, including a Christmas Superheroes chant to fit in with their curriculum theme. Several children and staff are absent from school and even the ones who are in are still ‘sharing’ their coughs and splutters. We play some Christmas songs with the children working in small groups and maintaining independent parts. Progress!

Tuesday, the cold looms, but it is my management day, so I drive to the office to meet with various managers and lead a development review a member of my teaching team. I get back home just in time to have some tea and go to our orchestra rehearsal loaded-up with clarinet, alto sax and bass clarinet.

The beginning of Wednesday means a sore throat. Lesson plans need to be adjusted as there is no possibility of being able to sing all afternoon. However, the older classes have really got the hang of playing Jingle Bells on the glockenspiels and the younger children are starting to describe how emotions are shown in music. Progress!

Band practice follows, and I am really beginning to struggle with directing as my voice fades. Nevertheless, we have now cracked ‘Wicked’ which is the new piece for our next gig and the band still seems to be the happy supportive community that it has always been. Progress and good sharing!

On Thursday I am forced to admit defeat as there is no voice left, so I stay at home, working on my management duties which include organising concerts for schools, coordinating exam board visits and sending concert details to the council. Later, I see my private pupils as I can talk enough for one-to-one teaching but try to avoid sharing anything except my expertise!

On Friday I teach in three schools, then it’s a dash to get home in time for an evening concert. The soloists play well, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, but as I keep conducting my throat becomes drier. It’s been a privilege to conduct this orchestra over the last eleven years and this is the best kind of sharing – even the audience and players share a good natter at the interval.

Saturday is a morning of ‘leisure’, so it’s off to music centre to practise playing my oboe and my oboe lesson before I get chance to stop…finally… and I realise that it has been a rather busy week! Sunday means our regular afternoon playing clarinet and flute duets, sharing interesting and unusual repertoire which is musically and instrumentally challenging.

And then it all starts over again…juggling…spinning…and sharing…here, there and everywhere!

Julia is the Musical Director of KEMS Concert Band and plays in KEMS
Orchestra and the Conductor of Newcastle Under Lyme String Orchestra. She is a Manager for a Music Service in the North West Midlands and has a private teaching practice at her home in Macclesfield.