Emily Blackford, PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching, 2017

What were you doing before your PGCE?

I started my PGCE straight after finishing my Undergraduate Degree at The University of Birmingham, where I studied Music. 

What was your musical background?

My first instrument is flute and I specialised in flute performance at university. I played in the University Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras alongside other ensembles such as The New Music Ensemble and Wind Band. During my PGCE year I have had the opportunity to continue flute lessons with a tutor at the RNCM, which has really helped me to keep a high standard of playing. I had very little experience of playing other woodwind instruments prior to my PGCE year, however my skills on these instruments have hugely developed through teaching, and lessons at the RNCM, during the year.

What made you choose this particular course?

I have always wanted to be a music teacher, but having had little experience of teaching prior to my PGCE, I was unsure whether I wanted to go into classroom teaching, or whether I would prefer instrumental teaching. This course seemed perfect, as it allowed me to have the experience of teaching music in a range of different educational settings, allowing me to work out exactly the type of teacher I wanted to be. Another aspect that attracted me to this course was the tuition that we got from the RNCM – no other music PGCE course offered such a strong link with a Conservatoire or the chance to do a placement with a music service, therefore this course was the ideal choice.

How have you found the course?

The course has been very busy and challenging, yet extremely rewarding.  Having had the opportunity to work in a variety of different educational settings and meet so many like-minded people has been brilliant. Although the workload is challenging, the support from mentors and tutors has been outstanding – you always know that there is someone willing to help whenever you need it.

What was the best thing about the course?

For me, the best thing about the course was my placement at Tameside Music Service. I absolutely loved the variety of teaching I got from working at the music service – every day was different and my week varied from teaching curriculum music at primary schools, leading the Wind Band, one-to-one instrumental tuition, and delivering Wider Opportunities Lessons. Another highlight was the sessions we had at the RNCM – having the chance to get back together with others on the course and having our eyes opened to a huge variety of teaching methods was inspiring.

What’s next for you?

As of September I will be a full-time woodwind teacher at Bolton Music Service, teaching a combination of Wider Opportunity lessons, one-to-one/small group instrumental teaching and directing ensembles.


Find out more about the PGCE programme here.