In association with
Miss Elinor Tolfree
Justine Date: October 2014
As a dyslexic student I have found that Elinor has used a variety of teaching methods and teaching aids which have made the music come alive for me. As a result I got distinction for my grade five and am now working towards grade six. I'm a teenager and she is very understanding and gauges the kind of mood I'm in and can tailor the lesson accordingly!
Mikaila Date: October 2014
The pupil teacher relationship is fantastic which has helped my dyslexic daughter bring out her musical talent. This would have been lost with a conventional teacher. Lessons are relaxed and fun. You don't have any pressure or worries about how long it takes to reach a goal.
Heather Date: November 2014
I came to Elinor as an adult (50+) learner with previous music knowledge, but having no experience of wind instruments. Elinor is an excellent teacher with the ability to pitch her teaching at just the right level for the person in front of her and she uses a variety of learning styles to aid understanding. She has a wealth of musical experience to share and clearly enjoys teaching. I am enjoying our lessons and will be continuing!
Renee Date: November 2014
I came to Elinor late in life and found that her love of music and the teaching of it, matched only by her great ability to do so, made her the best teacher I have had. She has helped me to overcome problems which I had previously glossed over and avoided. I would recommend her to old and young alike as she makes the lessons fit the person.
Sally Date: November 2014
Our children have been attending lessons with Elinor for 15 years, starting with the toddler music group running through to grades, GCSE and 'A' Level music (with a number of music awards along the way). Elinor has enthused them in music, not just as an academic subject but as a life skill and source of great pleasure. My youngest intends to make a career in music. Elinor has a gift with relating to children of all ages. She is able to communicate with grace and humour no matter with what mood she is presented!
Ed Date: November 2014
Having attended lessons for over 10 years with Elinor, first learning saxophone purely, and then learning almost everything I needed for both GCSE (A*) and A Level on top of Grade 5 Theory, moving onto Grade 6 Theory - pop theory, jazz theory and classical. I must say it has been not only enjoyable and helpful, but has propelled me into the world of music in way I always hoped I would. Working in music has been a great dream of mine for many years, but with these lessons I've not only gained the knowledge and skills needed to get on any University courses in said field, but also the confidence to do so. I have now secured a place to study for a degree in music.
Alison Date: November 2014
My older son learnt saxophone for four years to grade five standard. Having sat in on his lessons I then decided to take his place when he had reached his own personal goal. I really look forward to my lessons. I am learning totally from scratch - I didn't have that opportunity as a child. It's fantastic - escape time, me time, away from the family, spending time on something that opens up a whole new world. I can now read and write music, improvise and pick out a tune by ear. Now my youngest son has come for lessons. I can share with him and understand what he's learning. We have fun together speaking the same language of MUSIC.
Anthea Date: December 2014
I was given a Bb clarinet as a present for my 69th birthday as I had expressed a belated desire to learn an instrument. I was lucky enough to be put in touch with Elinor Tolfree who has now been my teacher for the past three years. Elinor has been very gentle with me as a new "old learner" and I have progressed, I think, reasonably well. She never bullies me or makes me feel bad if I don't understand something which should probably be very obvious. My hourly lessons are once per fortnight which is, for me, exactly right. They are very relaxed and a mixture of learning to play, theory and sometimes I overlap with Elinor's next pupil to play duets. I find that I now take great pleasure in trying to play a variety of styles from classical, via the old standards, through to traditional jazz (my favourite genre). I know that I shall not be another Emma Johnson but I am, with Elinor's help, satisfying a long-held ambition.
Jill Date: May 2015
I retired and, having time to do some of the things I've always wanted to do, I have now completed about five months tuition with Elinor - learning to play the clarinet and learning to read music. Whether during my individual lessons or joint lessons that I also have, with a friend who wants to improve his playing, Elinor makes every lesson interesting, informative, challenging - and fun ! I'm still 'squeaking' bit I find I am making fewer each week. I thoroughly recommend Elinor's teaching - it is a breath of fresh air.
Trevor Date: February 2016
As an adult learner with no formal music training, and an ambition to become a competent saxophonist; Elinor’s holistic approach to musicianship was perfect. I was also impressed by her commitment and enthusiasm to my learning objectives, underpinned by her many years of successful students
Helen Date: February 2016
I have known Elinor for over nine years as my music teacher and, now, friend. I first met her when I decided (at the age of 65) to learn to play a musical instrument and chose the clarinet. I find her a very patient and knowledgeable teacher who has taught me from knowing nothing to reaching grade 5. Having eventually passed the grade 5 exam, I felt that was my limit, but still wanted to continue with some other lessons so we went back to the beginning again with the flute and after nearly three years, she has somehow got me to pass grade 3 level. Elinor is equally at home teaching both children and adults, each of which require a different approach and I enjoy it very much when she organises group playing from time to time. Again she makes the sessions enjoyable while we all learn a lot. Without really appearing to, Elinor gets the best out of everyone and has us doing things we thought we never could! I think it is important to learn with enjoyment and Elinor achieves this very well.
Miriam Date: February 2017
You know when you have the bright idea to learn an instrument and you buy one and it stays in the spare room for years and you never get to grips with it, well my experience with Elinor is nothing like that! On my first meeting with Elinor I was so enthused about the clarinet, that I left her house with a new spring in my step. Elinor is incredibly welcoming and engaging, making you feel instantly at ease. She is a natural teacher with a wealth of experience, and you learn so much in such a short time that you really feel - wow, I could actually learn to play this clarinet! I've been practising all weekend, I can't wait for my next lesson and I really believe that Elinor will be able to teach me to play - so exciting!
M Date: April 2017
I'm an adult pupil with no previous experience of the clarinet (I hadn't even picked one up!) and I have just had my sixth lesson with Elinor. She has taught me an enormous amount already. I know about twenty notes, encompassing both the lower-range (chalumeau) and the mid-range (clarion). I can play around 10-12 little pieces, some with more confidence than others, but I'm sight-reading music, which I haven't done since I was in junior school playing the recorder, which was some time ago! Elinor has taught be about note types, time signatures and musical keys, but does it all with a very light touch, so she gently fills your head with musical language and some how you begin to pick it all up. I've also learnt about posture and mouth position (embouchure) which is very helpful to remind yourself to relax and "let the note come" when you're beginning to squeak and wobble. I'm thrilled at my progress, I really feel that I've made a huge amount of progress in such a short time, which would never have happened without such a great teacher. I would recommend Elinor's teaching and taking up an instrument to anyone. It's great fun, a real challenge and you get a tremendous sense of achievement when it goes right! Thank you Elinor :)
Julie Date: April 2017
My daughter won a music scholarship to one of the specialist music schools thanks to Elinor's teaching. She is playing in the training orchestra and symphonic wind band as 1st bassoon. She recently however had to sub for the 1st bassoon in both the chamber orchestra and the wind ensemble (due to an audition for music college) and has been hailed by quite a few of the heads of department - who witnessed her playing the opening solo to the Mozart Requiem very beautifully - as a very good bassoonist so when they have a space, she is hoping to move up to symphony orchestra etc - certainly next year if things don't change.
Laura Date: April 2017
There are many music teachers with a real passion for music but Elinor has a wonderful way of sharing that passion to give her students a holistic knowledge of instruments and music. Elinor has been working with my son Joey trying out a number of instruments and we have now settled on a combination of piano improvisation and playing the ukulele……an unusual combination but one that they are both thoroughly enjoying!
Sarah Date: December 2017
Elinor has a genuine gift for teaching. She identifies the individual needs of each student and intuitively and skilfully tailors her teaching approach to each one: there is no ‘one size fits all’. This past year, before I came to Elinor, I have lacked direction in my music and with that my self belief and confidence had all but disappeared, to the extent that I was close to giving up. Within just a few months, Elinor has helped me rebuild lost confidence, rekindle self belief and with that rediscover my passion for music and the saxophone. Thanks to Elinor I am excited about my music once more. I will never give up. I am excited about the journey ahead and know that I have the opportunity to make great strides under Elinor’s tutelage.

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