In association with
Mr Thomas McFarlane

Grade 8 Clarinet - Distinction (2009)
A Level Music - A* (2011)
Instruments: Clarinet
Genre/Style(s): Classical
Chamber music
Show band
Concert band
Ability Levels: Beginners to Advanced


Friendly, enthusiastic and passionate about music-making, Thomas is a firm believer that the top priority when learning an instrument is having fun! Based in Cambridge, he is a key player on the University music scene: Last year he was Principal Clarinet of Cambridge University Orchestra, playing in venues across the city and on tour in Poland! He also plays in a trio, “Mamedmus” with cello and piano (click on the Multimedia tab to hear a recording!)

Thomas enjoys engaging with students, encouraging them to grow in confidence as musicians. He is very patient, and is able to connect with students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, putting them at ease and enabling them to flourish. Whilst he will of course help you to master the technical skills required to play your instrument, Thomas places particular emphasis on musicality: injecting some of your personality into your playing! Performing music is like story-telling without words. Playing the right notes is one thing, but its not enough. The range of sound ‘colours’ you can find, the energy and emotion you put into it, can transform your playing into spine-tingling, jaw-dropping, shocking music! Not only is this far more exciting to listen to, it’s a whole lot more fun to play!

Thomas is happy to prepare and enter students for ABRSM exams, and has experience of doing so. However, it is by no means necessary; he is also very happy to teach students who just want to learn casually.

Thomas always brings his instrument along to lessons to demonstrate things and play along with you. This interactive way of learning helps students to engage, and stretches their playing to achieve better results. It is also a lot more fun than having a teacher who doesn’t participate!

** Sound production and tone – how to use your body (diaphragm, ‘embouchure’, breathing) to produce a rich, high quality sound.
** Dynamics and articulation – the volume and attack of notes.
** Colour, style, mood – how to make the music sad, distant, spooky, exciting, scary, manic!
** Notation – how to read music.
** Music theory – how various musical elements are put together to produce the overall piece.

Thomas is most familiar with the classical music genre (solo/ orchestral/ chamber). However, he is very keen that students learn the music they want to play, be that film music, musical theatre, jazz, Disney… If you can find the sheet music, Thomas is happy to work on it with you!

In your first lesson (offered at half price!), Thomas will have a friendly chat with you about your musical experience to date, ask why you are seeking lessons now and what you hope to get out of them. He’ll tell you about his own experiences and how he might be able to offer the help you’re after to achieve your musical goals. You’ll then start with a warm up, playing some long notes in different registers to physically warm the instrument up and work on your sound.

If you already play the instrument, it would be great if you could bring along a piece you’ve been working on. Thomas will listen to you play the piece and then chat with you about how you felt the performance went. He’ll give some suggestions of things to try to help bring the music to life and make it more exciting. He’ll play the tricky passages with you and help you to find ways around the problem. Towards the end of the lesson Thomas will help you to come up with a plan of action: what to practice and how. It can be fun to just play through pieces, but it's not necessarily the best way to improve. Learning how to practice will help you to achieve the results you are after much more quickly, and make playing your instrument more rewarding.

Complete beginners are very much welcomed! Music-making is such a joy and a life-enriching hobby to have, and Thomas will do all he can to make getting started on your chosen instrument as enjoyable and stress free as possible. If you don’t yet have an instrument of your own, Thomas is willing to let students have a go on his in their trial lesson and he can give advice about what would be a good instrument to buy, what reeds are required etc.

Contact Thomas

Address: Cambridge
Mobile: 07707067030
Fee (30 minutes): £20.00
Fee (60 minutes): £35.00

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