Who am I? Hello! I’m Isla Ratcliff, a Scottish traditional fiddle player, singer and composer, classical violinist and pianist, community music practitioner and music teacher, currently studying for a DipABRSM Teaching Diploma.
What do I teach? I teach Scottish traditional fiddle, classical violin, classical piano and music theory, as well as musicology for students sitting National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher SQA exams.
Who do I teach? I give one-to-one instrumental and theory lessons to beginners, intermediates and advanced pupils of all ages. I give musicology lessons to secondary school students studying National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher Music. You might want to learn for fun, you might want to sit ABRSM or SQA exams, you might want to refresh your playing ability, you might want to improve a specific technique, you might want to expand your repertoire, you might want to learn by ear, you might want to learn by reading sheet music, you might be a classical musician wanting to explore Scottish traditional music or vice versa, or you might want support with your school academic music exams. Whatever your motivation, I am here to help you.
What is my teaching methodology? I tailor each lesson to suit the needs of each individual student. My teaching method is influenced by my personal experience of learning through the Suzuki method and by the research that I have conducted on the positive impact of music on our mental wellbeing. I value the importance of praise, fun and hard work. Music is an enjoyable activity!
What is my teaching experience?
1. I have delivered weekly private tuition since 30 November 2017. My students are thoroughly enjoying their lessons and are improving quickly.
2. I was Volunteer Music Teacher at Tender Talents Magnet School in August-September 2014, a music school for vulnerable children in Kasangati, Uganda. I taught violin and music theory, led choir rehearsals, and founded and conducted Tender Talents Symphony Orchestra. In total, I taught 31 students aged 7-18. By the end of the month, my students were visibly happier and more confident, both in their musical abilities and in their personal lives.
3. I was Assistant Teacher at a Suzuki violin group class for 4-16 year olds in March-October 2012.
4. I was Assistant Teacher at Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin for 9-18 year olds in April 2016.
5. I ran a songwriting session with school pupils at Craigroyston High School in 2014.
6. I helped to facilitate a 9-week songwriting project for people with dementia and their carers in January-March 2016.
What are my qualifications? BA Music (First Class), DipABRSM Violin (Pass), Grade 8 piano (Distinction), AMusTCL Theory and Composition (Pass), Grade 8 theory (Merit), Advanced Higher Music (A), Higher Music (A), Intermediate 2 Music (A). I am currently studying for a DipABRSM Teaching Diploma.
Where did I receive my musical education? Suzuki violin and piano lessons aged 5-12, City of Edinburgh Music School violin and piano lessons aged 13-17, University of Oxford BA Music 2014-2017
What is my performance experience? I am an alumna of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra. I gave numerous solo and ensemble performances under the auspices of school and university, including annual solo performances in the Edinburgh Competition Festival 2005-2014 and a duet performance with Nicola Benedetti to 2,900 people in the Usher Hall aged 13. I toured Scotland for 4 weeks in a 4-person Scottish traditional music band as part of the Fèis Rois National Cèilidh Trail 2017 in July-August 2017, following which I appeared on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Take The Floor' programme.
What is my composition experience? I have composed two short film scores, two theatrical scores and several songs, one of which was Winner in the Lyrics category and Runner-up in the Performance category of Amnesty International's Power of our Voices competition 2013.
Brilliant teacher, very professional and a lovely person.
My daughter is really enjoying her violin lessons.