Pippa teaching bass Nov 09Pippa teaches according to the Suzuki approach, as a result of being brought up in this way by her mother Jenny Macmillan, a Suzuki piano teacher. Pippa is convinced of the musical, technical, and social benefits it brings to children. She is a Level 4 Suzuki cello teacher, accredited by the European Suzuki Association, and she also attended the first ever Suzuki double bass teacher training course to take place in Europe (Copenhagen) where she gained her Level 2 qualification.

The approach was devised by Dr Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) who established the principle that all children are able to learn to play a musical instrument in the same way that they all learn to speak their own language. With parental support, children can start learning the cello around the age of 4. Aspiring double bass players have to wait until they are 7 or so, though starting another instrument such as piano first is beneficial. Parents attend lessons and make notes so that they can practise with their child at home. Pupils keep up old repertoire and constantly work at musicality in well-known pieces. They arrive early or stay on after their lesson so that they can observe another child’s lesson, and as well as weekly individual lessons they have regular group lessons, working on skills such as ensemble and co-operation, and they provide an opportunity for social interaction with other pupils creating a motivating atmosphere. Group lessons are also great fun, with many games being played. Pippa uses Music Mind Games for teaching children to read music in individual and group lessons.

Linden during cello lessonOn completion of each Suzuki book, a pupil will perform the whole book in a recital, often combined with another pupil’s recital. Every term Pippa organises a pupils' concert, where everyone performs in solo and ensemble items. Pippa’s pupils have performed in major UK venues including all three halls at the Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall, and Symphony Hall (Birmingham). Many of her older pupils have played with the National Children’s Orchestra, and several now study at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.