Thank you to Charlotte Tomlinson for joining us in the Motherhood Diaries’ hot seat for our very first 5-minute interview! Very excited to kick start this debut interview with a very talented musician and mentor.
Table of Contents
Motherhood Diaries (MD) – Tell us a little bit about yourself, Charlotte.
Charlotte Tomlinson (CT) – I am a musician first and foremost. I read music at York University and then went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London to do a post-graduate course in piano accompaniment. I lived in Hong Kong for 5 years in the 1990’s working as a musician, coach, teacher, radio presenter and more, and then spent many years in London. Now I am settled in the university city of Oxford, where I teach a lot of music students from the University itself although I am starting to travel to give talks and master classes around the country.
MD – What made you become an educator and specialist in helping musicians overcome their issues related to performing?
CT – I discovered partly through my own experience of having the beginnings of tendonitis at music college and partly through seeing my own students struggle with nerves, self-belief and confidence, that there was almost an epidemic of these issues amongst musicians, and that nobody was talking about them. They appear to stem from a culture of negative criticism and judgment that is still very prevalent in the classical music world. I feel passionate that musicians should not have to struggle in this way, and that their lives and their playing would be considerably enriched if they could learn to be kinder to themselves, and if this could be built into the culture.
MD – Where do you currently teach and mentor musicians?
CT – I work from my studio in Oxford and on Skype. I can also work from London by mutual arrangement.
MD – In your article, ‘Teaching children: criticism or praise?’ you state that negative criticism achieves very little in terms of educating children in music. You also claim that too much praise can hinder a child’s learning. How would you advocate teaching music for children?
CT – I think children need lots of fun and encouragement to get them inspired. They also need to be given clear boundaries and a good structure. They need to learn how to work but that shouldn’t be hard and tedious. Work is more about learning to ‘engage’ with what they are doing and be involved in it. They also need to learn commitment by ‘turning up’ regularly – that may only be 5 minutes a day, but that is where commitment starts.
MD – Where can we find more information on your services?
CT – My website – www.charlottetomlinson.com – is very comprehensive with the opportunity to have live chat with me. I can also be found on Twitter – charlotte_music; LinkedIn and I have my own Facebook page, Charlotte Tomlinson.
MD – What are you working on now?
CT – I am writing articles for national music magazines on issues of nerves and injury and I am preparing a series of videos on skills connected with learning the piano, which I will be selling from my website in the next couple of months.
MD – You have written a book called ‘Music from the Inside Out’. Can you tell us a little bit of what it’s about?
CT – Music from the Inside Out is an easy-to-read book that covers all the issues that might get in the way of musicians performing at their peak. I cover topics such as motivation, how to transform the Inner Critic, dealing with performance nerves, how to practise and how to deal with performance-related injuries. It is directed towards musicians (student and professional) but the themes I cover are universal. We all come across our Inner Critic! I have had wonderful feedback from readers who are not musicians who say that it has been invaluable to them despite its musical bias, and many parents have found it incredibly helpful in terms of general parenting skills.It is available as a paperback and e-book on Amazon and from my website.
MD – Do you have a composer/musician you look up to? Who is your inspiration?
CT – I recently saw the world famous violinist Maxim Vengerov give a master class to talented student violinists in Oxford. He gave them pearls of wisdom, enabled them to play at their peak and was incredibly generous and supportive as well as being a top-class player himself. He has all the values that I feel are important.
MD – Any words of wisdom for young inspiring musicians out there?
CT – Make sure you find a teacher you find inspiring, encouraging and good. Don’t settle for a teacher who everyone says is good but who treats you badly and abusively. And keep your love for music alive!
MD – Finally, what is your favourite hour in the day?
CT – I can’t say I have a favourite hour as such but I do love waking up when the sun is shining – I feel so much more energised to get up and enjoy the day!
If you are interested in following Charlotte Tomlinson’s journey, here is how you can get in contact:
Mobile: +44(0)7970 850 057
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