St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh has appointed Dr Valerie Pearson as its new Head of Strings. A gifted violin performer, composer and teacher, her appointment reflects the school’s unique approach to drawing out and developing young musical talent across different genres and music disciplines.
She joins St Mary’s Music School, one of five government-supported specialist music schools in the UK, having studied at the University of York, where her interest in modern music, and in the relationship between performer, composer and audience formed the basis of her doctoral research. In the course of her work, Valerie has developed innovative ways of combining performance and composition through improvisation.
While completing her PhD, Valerie also began building a private teaching practice that became highly successful and widely sought after. That wealth of experience as a teacher now ranges from starting three-year-old Suzuki violinists to leading university projects, as well as teaching at international summer music schools.
Over the course of her teaching she has created a close network of confident young players through extra group activities, chamber music and concerts, and enjoyed supporting them in their successes in national competitions, and National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and conservatoire auditions.
A key part of Valerie’s new role at St Mary’s Music School is to develop the School’s outreach programme and help realise the School’s ambition to partner with other leading music organisations to widen access to music progression for young musicians across Scotland.
Dr Kenneth Taylor, Headteacher at St Mary’s Music School, welcomed Valerie at the start of the new term. He said:
“Valerie’s passion for music and music teaching is palpable and we are delighted to have brought her to Edinburgh. The innovative approach she brings to her classes will extend and develop the talents of our young musicians helping them to seize the opportunities of a rewarding music career, whatever their background or wherever they are based in Scotland.”
“Having studied the violin with Diana Cummings at the Royal Academy of Music I saw a deep understanding of the physiology of playing, which completely transformed my relationship with the violin, and this has been a huge influence on my own teaching.
“I am really looking forward to starting at St Mary’s and having the wonderful opportunity of working with the talented young pupils who are passionate about their music!”