Monday, 12 December 2011

Justine Pierre

Kia ora all.  I’m Justine and since I’m going to be nosey-ing in on creative people I know, I guess it’s only fair I start with myself.

I’m primarily a freelance music teacher – I teach everything from pre-school music to classroom ukulele to advanced levels on the flute.  This space is where I teach my private flute students.

This space is fantastic for me.  I love the fact that it’s like a little village in this building.  There’s always so much going on – dancers racing about, artists, designers and other music teachers too.  I also really like the historical link with the building.  It’s a former school, and in the 1930s/40s it was the school for music education in the country.  I wrote part of my Master’s thesis on the music programmes offered at the King Edward Tech.  Also, this was my grandmother’s high school, back in the day.

I like to think I’m keeping part of that link of music education going.  My music teacher in high school was taught at Teacher’s College by the former teacher of this school – so there’s a direct link!

I just have a little room, one of the smallest in the building (other than the broom closet a saxophonist rents to practice in!).  Comfortably you can fit 4 people in here, although with some chamber music practices we’ve managed to squeeze in about 6. 

Luckily for me there was an inbuilt cupboard which is where I store most of my music.  I bought a set of kitset shelves to store the rest.  As a music teacher you’re always picking up bits of music from random sources – 2nd hand shops, former students, grandparents of students.  I have it arranged according to the historical period it was written in – otherwise I’d never find anything.  Chamber music (music for groups) is in its own set of folders, though they’re not very organised at the moment. 

There’s a huge blackboard in my room – ostensibly for teaching, but generally just becomes a big message/scribble board for my students.  I quite like that – I like to foster the community aspects of music-making.  Most of my students have become friends either through the board, or through other music activities.

I have a couch in one corner where parents can sit.  I used to have music magazines there, but no-one ever really read them.  Now I have a folder where I photocopy a new article each week.

I also have my grandmother’s old radiogram.  Most kids have never seen a record player, let alone one in action.  Most of them just think it’s a table.

The middle of the room is an open space where I have a music stand.  I stand on the right of my students so I can see what their fingers are doing.

I teach flute from beginners to advanced levels.  I’ve had students go on to study flute at university which is really exciting.  I like my lessons to be fairly relaxed and informal, but I do expect high standards.  Some of my students play flute for fun, some want to progress through exams and others want to go on and make music a career.  I like having the variety.  I’m constantly evaluating the way I teach and always try to improve on what I do.  My youngest student is 7 and the oldest (at the moment) is just finishing university.  I have had many adult students over the years too.

My favourite aspect of the space is the round window in the door and also the view from the window overlooking York Place/Stuart Street.  I love looking out over the rooftops.

I don’t share the space with anyone.  A few years ago I used to share a studio with 2 others in a different building.  It was quite nice to have other creative things happening in the room, but with my timetable being so erratic it made more sense for me to have my own space.

I moved into this space about 5 years ago after the building I was in closed its doors to tenants in order for an upgrade into flash offices.  The building I was in before that became flash apartments.  Hopefully, this building will remain just as it is!

To contact me about flute lessons or to be featured on this blog, feel free to email me   

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