Dr Sally Cathcart is a musician who just happens to be fascinated by the piano and all things to do with piano teaching. She runs a teaching studio and teaching the piano is still her greatest joy.
In 2015 she formed a partnership with Sharon Mark-Teggart and founded The Curious Piano Teachers. This is an online resource that provides an innovative and inspiring space for piano teachers across the world to meet, share, reflect and grow. thecuriouspianoteachers.org. Since its formation The Curious Piano Teachers has attracted a world-wide reputation for innovation and collaboration.
Her innate curiosity has taken her to many corners of the world to explore different approaches to music education. She was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2005 and this allowed her to visit South Africa, Hungary and Cuba and study the aural approaches to instrumental learning that can be found there. She returned with a greater understanding of the value of collaboration and community. As a direct result Sally founded the Oxford Piano Group, as a vibrant, collaborative place for pianists and teachers to meet and share experiences.
As well as having many years of piano teaching experience Sally is also an experienced classroom music teacher. Having spent 14 years as a Director of Music in a couple of schools she has a good understanding of the challenges facing many music departments.
In 2013 she was awarded a Ph.D from the Institute of Education, UCL. Her topic was the first comprehensive study of UK piano teachers, exploring common practices, expertise, values, attitudes and motivation to teaching.
Sally is very involved in teacher training for both piano teachers and classroom teachers. She has been a Principal Tutor on the Piano Teachers’ Course (UK) since 2001 and in this role she both gives lectures and acts as a tutor.
In addition Sally works as a piano syllabus consultant for ABRSM. Her ideas on sight-reading were developed by ABRSM into their Sight-Reading Trainer app. This has attracted considerable praise for its innovative and game based approach. She is a trained Kodály practitioner and has a reputation for delivering energetic and insightful training and courses. She was Musicianship Director of The Voices Foundation until 2022.
Sally is equally at home presenting workshops or giving lectures and this is something she does on a very frequent basis. She is currently writing a book on how to be a creative and curious piano teacher for Faber Music and is co-editor with Dr Christopher Fisher of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Piano Pedagogy.
RECENT PRESENTATIONS, PAPERS & WORKSHOPS INCLUDE
- Tuesday Teaching Tips, a weekly video of teaching ideas. goo.gl/Uqypnt
- The Little Shepherd by Debussy, a Musical Shower at Redefining Expectations, Belfast & Oxford 2018
- Piano Teaching for the 21st Century in a Nutshell: Music Education Expo, London, 2017
- Piano Teaching for the 21st Century in a Nutshell, EPTA UK Conference, Nottingham, 2017
- Songs and Games for Beginner Piano Lessons, Music Teachers National Association Conference, Baltimore, US, 2017
- The Lazy Piano Teacher workshop, Salisbury EPTA UK Wessex, 2016
- Messy Piano, EPTA (UK) conference in Cambridge, 2016
- Teacher Training Day, Cambridge Suzuki Training, 2016
- Teaching the Beginner Pianist International Society for Music Education Biannual Conference, Glasgow, 2016
- The Role of the Piano Tutor Book International Society for Music Education Biannual Conference, Glasgow, 2016
- Essential Musicianship for Teachers, parts 1 & 2, delivered on behalf of The Voices Foundation, 2016 & 2017
- 7 Steps to Sight-reading Success, Music Education and Drama Expo, 2016
- Let’s Play, Music Education Expo, 2014
- Teaching the Piano, Research h in Music Education Conference, Exeter University, 2011
- Breaking the Mould, The Reflective Conservatoire, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 2012
- Ready to Play, a series of musicianship books for young pianists, published in 2020 by Alfred UK
- The Curious Piano Teachers Blog. Since 2015 Sally has written a weekly, widely-read blog post on a wide variety of topics relating to piano teaching.
- Do you have what it takes to become a piano teacher? Pianist Magazine, December 2017
- Let’s Play, The Curious Piano Teachers. An online video series.
- A Social History of Piano Teaching. Piano Professional. Autumn 2016.
- Making Musicians - Lessons from Abroad. Piano Professional, EPTA UK. 2006
- Developing the Complete Pianist, British Journal of Music Education, Vol. 16 No. 3. 1999
LECTURING & MENTORING
Lecturer and supervisor on the MA module of the Music Teachers in Professional Practice course, University of Reading. 2005-2013.
PGCE tutor for music teacher trainees, University of Buckingham. 2005-2015.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS & AWARDS
Ph.D.The Institute of Education, University of London, 2013
Research title; ‘The UK Piano Teacher in the 21st Century’.
Research supervisor: Professor Susan Hallam
Winston Churchill Fellowship - Making Musicians; Lessons from Abroad. 2005
Certificate of Kodaly in Music Education, The British Kodaly Academy, 2000
MA in Music Education, The University of Reading 1997
Dissertation: ‘Developing the complete pianist: a study of a whole brain approach to piano teaching’
BA (hons) in Music, 2:1, Colchester Institute 1981
Sally is a FISM (Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians)