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ESTA MA Music – Strings

About the course

The instrumental teaching profession demands constant reflection and improvement from its practitioners. This course will help you to validate your personal development and formalise your academic qualification to teach.

Our programme of study is designed to enable you as an instrumental or vocal teacher to progress from the stage you are in your career and to take a fresh look at the way you approach your teaching.

Your studies will be online, engaging with tasks including webinars, meetings with your mentor, taking part in discussion groups, reading, making videos. You will reflect on and develop your teaching focusing on the context in which you work. This will help you to question things you may have taken for granted, explore work with and without notation and develop a holistic approach to your teaching.

You will be assigned a mentor who shares your specialism (e.g. brass, bowed strings, piano, voice, woodwind, percussion, plucked strings) and your mentor’s job is to guide you through the course, lead study sessions and feedback on your work and progress.

Being a student on this course is all about developing as a reflective practitioner, someone who is willing to stand back and look at their work and contemplate changing aspects if both you and your students will benefit. Your course leader will provide an overview of the whole course, lead study sessions, and also make assessments of all students’ work to ensure fairness.

To gain the maximum benefit for your investment in this programme of study you should plan your diary carefully to make sure you have all the deadlines for completion and submission of work highlighted – and then please take notice of them.

This programme is delivered by ESTA and validated by the University of Chichester.

Who is it for ?

The ESTA MA (Bowed Strings) Practical Teaching provides students with the opportunity to reflect more deeply and demonstrate the application of learned theory in their own personal teaching setting.

The instrumental teaching profession demands constant reflection and improvement from its practitioners. This course will help you to validate your personal development and formalise your academic qualification to teach.

Participants will:

  • Develop practical skills in teaching musical and technical material, fostering an engaging and student-appropriate approach to music learning and performance

  • Foster an investigative and inquisitive approach to teaching by developing skills in both research and reflection

  • Actively develop communication skills to enable effective teaching

  • Develop skills in curriculum planning that are highly relevant in the profession.


Who teaches the course


Head of PG Cert



Head of Department – strings


Helen Dromey is Course Leader for the ESTA PG Cert, having been involved with the course since its inception in 2017.

She is Principal Teaching Fellow in Music Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Southampton, supports UK Music Masters teachers through observations and consultancy, and continues to teach the violin and viola herself.

Previously, Helen was Lead Teacher for Strings for West Sussex Music, where she established String Start, a group violin-with-musicianship programme for children aged 4–7, and delivered a series of CPD programmes for instrumental teachers. 

Helen is currently completing doctoral research at the University of York, examining pupils’ progression beyond whole-class instrumental learning, and designing new pedagogies to improve engagement. This research draws on Helen’s wealth of experience of teaching the violin and viola in individual, small- and large-group settings, including Whole-Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET).A qualified primary school teacher, she has also worked as a Music Coordinator, delivering classroom Music across Key Stages 1–2. 

Helen graduated from King’s College London in Music and, later, in Historical Musicology, gained her PGCE at the University of Chichester, and attained her LRAM at the Royal Academy of Music.

Sarah is a widely experienced teacher of the violin and general musicianship, working with string players in a range of contexts. Her approach as a teacher is to guide rather than to prescribe learning, encouraging self-discovery through exploration.

At the RNCM she is Senior Tutor of Young Strings, a programme with an integrated approach which aims to engage the whole child in musical learning. The methods of Dalcroze and Kodály are central to the programme’s pedagogy. Pupils move, sing, play, improvise, collaborate, discuss and reflect. This holistic, creative approach to music education underpins Sarah’s teaching in all settings, inspired by her training as a Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher.

Sarah also enjoys working with advanced musicians and teachers, helping them to develop their teaching, research and reflection skills. She leads CPD in many settings and works regularly with undergraduate and postgraduate students at the RNCM. She was delighted to be invited to join the Mentor panel on the ESTA PG Cert and relishes the opportunities to share practice with teachers from all over the world.

In other roles, Sarah is a mother of two young children, a Child Protection Officer at the RNCM and a student of the Alexander Technique. She hopes to train as an Alexander teacher in the near future, which will add new dimensions to her work with musicians.


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