Musician supporting Abingdon Music Centre

Ben Heaney

Here are some pictures of ben in action

About Me
- the violin, music & teaching

I am constantly amazed that what started as a simple interest and enthusiasm for violin, prompted by the local violin teacher saying in school assembly, "hands up who wants to learn violin," has been my constant and is my career.

I have been involved with music making for as long as I can remember. I started violin lessons about aged 6 and within a couple of years started piano and trumpet lessons too. I quickly became fully immersed in the local, county and then national youth music scene and continued my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music graduating in 1993 with a special interest in electric violin.

After successfully completing a PGCE course at the Manchester Metropolitan University I gained Qualified Teacher Status in 1998 and the following year moved to Abingdon working for Maestros (formerly the Berkshire Young Musician's Trust). In 2001, I was offered a full-time teaching post at Cokethorpe School where I went on to become their Music Leader and Performing Arts Co-ordinator until 2014. Since then I have launched my own company to publish educational resources and original music and work primarily as a self-employed musician serving the community across a very broad range of musical work. Through the Abingdon Music Centre, I direct the Abingdon Community Orchestra and provide weekly music workshops for early years learning, special learning needs and those with dementia related conditions in residential care. As an electric violinist I am currently performing with The Epstein, August List, Great Western Tears and have most recently appeared with Joe Dolman, The Hoolies and recorded for Marc Canham, Death Of The Maiden and Waiting For Smith.

I teach from the point of view that learning an instrument and making music with people is a fundamentally good activity for the individual and society. I do not assume any of my students are going to or should have a career in music but will try to give them the tools that might help if they do. Careers in music are precarious, arduous and almost totally unpredictable. For the violinist possibly even more so. Becoming good on any instrument takes time and effort and underpinning this is enthusiasm and enjoyment. Without these I'm not convinced it is actually possible to make any progress. Music is a fabulous and powerful thing. Making music is one of life's wonders and can be experienced fully from young to old. The positive effects of getting involved in musical activity at any stage are being proved by scientists now. Currently my register of students covers an age range spanning 100 years, the oldest is 103. Whilst this demonstrates it is never too late to start (my 91-year-old violin student started aged 80!), there are great benefits to starting music lessons young.