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Faculty of Music


Masterclasses and Performance Workshops

These masterclasses offer students an invaluable insight into the musicianship, performance skills and technical expertise of some of the world’s most celebrated performers. Participants and listeners find the experience inspirational and stimulating, both musically and intellectually.

Performance students are able to attend public and internal masterclasses in addition to regular performance workshops run by the Director of Performance, Margaret Faultless and guests.

In the Practising Performance series, the Faculty of Music has hosted classes with Michael Chance, Nicholas Cleobury, Ross Duffin, Richard Egarr, Sir Mark Elder, Ketil Haugsand, Steven Isserlis, Andrew Kennedy, Joanna MacGregor, Nicholas Mulroy, Sir Roger Norrington, Verity Sharp, Jeremy West and many other significant performers.

Collaborations with CMPS and CRASSH have resulted in masterclasses with Richard Goode, Roy Howat, Yundi Li, Robert Levin and Angela Hewitt.

Practising Performance Lent Term 2021

This term, we continue our popular Alexander Technique and yoga classes alongside sessions teaching visualisation and meditation skills that can help with performance anxiety. If you haven’t tried these wellbeing classes please sign up to one this term. They are particularly appropriate at the moment. We have three practical workshops - performing for recording with Amy Blier-Carruthers, techniques for using music in education with Cherry Forbes, and what I’m sure will be a thrilling class exploring how rhythm works with Barak Schmool.   

Margaret Faultless, Director of Performance  

Thursday 21 January, class 1. 14.00 - 15.00 class 2. 15.30 - 16.30

Alexander Technique for Performers with Poppy Walshaw    


Following on from previous classes exploring performance anxiety and head balance, this term we focus on arms and shoulders. The class will include practical movement work which will be observed and guided; you will need to be visible on screen. 

These classes are suitable for beginners with no previous experience of Alexander Technique. 

Poppy Walshaw studied Music and Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall, and is a baroque cellist and Alexander Technique teacher.

Thursday 28 January, 14.00 - 15.00 talk & 15.15 - 16.30 discussion of videos

Performing for Recording with Amy Blier-Carruthers


What changes do musicians have to make, consciously and unconsciously, to produce a performance suitable for recording? How can musicians use the tools of the recording studio to their creative advantage? 

In the first hour Amy will explore these questions and the psychology of recordings, with a chance for questions and discussion.

At 15.15 there will be a discussion of personal videos. If you would like to submit a video, please upload it to Youtube as an unlisted video and send the link to Juliet Margerison at by Monday 18 January. Amy will then select a variety of videos for discussion.

Amy holds academic posts at the Royal Academy of Music and King’s College London, where her research and teaching interests revolve around subjects involving performance style, recording practices, and ethnographic approaches to classical music-making.

Thursday 4 February, 14.00 – 16.00

How rhythm works: the 7.5 ways of keeping time

A practical workshop for all performers with Barak Schmool


- how to sound better when playing music in a fixed tempo.

- moving physically in a relaxed and appropriate way

- keeping time better, playing more accurately

- speaking rhythm in the manner of strong traditions

- expressing funky lines correctly

- spatial hearing, what is that?

Barak Schmool is a multi-instrumentalist-composer from London. A one-time roadie for Django Bates, he grew up musically in the jazz scene of the capital, inspired by the multitude of influences around him to study music of the African Diaspora to the level of more local styles. In the last 5 years he has been producing Hiphop and RnB and completed a PhD in composition and African music structure. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama as professor of rhythmic studies.

For preparation, we’ll send you some hand-outs and do check out Barak’s instagram


Thursday 11 February

2pm – 3.30pm 

The Musician’s Approach to Video Editing


The 'musician’s approach' to making a video: simple, efficient, intuitive, with no complicated jargon that nonetheless gets the results you want. A session designed for those with little or no experience to learn the basics of putting together a video, including planning, recording, and editing using the free and powerful DaVinci software, led by Oliver Pashley who went from no experience at all to producing a successful set of lockdown videos in 2020 for his group The Hermes Experiment. ,

Winners of the Royal Over-Seas League Mixed Ensemble Competition 2019, The Hermes Experiment are a contemporary quartet of soprano, clarinet, harp, and double bass, capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments to commission new works and arrangements, as well as venturing into free improvisation. Their debut album, HERE WE ARE, was released in 2020 and won a Presto Recording of the Year award, in addition to Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Apple Music’s 10 Classical Albums of the Month and Presto Editor’s Choice.

Thursday 18 February, class 1. 14.00 - 15.00 class 2. 15.30 - 16.30

Self Care for Musicians - How to develop visualisation and meditation skills with Sophie Langdon


Sophie Langdon, who runs the over-subscribed Royal Academy of Music sessions ‘Greet your Gremlin’, leads a session about how to apply visualisation and meditation skills to performance preparation and daily life. 

There will be two one hour classes and both are suitable for beginners.

Sophie is a Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music and is one of Britain’s leading violinists. Her career encompasses concerto performances and recordings with many major orchestras and also spans the fields of chamber music and orchestral leading and directing.  


Thursday 25 February, class 1. 14.00 - 15.00 class 2. 15.30 - 16.30   

Yoga for Performers with Anna-Camilla Goldbeck Wood    

It is with our whole selves that we are musicians. This whole self is our first instrument, and yoga is a practice of crafting, tuning and caring for that instrument, so that we can be ready for anything.

Think of this as a space for you to discover how to create space for yourself: how to consciously cultivate a quiet mind, to find balance and symmetry and strength in the body that support sustainable energy and ease, and an opportunity realign your whole self with your deeper intention as a musician, an artist, and a human being. Join me as I guide you through a series of simple, restorative and energising movements. Please bring your own yoga mats and come in comfortable clothing — all welcome and no previous experience necessary. 


Thursday 4 March class 1. 14.00 - 15.00 & class 2. 15.30 - 16.30

Orchestras and Education - using music to communicate with Cherry Forbes

Cherry Forbes, oboist and Education Director of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will share techniques used by professional musicians to enhance communication through music. 

She will discuss how the OAE has developed its education programme over the last 20 years and how the players, repertoire and the instruments themselves have shaped the work of one of most eminent education programmes in the world. 

There will be two one-hour practical classes, suitable for singers and instrumentalists. As preparation, you will be sent the OAE latest Education report with links to footage created by the musicians.

Places are limited for all classes - to participate please contact Juliet Margerison at




The Practising Performance programme consists of a series of workshops and masterclasses on Thursday afternoons during term.  Classes include workshops and masterclasses for singers, wind players, string players, pianists and conductors. Seminar topics often include practice and preparation, performance anxiety, jazz, continuo, Baroque dance, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and yoga

This term Practising Performance goes on-line with a fabulous array of classes for you.  There are wellbeing classes in Alexander Technique and yoga, and a guide to practising.  We also bring you a dazzling selection of internationally renowned artists coming together ‘In Conversation’ to discuss their careers, performance and the music profession. I’m particularly excited to be welcoming the celebrated musician and multi-award-winning Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE, to the Faculty to discuss the urgent issue of diversity in the classical music industry.

Margaret Faultless, Director of Performance


Thursday 15 October 2020, 14.30 - 15.45                        

Chi-chi Nwanoku

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE In Conversation with Margaret Faultless, Director of Performance  

Join Margaret Faultless, Director of Performance and celebrated musician and multi-award-winning Chi-chi Nwanoku, as they discuss their art and craft, and the profession – focusing on the urgent issue of diversity in the Classical music industry.

Double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where she is now Professor and Fellow, and with Franco Petracchi in Rome. Chi-chi is the Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which encourages diversity in the classical music industry through its orchestras, the Chineke! Orchestra and Chineke! Junior Orchestra, and its community engagement work. In 2019, the Royal Philharmonic Society recognised Chineke! Foundation with its very first 'Game Changer' Award.

She devised the ABO/RPS Salomon Prize, which celebrates ‘unsung heroes’ working in the ranks of British orchestras. In 2012 Barrie Gavin directed a documentary film about Chi-chi’s career, Tales from the Bass Line and in 2018 featured on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs. As a broadcaster Chi-chi has presented for BBC Radio 3 & 4, BBC TV Proms Extra, BBC 2 TV Classical Star, and BBC 4’s All Together Now, the Great Orchestra Challenge.

An Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Honorary Doctor of Music at Chichester University and the Open University, Chi-chi was awarded the OBE in 2017 for Services to Music. She won Black British Business Awards ‘Person of the Year 2016’; the 2017 Association of British Orchestras Award for ‘most important contribution to orchestral life of the UK’; the inaugural Commonwealth Cultural Enterprise Award for Women in the Arts, and the Creative Industries Award at Variety Catherine Awards. She featured in the Top 10 of BBC Woman’s Hour, Women in Music Power List, the Royal Academy of Music exhibition Hitting the Right Note: Amazing Women of the Academy, and the Powerlist of Britain’s 100 Most Influential Black People in 2019 and 2020, as well as Patrick Vernon's book '100 Great Black Britons'.

Thursday 22 October 2020, 14.30 - 15.45     

Poppy Walshaw                   

Alexander Technique for Performers with Poppy Walshaw

Alexander’s work explores how awareness influences how we function mentally, physically, and emotionally. It helps us find greater physical ease in movement and to create optimum conditions for performance and practising.  Poppy Walshaw studied Music and Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall, and is a baroque cellist and Alexander Technique teacher.

There are just 20 places – to participate please contact Juliet at

Thursday 29 October 2020, 14.30 - 15.45        

Tom PosterMahan Esfahani

Performers In Conversation - Tom Poster and Mahan Esfahani  

Join pianist, Tom Poster and harpsichordist, Mahan Esfahani as they discuss their art and craft and the profession.

A musician whose skills and passions extend well beyond the conventional role of the concert pianist, Tom Poster has been described as “a marvel, [who] can play anything in any style” (The Herald), “mercurially brilliant” (The Strad), and as having “a beautiful tone that you can sink into like a pile of cushions” (BBC Music). To read more about Tom please visit his website.

Mahan Esfahani has made it his life’s mission to rehabilitate the harpsichord in the mainstream of concert instruments, and to that end his creative programming and work in commissioning new works have drawn the attention of critics and audiences across the world, inspiring a whole new appreciation of the instrument. To read more about Mahan please visit his website.

Thursday 12 November 2020, 14.30 - 15.45 

Robert Cohen

PRACTISING - Essential, inspiring, fulfilling.
Robert Cohen explains how to be time efficient and highly productive and how to find great enjoyment and satisfaction in your daily work. 

“I explain the journey of learning while answering fundamental questions on how to analyse and solve technical issues. How to handle the different stages of music preparation so that you arrive at your performances feeling prepared and excited. So you can perform at your best!
Practising well is a life skill. It is the art of learning.”

During 40 years of his distinguished international career, Robert Cohen has been hailed as one of the foremost cellists of our time. He has performed concertos worldwide, made many recordings and is an inspiring conductor. An inspirational teacher, he has given masterclasses at Conservatoires throughout the world, is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and gives lectures internationally on how to approach all aspects of the musician’s life. 

At the end of the talk Robert will answer your questions in a live Q&A

Thursday 19 November 2020, 14.30 - 15.45     


Yoga for Performers with Anna-Camilla Goldbeck Wood

It is with our whole selves that we are musicians. Sometimes it is helpful to think of this whole self as our first instrument. Yoga is the practice of tuning that instrument. 

This is a space for you to connect to a quiet mind, to rebalance the body and to realign the mind-body with our deeper intention as musicians, academics, and people. All of this starts by practising a few simple movements guided by me. Just turn up as yourself in comfortable clothing — all welcome and no previous experience necessary. 

There are just 20 places – to participate please contact Juliet at

Thursday 26 November 2020, 14.30 - 15.45             

Jonathon Heyward   


Conductors In Conversation - Sian Edwards and Jonathon Heyward  

Two eminent conductors, discuss their art and craft, and the profession – focusing on Jonathon Heyward’s studies, his musical journey and the challenges in the early years of professional life.

A celebrated conductor of orchestra and operatic repertoire, Sian Edwards has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras and is Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.

Recently named Chief Conductor Designate of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, a position that commences in January 2021, Jonathon recently completed three years as Assistant Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra and is forging a career as one of the most exciting young conductors on the international scene. 

You will need to register with Juliet at to attend each class and you will then receive a confirmation email which will include a link to access the class by Zoom. 

Please submit your questions for the ‘In Conversation’ sessions to Margaret Faultless at

Click here for details of past Practising Performance events.

Side-by-Side Events

These periodic events give select student musicians at Cambridge the chance to gain valuable musical insight by playing ‘side-by-side’ with leading professionals. These events take place each year in collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music, enhancing students’ understanding of the life of a professional period instrument orchestra and musician. The fact that the AAM’s intimate knowledge of the repertoire and the period-instrument sound world has been passed on to students working alongside AAM players has been a major benefit. Students who have taken part have indicated the value of ‘learning through osmosis’, and when asked to identify the best features of the day, more than one student has responded, ‘Everything’. One student viola player recently commented: ‘Sitting side-by-side with the AAM in an AAMplify workshop was absolutely the best experience of my musical life'.