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The High School Low Down with...Mrs Stuart

Mrs Sarah Stuart is Director of Music at the Senior School, joining the High School in May 2012. Since then, Mrs Stuart has been ‘instrumental’ in heading up our Music Department.

Music is a huge part of life at the High School, with around half of pupils playing at least one musical instrument, with many part of prestigious national choirs and orchestras. A lot of pupils first pick up an instrument in our Junior School where Music is a core part of the curriculum.

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Give us the low down: what was your path to the High School?

I read Music at Christ Church, Oxford University, before completing a Master's degree there in Musicology, focusing on a Beethoven Violin Sonata.

I decided to pursue my violin studies and went to the Royal College of Music in London to do a postgraduate performing diploma. From there, I freelanced as a professional violinist, with most of my work in the North, especially Scottish Opera, R.S.N.O. and the Northern Sinfonia.

During this time, I was teaching beginner violinists in Edinburgh and it was teaching that I enjoyed most in my career, therefore, I went on to do my teacher training. I have taught in various schools in Midlothian, another independent school in Glasgow and then, the High School!
 

When did you know teaching was your calling?

I fought against my fears that I was going to turn into my mother (a former head teacher) when I realised that teaching was my calling in my late 20s.
 

Tell us your biggest highlight at the High School so far?

Conducting West Side Story, the Senior Musical in November 2016.
 

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Teacher, Musician, Family (in no particular order!)
 

If you could take one movie or song to a desert island, what would it be?

J.S. Bach - Aria from St Matthew Passion 'Erbarme dich' (the solo violin part in this beautiful song).
 

Who or what inspires you most?

J.S. Bach.
 

What’s one thing you hope to never forget?

My violin teacher's advice on performing - stay in the moment.
 

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone?

Stay in the moment.
 

And finally, give us your low down of the High School

It’s nurturing, creative, a big family and a place for all. It allows every pupil to find out what they enjoy learning about or doing and to be who they want to be.