Introducing Miss Sophie Brack, Director of Music at Lingfield College

Have you always been musical? Since a young age I just knew I wanted to do something with music. My family are all musical, so it was always around me growing up. My main instruments are piano, clarinet and voice, but I also play the saxophone and ukulele.

What made you decide to teach music? I had a passion for music when I was at school, and I would teach friends in my class how to play tunes on the piano. I just loved sharing the joy of music, seeing people learn a new skill and engage with it when they didn’t think they could. I knew from the age of 12 or so that I wanted to be a music teacher.

What’s your favourite part of the school’s musical offering? One of the things I’m most proud of at Lingfield College is that we offer something for everyone musically. No matter what level or instrument a pupil plays, no matter what style or genre they may enjoy, there is a choir, band or ensemble for them to join to perform and be part of something and be creative. We are fully inclusive.

Can you tell us about an inspirational teacher from your school days?  Two people stand out from my school days that inspired me musically. Miss Kutchmy, my Head of Music at Surbiton High School, gave me confidence in my singing and helped shape my voice, and the legend that was Sir David Willcocks, who was the conductor of The Bach Choir when I sang with them for several of my school years. 

How do you encourage more nervous pupils to increase their musical confidence? This is a large part of being a music teacher, and it’s vitally important we go about it in the right way; otherwise, a student can be put off for life.  At Lingfield College, we have found that smaller ‘Informal Recitals’ with family and staff are fantastic ways to boost our students’ confidence with their music. We try to provide a warm, nurturing environment where they focus on practising their pieces and honing performance skills. 

What music do you listen to in your spare time? Oh goodness, a wide variety! If classical, it’s likely to be Rachmaninov or Mozart but I also adore all Musical Theatre, and I’m currently on a roll of listening to anything by Ben Platt. I was brought up on all the jazz standards, so I love the Ratpack too, particularly Frank. But everyone at Lingfield knows my answer is going to be Michael Bublé!

If you could work with any composer, from past or present, who would it be? If I really can only pick one, then probably Rachmaninov. I adore all his work, particularly Symphony No.2 and Piano Concertos No2 and No3. To work with him and write a piano piece would be mind-blowing. Not sure my hands would cope with some of the chords he writes though!

If you could see anyone live on stage, anywhere in the world, who and where would it be? I would have loved to have seen Frank Sinatra at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas back in the day, but as for right now? Frankly, any live concert is good for me; I just want live music back! It’s been such a rough time for the arts; I think everyone just wants to see the orchestras return, West End theatres open, and live gigs come back. I’ll be buying as many tickets as I can once that happens.

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