Having studied with Richard for over 6 years now I can safely say that he has pulled me from decay and into the heights of violin. He is akin to a guide, not so much a "teacher" and he has guided me well throughout these years. He is one who truly understands what it is to be a musician and his ability to tailor his skill to any individual is truly remarkable.
Adash Herrenschmidt - Moller violin
There is a stark difference between a teacher and a mentor - Richard definitely falls into the latter. His rapport with not only me, but other musicians at Trinity Laban is not unfounded. Through the use of Skype, video and text he is constantly in communication, working closely with his students and is always at hand and willing to help. He challenges each player to their individual limits while remaining empathetic to their needs. His interest in each students personal development makes him more then just a teacher, but a mentor and facilitator to any aspiring player. I would unreservedly recommend him to anyone who has a real aspiration to learn.
Sally Wragg-Viola Undergraduate Trinity Laban London
Richard Crabtree has completely revolutionised my playing since I met him 6 years ago. My technique was very poor but he saw potential in me and together under difficult circumstances we recently achieved my first level diploma, and are about to begin working for the LTCL. Richard has given me faith in myself, I would never have otherwise had, and makes me not only a better player but a better teacher myself: by his example. If I am ever in doubt as to how to improve, I think “how would Richard play it?”.
Emily Blackledge BMus(Hons) DipABRSM-Violin & Viola
Mr Crabtree began teaching me almost 4 years ago, and he has completely changed my outlook on music. He completely revived my technique; he taught me the correct posture, he corrected my left hand shape, and now we are working to perfect my bowing as well. That is what Mr Crabtree does, if your performance isn't perfect, he irons out the flaws until it is. Under his guidance I have been transformed, achieving a distinction at grade 8 on the violin. I have learned to appreciate the music, not just the notes. Mr Crabtree also has many practice methods to correct shifty intonation and rhythms. His finger patterns make playing so much easier; he knows just what works for me at each stage of my development. He predicted that the viola would suit my playing, and unsurprisingly he was correct; with his help I obtained my grade 8 distinction in just eight weeks, and within a year of picking up the viola I have my diploma! Thank you for everything Mr C!
Angharad Williams ATCL
"I was lucky enough to study with Richard Crabtree for seven years, during which time he made me understand what it was to be a violist. He has a remarkable ability to focus on an individual's needs, be they technical or musical. He aims to produce a rich, sonorous tone from his students, and his knowledge of overcoming technical challenges is second to none."
Samuel Burstin - Violist Philharmonia Orchestra.
I can only add that it is fantastic to have a teacher who is helping and understanding what exactly a student has to improve. And which way student wants to move if he/she can. It is also very important to speak the same language at the lessons and in general I am really happy to study with you!There were two main things which we worked on during the last academic year:
Quality and culture of VIOLA sound (including experiments with strings...)
It is very important to find your own sound. And I feel that I am on my way. Some elements of Techniques (actually of both hands) including fast and slow motion passages and singing on instrument...
Grigory Tsyganov – viola
Freelance London Philharmonic Orchestra,
Principal viola Orchestra Europa, Birmingham Opera Company,
"My name is Gael and I'm a violin player from Paris.
I came to a summer course, LMFL, for the first time in 2008. I was at that time looking for a summer course that would help me improving both my musical and English level. There I met Richard.I have been coming to every session since then, and plan to continue doing so, because being in England with Richard is the only way for me to consecrate all my energy to the violin, for a week or two. Richard is a master in the art of seeing the potential in his students and making them playing at 100% of their capacities. He also has a wonderful power of pedagogy and communication, even with non English-speaking students, like my little sister. He is also a fine violist and can teach from both instruments. It was during a lesson that I tried his viola and realised I loved the sound. From then I was hooked, it's amazing. All this to say I have taken lessons with Richard for the past three years, including private lessons at his place in Bristol, and hope having the possibility to continue doing so."
Gael Mourouga – Violin & Viola - Paris
"Mr. Crabtree has such a great influence on my playing, that not only has my viewpoint (and my way of playing!) completely changed, but also a new source of motivation has formed. Richard, as well as the belief in his student's ability, has such an unwavering patience towards his students; so that even the most diffident students (like me..) can become more confident in themselves, and their way of playing stronger.
His teaching techniques are simple and effective, tailoring them if need be specifically to different needs. My personal reference amongst many is the scale system, as now I can remember them more easily through the simplicity of numbers and sound.
Marie Skotchko – Viola Student-Switzerland
Richard Crabtree has taught myself and my two daughters to play the viola over the last 12 years. Over this period my daughters have both spent several years playing in the National Childrens Orchestra of Great Brittain, and I have progressed from being an adequate amateur violist throught to leading the viola section in several successful amateur orchestras. We have found that, whatever our age or aspirations, he has always targeted our lessons and repertoir to serve our immediate developmental needs; this has enabled us to progress from the initial grades through to Performance Diploma feeling enticingly challenged, but never overwhelmed.
Dr Gavin Stoddard-Viola United Kingdom
I'm a Belgian student travelling many times a year for some courses with Mister Crabtree. Curing his lessons we treat different subjects like fingerings, bowings and interpretation. Those aspects are for everyone different depending of who you are and your instrument. He brings me more efficiency, flexibility and freedom in my playing. It lets me feel like a real artist. Not only is Mister Crabtree an enthousiasic teacher, he is also a trustable person who really cares of his students and who can give some good advice.
Marie De Bry-Viola/Violin Belgium
"I recently began working with Richard after setting myself the goal to take my professional playing and musicianship to a new level. Richards' teaching method has been a great help with several questions I had concerning my playing. His teaching techniques are clear, and he is always working towards raising my performance to a more refined, pure and sophisticated level. He encourages me to challenge myself with particular emphasis on my personal musical interpretation. What is special and unique about Richards' teaching is the great variety he brings to whatever we are working on. There is always the element of surprise, which truly makes a significant difference. Working with Richard has been an exciting and inspiring experience and I would highly recommend him as a teacher. An exceptional talent! "
Bethan Hunter-Violinist Scotland Professional Freelance
Not only Richard teaches my son Roc with very efficient methodology, accurate technique and seriousness, he pays enormous attention to every single detail and posture. He also uses his sense of humour, his energetical enthusiasm and his enormous capacity to make his students understand every aspect involved in the art of playing the violin and realize the need of mastering every technique (bow, vibrato, fingering, scales, etc) to be able to produce a better sound and express the feelings and mood of each musical piece. My son Roc has been learning with Richard thoroughly enjoys his to Bristol and his lessons with Richard.
Roc's Father - Josep Fargas, Barcelona - Spain (viola)
Matthieu enjoys practising with you. You pay attention to everything and don't let him play badly : you only go through when the music has improved, and the sound has become nice or even beautiful. Like a construction game. It's like a game but you are able to make Matthieu concentrate on music more and more. You find easily what is wrong and how to get over it. Lessons are lively.
Matthieu's Father - Olivier Cervera - Nice - France (violin)