Sophie Jones. I’m 19 years old. I have just finished 6th Form studies at Methodist College Belfast, and I am currently reading Music at Durham University. I had the great opportunity of having Rebekah as my violin teacher for some 10 years. As well as completing my ABRSM Grade 8 Violin with Distinction during this time, Rebekah has nurtured my love of music, and helped me develop my repertoire in preparation for many recitals, festivals, auditions, and GCSE and GCE A level Music practical examinations. One of these auditions included my audition for the Ulster Youth Orchestra, which I joined in 2019. Rebekah’s teaching and preparation with me on the excerpts for this audition was a great help for the audition itself, but also for playing in the orchestra later that year, as I was able to apply the skills she had helped me develop, especially on the importance of listening and unity within the orchestra. Studying violin with Rebekah has enabled me to refine my technique, improve my performance skills, and deepen my understanding of the importance of playing music as intended by the composer. Rebekah is a lively, enthusiastic, highly talented, and supportive teacher. Every lesson with her has been an adventure and an important step in my musical journey. Thank you Rebekah.

Holly Burnside. I studied with Rebekah for seven years whilst at secondary school, and her tuition was invaluable and transformative to my playing. I left school a vastly improved player than when I went in due to her warm and enthusiastic approach to teaching, and I met many dear friends amongst her other students. I then went on to Queen’s University Belfast to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, and where I am also finishing a Master’s degree in Clinical Anatomy. When I left school in 2015, I continued on with Rebekah as I joined the Ballymena Chamber Orchestra committee, where I help to organise performances and manage our marketing, and continue to benefit from her guidance and friendship.

Ellen Macdonald. I have been receiving lessons from Rebekah for over 2 years now. I have recently completed my grade 8 on the violin and this year I will be starting my first year studying music at Queen’s University Belfast. 
Over the past two years Rebekah has really pushed me to work to my full potential as a musician and I have improved greatly under her guidance. My confidence has improved tenfold and she is constantly helping me improve my technical capabilities in my lessons.

In particular I would like to note how helpful I found Skype lessons with Rebekah during lockdown. Whilst it was a very difficult period to navigate she worked through those challenges and provided just as high quality a lesson as any one in person. I definitely learnt a lot more about independent learning through having lessons on Skype, however i never had to worry about the support I was receiving because as always Rebekah was only a text or a phone call away! I went from having my grade 7 exam booked for the first Friday of lockdown to completing my grade 8 at the end of July, thanks to Rebekah’s encouragement and expertise.

In addition to all of this, Rebekah makes lessons enjoyable, and anyone close to me can vouch for the fact that I went from being that girl who went into lessons terrified and anxious to coming out of every single one with a smile on my face!  

Joshua Paterson  aged 12, yr 9. Started playing violin 4 years ago and moving on to grade 6. Started lessons with Rebekah 2 years ago after she was recommended to us. My lessons with Rebekah are fun and encouraging. It’s not just about learning the right notes, but about learning effective practise, performance, putting in the effort and having a laugh!

Grace Gunning. I am 14 years old and I have been playing the violin since the age of 5. I am currently about to do my grade 5 classical violin exam with Ms Durston. I absolutely love my lessons with Ms Durston, she is very kind and caring.She supports me every step of the way and I always look forward to my weekly lessons. Ms Durston is super enthusiastic and bubbly, she always makes me laugh!

Fionnuala Ward DipLCM ALCM BMus(Hons) MPerf(RCM). I began violin lessons with Rebekah when I was 15 after several years of lessons through my school, and she completely transformed my playing and appreciation for the instrument. She was always extremely supportive, patient and encouraging in her teaching, and I went on to take violin as my second study instrument at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I continue to play in various orchestras in London alongside my career as a professional pianist, and this is a direct result of her encouragement and nurturing. Playing the violin has contributed greatly to my versatility as a musician, and I am truly grateful for the wonderful lessons I had with Rebekah!

Zak Hassan DipABRSM, LTCL I’m currently in my final year studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Bernie Docherty.  I began taking lessons with Rebekah at the age of 16 and she helped me achieve my goal of studying violin full-time at music college. My experience of violin repertoire and overall technique improved more in those 2 years than ever before and that was thanks to her – as well as helping me flourish as a musician, there was never a dull moment with Rebekah and I always felt inspired by her attitude and energy towards the world of music!