Working with professional musicians who are at the height of their careers offers students powerful and transformative experiences and significantly raises both their expectations and the standard of their playing.
Simon is Head of String Performance and Historical Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, part of the University of South Wales group.
Simon’s teaching practice is informed by thirty years’ performance experience as a professional violinist, providing him with an intimate awareness of the demands of the music industry as well as wide-ranging professional networks. As a teacher in advanced performance he has created a broad range of award-winning assessment and learning and teaching initiatives.
A hallmark of this training is the inclusion of regular, professionally-mentored performance projects, involving inspirational directors drawn from the UK’s music profession. International soloist Henning Kraggerud recently directed a newly-created flagship ensemble, the Royal Welsh College string soloists, comprising some of the Conservatoire’s most talented string players.
“These projects have a great impact on the students’ learning and professional development,” explains Simon. “Working with professional musicians who are at the height of their careers offers students powerful and transformative experiences and significantly raises both their expectations and the standard of their playing, as well as enabling them to master what it means to be a thinking and creative musician.”
Simon’s external influence resonates in areas such as his trusteeship of the European String Teachers’ Association, examining and advising for the Associated Board of the Royals Schools of Music and acting as an external examiner for other HEIs. He presents masterclasses and performance projects at other institutions nationally and internationally and has written and reviewed for Early Music Magazine and contributed to the forthcoming Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music.
“We are extremely proud that Simon’s excellence in teaching has been recognised by such a prestigious body,” says Hilary Boulding, Principal of the Royal Welsh College. “His impact on the student learning environment has been reflected by the numbers of string students, which have increased over 60% in the last four years, and also notable career success amongst recent graduates.”
Dr Ben Calvert, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of South Wales, added: “The University of South Wales Group is delighted that Dr Jones has been awarded this great honour.
“We pride ourselves in giving all of our staff full support and encouragement to continually develop their own skills so they can pass on their knowledge to their students, who will benefit even more from their learning.
“Dr Jones has shown that his approach to group work is outstanding as he translates his passion and enthusiasm onto both the page and to those in his class.”