1. What is your role at AKS?
I am a teacher of music and Head of Co-curricular Music. I teach all students across KS3 focusing on developing their musical skills through performance, composition and appraising. I also co-ordinate the many and varied music concerts and events at AKS. We have an established whole school choir, chamber choir, and swing band as well as smaller groups such as a string and brass ensembles. I am delighted to announce the creation of Year 7 singers as well as a brand new concert band. I encourage anyone with a passion for music to come and join one of the many fun and exciting ensembles we have here at AKS.
2. Where did you study or work before coming to AKS or what were your previous roles?
I read music at Newcastle University where I graduated with a BMus (hons) degree in 2014. I then completed my teacher training at Ripley St Thomas on their SCITT programme. I have since spent my career as sole teacher of music at Carr Hill High School where I taught KS3, GCSE and BTEC classes. I grew the music department in size and quality and was also the musical director for the school productions.
3. Why did you become a teacher?
Without realising it at the time, I was completely inspired to become a teacher by my junior school head mistress. She was an incredibly talented musician and the entire school would often suspend working in the afternoon to go into the hall and sing for a couple of hours while she accompanied on the piano. She nurtured the creativity in every pupil and that is the ethos I have behind my own teaching practice. I wish to share and encourage the love of music on every level with every student who enters my classroom.
4. What's the best thing about working at AKS?
There are lots of positives about working at AKS but I have been impressed by the students' 'have-a-go' attitude in lessons. They are not afraid to try new things, to have a go at singing, to perform in front of their peers and I am thoroughly looking forward to developing some exceptional performances with them.
5. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I used to live in Berlin, Germany, for a year and can speak fluent German.
6. What is your favourite book and why?
My favourite book is called 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak. It is a powerful portrayal of life for a German youth during WWII. The story is narrated by Death and follows the story of how he met the book's protagonist, Liesel, 3 times during her life. It is a tough story told about a horrendous time, but ultimately the book is a portrait of the triumph of spirit and humanity.
7. Who would you most like to meet (past or present) and what would you ask them?
There are so many people I would love the chance to talk to. If I had to pick just one, I would like to meet David Bowie. He is my biggest musical idol and I would like to ask him about how he develops his musical ideas. His albums and stage persona are so creative and varied and have brought me hours of joy listening to them.
8. Where in the world would you like to visit and why?
I would love to take a sleeper train up the coast of Norway to witness the aurora borealis. They are a beautifully fascinating event and I would like to see them in person.
9. What one piece of advice would you give to the AKS students?
The biggest piece of advice I could give to students would be to enjoy your time at school and persevere through adversity. There are challenges you will face all through life but a person is not defined by being knocked back by a challenge, but by the ability and drive to overcome it.
Since Lockdown, Mr Brown has continued inspiring our students' love of music with a series of 'Cover Song Challenges', visit our Performing Arts Playlist on You Tube now to hear them, and all the musical performances from our students.