Mary started, age 6, with a sopranino recorder; learning from her mother as just one of a large group of children from an inner-city parish. Playing and performing music continued to be a major part of her life, including forming a folk/gospel group with her brother & friends to fill those idle teenage moments & aspirations.
However, regular formal tuition only really began in the sixth form when she attended Coventry School of Music to study flute, recorder, singing and piano. Memorably her successful audition for a place there included performing a song of her own composition to her own guitar accompaniment. Three years later she left with Grade 8’s on modern flute & singing and a performer’s diploma on recorders (as well as her A levels).
Mary has continued to develop her playing and knowledge throughout her career, highlights of which included completing an MMus in 2007 where her first solo recital combined poetry with audio-visual, contemporary, folk and historical music, whilst her final recital & thesis was on Historically Informed Ornamentation to Engage a Contemporary Audience. In recent years Mary has also studied with Philip Thorby, Edwina Smith, Tom Beets, Bart Speenhove and Joris Van Goethem.
For many years Mary combined a career in the primary school classroom with her professional musical activities. Her time at Bow, Durham School included eight years as Head of Music – developing it until about 80% of pupils chose to take individual instrumental lessons and every child had the opportunity to perform as part of the school choir, orchestra or ceilidh band. Mary also directed many musical plays and concerts.
Mary is also increasingly in demand for tutoring on residential courses, these include the early-music summer schools NORVIS and HISS and recorder consort weekends at Parcevall Hall and Rydal Hall. She also leads workshops for Society of Recorder Players and NEEMF.
Mary is now retired from the classroom and is once again focusing her attention on her freelance career. Regular teaching days take place in Cumbria and Yorkshire, and exciting new performance collaborations are in store for Sounds Historical and Hardy Tyers.