About Alexander

Alexander MasseySummary

I have worked in the music business for 35 years, and in that time have had many roles:

All of these roles have taken me deeply into what makes a song, and how to teach about music, words, and songwriting. But the world of song is so diverse and deep, I just keep on finding more to learn …

Performer

Instruments

  • piano (Grade 8), clarinet (Grade 8), bassoon (Grade 8), organ (Grade 6)
  • bass recorder, Irish whistles, low D Irish whistle
  • sansula, swaramandala, drum kit, African drums and hand percussion
  • acoustic guitar (mostly fingerstyle)
  • I have performed solo on all of these, as well as in orchestras, ensembles and bands (with Craig Pruess and Russell Stone, and Henry Marten’s Ghost), and accompanying instrumentalists (e.g. David Roth, former 2nd violin in the Allegri Quartet) and singers on piano

Singing

  • soloist (with reviews in national and local newspapers) – recitals, operas and musicals, gigs (accompanying myself on keyboard and guitar)
  • close harmony groups and professional choirs
  • choral scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford University, learning and performing new music every day for 3 years, doing recordings, performing on TV and radio, and doing international tours
  • lay clerkships with Worcester Cathedral, Christ Church (Oxford) and York Minster
  • professional chorus member of Lyons Opera (France)
  • headline performer at conferences

Other training

  • O level and A level music
  • BA (Hons) Oxon – Music: with a First for performance, and including specialist papers on Western song, and music analysis and composition.
  • PGCE (with Distinction) Leeds – Music & Drama: teacher training
  • MSc, Oxon – Educational Research Methodology: one year masters degree, followed by 2 years of doctoral research in education
Teacher, lecturer, educational researcher – and director

Course and curriculum design and delivery

  • Written whole-school syllabuses in music and drama for primary and secondary schools (where I was head of department); designed GCSE and A level syllabuses (including composition)
  • National Curriculum Oxfordshire regional sub-committee (Music)
  • Guildford College of Further Education (training therapists in voice and communication)
  • Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (adult education courses)
  • Freelance / independent 1-day and 2-day trainings (e.g. singing, performing skills, African drumming) for young people, and corporate sector clients (including Unilever, GlaxoSmithKlein, HBOS, London Underground)
  • Singing teaching: working with every musical genre and vocal style – understand the different technical requirements for pop, classical, folk, music theatre belting, gospel, rock, growl, twang, screech, falsetto, crooning, power ballad, punk, jazz, soul, blues

People I have helped

  • amateur enthusiasts
  • professional singers and singer-songwriters (including directing and co-producing on recording projects)
  • music teachers
  • songwriters
  • university students from Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Leeds, York, Manchester, Southampton, De Montfort
  • amateur and professional theatre and music theatre productions – directing, producing and voice coaching
Writer, composer, songwriter and arranger

Words and/or music for theatre

  • ‘A Winter’s Tale’ (Shakespeare), incidental music and songs for Cheltenham College
  • ‘Ubu Roi’ (Jarry), incidental music and songs for Up Front Theatre, York
  • ‘Faust’ (Goethe), incidental music and songs commissioned by David Luke for his OUP translation
  • ‘Wordplay’ – full playscript for Terrington Hall School production
  • ‘The Great Quillow’ – full musical (playscript, music and lyrics) based on the short story by James Thurber for Terrington Hall School production

Songwriting

  • Co-writer of ‘Songs of Eden’ – CD and tours with Philip Clouts
  • Writer (words and music), vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer of solo CD ‘Nachamu, Nachamu’
  • Songwriting (music and lyrics) – My musical style varies from classical, folk, jazz and world music, and I’ve even had a gospel-style song played on BBC radio. In my own songwriting, although I have written one or two comedy songs, I tend to focus on on spiritual themes and don’t always use English lyrics. Don’t be put off by that though – I teach a huge range of song styles, and have also performed a wide range as well as coached singer-songwriters in many genres.

Other composing and arranging

  • original compositions for choirs and close harmony groups, as well as arrangements of well known songs
  • original compositions for piano, organ and wind trios
  • arrangments for school orchestras, bands and ensembles
  • I can transcribe music (melody, chords etc) from audio tracks

Other writing