“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
– Aldous Huxley
I studied music and piano at Exeter University from 1979-1984 and since then have been involved in music teaching and choral conducting. I have been teaching piano for over 35 years to pupils of all ages and abilities and also have considerable experience with directing choirs, including church choirs, large choral groups and smaller ensembles.
In 1984, I qualified as a class music teacher and since then I have taught in a variety of primary and secondary schools in Hertfordshire, both in the state and private sectors. From 2004-2010, I was Director of Music at Manor Lodge School, Shenley, Hertfordshire where I was responsible for teaching music to 400 children throughout the school, managing the departmental staff and directing the orchestra, jazz band and choirs. The school Senior Choir won the Watford Music Festival in 2008 and also took part in the BBC Choir of the Year competition.
My first experience of choral conducting was with the choir of St. Thomas à Beckett Anglican church, Hamburg where we lived from 1989-1991. On our return to England, I became the Director of Music at St. James’ Church, Goffs Oak where the choir of children and adults sang at various cathedrals in the south of England, made a recording and went on tour to Hamburg. At this time I was also Education Officer for the St. Albans Area of the RSCM, organising and leading several of their local courses. In 1998, I became Choir Director at Christ Church, Radlett. Here, I started a children’s choir which sang with the adults at all the choral services. We also combined with other choirs in the diocese to sing larger choral works, such as the Rutter Requiem, which I directed.
In 1999 I decided to form a chamber choir, drawn initially from members of church choirs with which I was connected, and upon the suggestion of one of them, we called it Positif. I directed this choir for over eleven years, during which time we sang concerts at various venues in Herts, Beds. and Bucks, raising money for local charities. We also sang regularly at Knebworth House in the Minstrels’ Gallery as part of their presentation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. In 2009, Positif sang in the BBC Choir of the Year competition and was selected as the “Choir of the Day” at the Milton Keynes Arena.
I have also trained as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. Alongside my work as an adjudicator at Music Festivals and preparing children for music scholarships, this has given me valuable experience in assessing musical ability competently and professionally, but with a warm and encouraging approach.
I recently spent 18 months with my husband, Mark, on a posting to Vancouver, Canada. During that time, I created a portfolio of compositions for publication, worked as a volunteer music teacher in a YWCA refuge, led music workshops, and sung in the choir and deputised on the organ at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Vancouver.
We returned to the UK in July 2012 and I am now working as an independent music professional, based in Welwyn Garden City, Herts. and as Organist and Choir Director at St. Etheldreda’s Parish Church, Hatfield.
Jill Knight BA, LRAM, PGCE