Hello Mrs Williamson, tell us about your role at West Sussex independent school Sompting Abbotts

I'm the school's Director of Music. I also have French to degree level and particularly enjoy teaching French to very young children. At Sompting Abbotts I teach French to the Pre-Prep from age five.

What's your educational and career background?

I gained a BA Hons (French and Music with Maths and Psychology as subsidiary subjects) from Keele University. I've been Director of Music at Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School since 1983, combining developing a flourishing Music Department with motherhood. But before that, I taught 'O'-Level French and English in Oxford from 1981 to 1983. I also taught GCSE Music at The Towers for six years. 

I’m passionate about helping children to push boundaries in order to realise their full potential and I hope that I can foster in them a love of music that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Many of my pupils have gained Music Scholarships to leading Independent Schools and some have become professional musicians performing at Ronnie Scott's, Glastonbury and on the Jools Holland Show. I teach class singing, piano and cello to children from age three up to adults. My pupils take Associated Board Practical and Theory exams and many children enter local Music Festivals.

What do you love about your work?

I'm passionate about helping children to push boundaries in order to realise their full potential and I hope that I can foster in them a love of music that will stay with them throughout their lives. I really enjoy being able to compose music for the children to sing and play and to bring out the best in the them. "If music be the food of love, play on..."

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at the school?

Too many to mention and be brief! I organise about 20 musical events through the year, both in the school and in the surrounding area, some of which are for charity. We get involved in outings to Care Homes, play for the Rotary Club, at Holmbush Shopping Centre and Worthing Town Centre at Christmas, with Bohunt School in Worthing and carol-singing. I organise our school's annual involvement in the Chorister Afternoon at Lancing College and Choral Day at Brighton College too. I also run, in different terms, the String Group, Choirs, Chamber Group, Orchestra, Wind Band, Teacher's Band, French Club Table Tennis, Tennis and Cookery Clubs. 

What do you find time to do outside work?

I teach piano and cello up to and beyond Grade 8 and A Level French privately. I also play 'cello in Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra and Arun Sinfonia and sing with Lancing College Singers. I direct Church Choir at St James the Less in Lancing and play organ for services and weddings. I also play in a String Quartet and I'm a member of Wickwood's and swim at least three times a week.