February 27th 2024
June 12th 2020
60 seconds with Miss Leo, Music Teacher
What is your job title?
Tell us about yourself
I teach Music GCSE and A level and specialise in composition as well as music for theatre and pop music. I also teach Year 8, direct Glee Club and the Rolling Tones.
This is my second year working for the school – I only found out when I came to my interview that Mrs Gunton was Director of Music. We studied at Wells Cathedral School together and hadn’t seen each other for quite a few years! My last job before coming to Blackheath High School was as Head of Music at an international school in Milan, (I’m half-Italian) - and before that I taught at a boarding school in the Austrian lake district for three years.
How does your previous experience benefit the school?
I have a classical background but I always gravitated towards more contemporary and popular music forms, particularly songwriting, which is why I now write musicals. I also direct the occasional music video so I’ve enjoyed helping the students create some memorable musical performances remotely during lockdown.
What do you like most about your job?
I love seeing how creating and performing music helps build students’ confidence and provides them with an opportunity for self-expression, something that has been particularly important this term. The girls have had a really positive approach to guided home learning and have enjoyed using music technology to create some wonderful compositions reflecting their time in lockdown.
What makes working here at Blackheath High School so rewarding and enjoyable?
The wonderful new building is a fantastic space to teach in, and I’m lucky to work alongside the tour-de-force that is Mrs Gunton. It also makes a difference to work in a school that is so accepting and open-minded, where students feel they can be themselves.
What has been your biggest achievement at Blackheath High School?
Some things I am proud of include the original ‘Christmas no 1’ which was performed by the Jingle Belles last year, working with Year 10 composition students on the Fanfare for the opening of the new building, and of course, winning the GDST song contest People’s Choice award with the amazing Rolling Tones and our video of Chasing Cars.
What has been your biggest challenge at Blackheath High School?
Getting to know everyone. It takes time, but once you get to know the students’ skills and musical interests better, you can provide them with the right opportunities and help nurture their individual talents.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Playing the mandolin, wildlife photography, table tennis, working on my latest script, and before lockdown – going to see a lot of musical theatre.
Tell me something surprising about yourself
I used to play 2nd base in a London league baseball team.