Claxton has been a well-known figure on the Oxford music scene since
1974 as a professional instrumentalist, teacher and composer. He also
has an international reputation having recorded and toured in Europe,
North America and Australia, and his music is performed and broadcast
He trained in the National Youth Orchestra of GB, Royal Academy of Music,
Bretton Hall College and University of Reading where he gained his M.Mus
in Performance in 1986. He has extensive instrumental and class teaching
experience from primary to tertiary level, has been an examiner for
the Guildhall School of Music and an adjudicator at music festivals
throughout the UK. He is also a forensic musicologist advising leading
artists, labels and publishers on music usage and copyright matters.
He was elected ARAM in the Royal Academy of Music 2000 Honours List
for "distinction in the music profession".
He recorded and toured with the internationally renowned band Dead
Can Dance 1987-93 during which he co-wrote (with lead singer Lisa
Gerrard) his best-known piece 'Sanvean' which is used in the
1995 Hermes perfume advert in France, in various European dance hits
& DJ compilations and in Joan Micklin Silver's 1996 feature film
'In the Presence of Mine Enemies' in USA. In Britain 'Sanvean'
is the theme tune of the long-running government immunisation campaign
and was nominated at the 1998 British Television Advertising Craft Awards.
1988 his own band Peacock Epoch was invited to tour on the Regional
Contemporary Music Network giving concerts and workshops involving hundreds
of young people throughout the country. He was principal tuba (doubling
keyboards) in City of Oxford Orchestra 1974-2000 and in 1997
conducted it in the premiere of his 'Spires and Spirits' which
had won Oxford Town Hall Centenary Composers Competition. He recorded
and performed regularly with the contemporary jazz 11-piece Meltdown
He has composed over 50 hours of music for screen, stage and concert
hall including scores for tv documentaries in Fragile Earth, Dispatches,
Secret History, Horizon and Inside Story series in the UK and for Arts
& Entertainment Network and Discovery Channel in USA. He is currently
preparing the first album 'Cobwebs and Cogwheels' in a long series
planned for the next 15 years which will showcase the talents and wide
interests of this distinctive musician and his collaboration with female
singers from Britain, Portugal, Colombia, Ireland, Lithuania, India
is an important part of my musical life. I love passing on my skills
and finding ways of enabling pupils to become good musicians more easily.
I have always believed that enjoyment and learning are two sides of
the same coin. I have a very hands-on approach and being fully musically-active
during lessons is central to my teaching style. Pupils soon appreciate
the importance of music-as-continuity using unique teaching strategies
I have developed from mime and from sequencing. There is far more actual
music making and far less talking in my lessons which is the direct
opposite of the traditional approach and the dreaded 'master class'.
Reading music and acquiring correct technique are still absolute priorities
but are approached through the medium of attractive pieces and studies
across a wide range of styles: classical, jazz and popular, world music
and music from stage and screen. Scales and exercises are handled with
in a uniquely creative and resourceful way. Improvisation too plays
a large part in my teaching from an early age.
I teach piano, electronic keyboards, composition, general musicianship and studio skills to all ages and abilities for simple enjoyment and for more formal reasons like exams, festivals, auditions etc. I have my own studio at home in Cumnor Hill, within 2 minutes walk of the bus stop, exactly 3 miles west of Oxford City Centre. I teach on Mondays to Thursdays. Please ask me for my prospectus, timetable and pupil results"