In all the years I have dealt with music teachers, I have found some to be very qualified but lacking in rapport with their students or vice versa, while others had both but were reluctant to teach their students too much for fear of being upstaged. Thankfully in Jody I find none of these hang-ups and it shows in her students, especially the ones who are willing to work with her.
Jody is extremely committed to promoting brass music, in particular, and for this cause she (quietly) makes great sacrifices on a personal front. For example, I know that she has many meals on the run. She offers her expertise in conducting the school's orchestra and the trombone choir and avails her home for the choir to practise at once a month. Where she cannot source suitable music she composes it herself, which is another one of her talents.
On top of this, we find her very friendly, humble and approachable and a great asset to Hamilton, given that she performs in the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra and the Trombone Choir and teaches at various schools in the district.
Jody offers an amazing music program from primary age children, she is also involved with Intermediate age children. She offers private tuition AND the opportunity to be part of a band/orchestra. The band is an amazing place for the children to develop their passion for music, make friends and have fun along the way. It is very rare to find a teacher who is able to provide outstanding tuition all the way through from Grade 1 to Grade 8 for trombone and trumpet players. Jody is a very passionate musician and she is very dedicated to offer a wonderful opportunities for young musicians. I strongly recommend Jody's Top Note program. Both my kids were, and are still involved with the Hukanui Band.
Brigitte S – parent of 2 children under Jody's wing
Jody is an energetic, fun, positive, and inspirational music teacher.
We are in our eighth year now with children studying music with Jody. She has taught the kids to love music and really enjoy and express themselves though music. She has the unique ability to start with the children at their very basic introduction to music and the technical ability to teach at a very high level.
The kids look forward to their lessons and always leave with a smile and a funny story to tell.
My son has studied music theory and under Jody as an orchestral tutor and now plays two instruments to a high level.
My daughter has developed her skills as a trombonist, studies theory and is now keen to add another instrument to her repertoire. Jody has been her orchestra tutor and conductor for the past 4 years, instilling a love of orchestral music in her.
Jody is always giving to music, and through her work with the school orchestras and Youth Orchestra Waikato has opened up my children and so many others to the world of classical music but also the ability to take their music to other genre’s.
Jody has been my nine year old son’s trumpet teacher this year. She has been the perfect balance of relaxed & wacky and formal & firm. I have had the pleasure of sitting in on some of the lessons during holiday time and I have enjoyed her way of working with my son. Not only has she taught him how to play trumpet, she has worked with him on some of the life skills he has needed (having a good laugh when appropriate, working hard toward a goal etc). She has encouraged him without pushing him (he is the sort that needs handling in a firm but gentle manner). As a result of Jody’s work with him this year, he has just sat his Grade Two exam for trumpet (he got a merit). This was his first exam and in just over three terms of lessons with Jody, he was ready to go.
My seven year old has been also been part of the pre-band group with Jody this year. When asked what she thought of Jody as a teacher, my daughter replied “She is cool. She is terrific. She keeps you entertained.” It is obvious that my daughter has enjoyed being in Jody’s group and I believe that if she enjoys being in a class, she will learn. The pre-band group has offered my daughter the opportunity to learn some basic musicality skills in preparation for learning an instrument. I believe it was a worthwhile activity for my child to engaged in.
Overall,I have been lucky to have Jody working with my kids this year. We look forward to having her teaching our children again next year.
16 / 10 / 2019
To Whom it May Concern:
I am the music teacher at Forest Lake School in Hamilton and have had the pleasure of employing Jody as our brass tutor for 2019.
Jody came highly recommended to us from Hukanui Primary School where she has been the band leader and music coordinator for years. Off the back of this recommendation and having met Jody personally I knew that she would be a good fit for the students at our decile 3 school which teaches through both English and full Māori immersion medium classrooms.
From the outset Jody began building an excellent rapport with our students. We had a range of ages, abilities and musical experience levels sign up to be part of Jody’s brass programme and with each and every one of them she has been able to connect, communicate and educate professionally. Her wicked sense of humour appeals to our more lively students while her expertise as a musician herself has our more focussed students eating out of the palm of her hand.
Results were achieved almost immediately under Jody’s tutorage giving students a real sense of achievement and the motivation to continue learning. Her unique teaching method which combines the learning of traditional musical notation with letters / numbers and fingering (on trumpet) and slide position (on trombone) has meant that parents and students are very satisfied with their progress.
Under Jody’s leadership of our school brass programme we have gone from 0 brass students to 4 trombone students and 4 trumpet students in 3 terms.
For me, working with Jody has been equally rewarding. Her experience as an itinerant music tutor, her connections throughout the musical community of New Zealand and her enthusiasm for providing opportunities for students to learn have been invaluable, inspiring and infectious. Our school started its journey as an itinerant music provider at the beginning of this year with just brass and since then we have added drums, flute, saxophone and clarinet with a total of 28 students now learning weekly. Jody’s support and guidance has been invaluable in helping to launch this programme.
I have absolutely no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending Jody as huge asset to any school, whether they are looking to start it’s journey as an itinerant music provider or to expand it’s programme with a bunch of noisy race-car sounding trombones and a team of triumphant trumpeters. Jody, I wish you all the best of luck (not that you need it) in your new geographical location!
If you would like to get in contact with me to further discuss this testimonial then please do not hesitate to drop me an email;
16 October 2019
Re: Jody Thomas
To whom it may concern
Jody Thomas has worked in our school providing specialised music tuition leading to children joining our senior band programme for a number of years now. This has been a very successful programme and has been a vital component of our wider Hukanui Learning Curriculum and one that adds a lot of value to our school.
Jody brings specialist skills in being able to successfully teach musical concepts to groups of children as well as teach a number of instruments to a very competent level. Our school bands consistently perform to a high level being awarded gold or silver status for a number of years at Waikato Competitions. These skills in the right person are very hard to source and we have been very fortunate to have Jody run this programme over a number of years in our school.
I have no hesitation in endorsing Jody’s application for any such position in another school or institution.
David Mossop PRINCIPAL