Julie is an experienced music education manager. She was for many years the Programme Leader for a Degree in Popular Music Performance at the University of Kent, a course which saw enormous success – a high percentage of First Class Honours graduates, and a large number of students going on to work in the music industry and music education.
The programme, co-written by Julie Parker and James Sedge, was described as “outstanding”, “innovative” and “astonishing”, and included music field trips to New Orleans, which Julie organised through a substantial network of contacts including notable music practitioners, cultural centres, volunteer agencies and universities in New Orleans.
Julie was awarded “Outstanding Lecturer of the Year” in 2010, and also held the post of Advanced Practitioner – a role given to Grade 1 (Outstanding) Lecturers which involves helping other lecturers to improve their teaching. She has mentored several staff through their Teacher Training qualifications (DTTLS and PGCE), a position undertaken in association with the University of Greenwich, and also designed a Teacher Training Module within the Degree Programme, in which she trained many undergraduates to teach individual and group instrumental lessons successfully – which has resulted in the creation of several excellent new teachers specialising in popular music, some of whom have subsequently gained positions at MusicStation.
For 12 years Julie managed a very successful Further Education department in Kent, which involved looking after 14 staff and 250 students, and full-time Popular Music courses from Level 1 to Level 3, with BTEC, Access to Music and Open College Network plus extra-curricular provision including Grade Examinations and Performance Workshops. She was directly responsible for day-to-day management of areas such as timetabling, staff training, assessment, concerts, community activities and promotion. Working from a strong ethos in which she believes that music education should and can be of great benefit to the community, she also created and facilitated a ground-breaking project where mature music students worked with inmates of two open prisons to create original music compositions. With the local community in mind, she also supplied and trained student bands on a regular basis to perform at charity events, award ceremonies, corporate functions, weddings, and community events such as Tonbridge Castle’s annual summer festival
Prior to this Julie taught keyboards and organ for the Yamaha Music Foundation for five years, and became a teacher-examiner achieving nearly 80% Triple A grades, with hundreds of pupils, and arranging music for keyboard ensembles on a regular basis. She was also Musical Director for many dramatic productions ranging from serious drama to musical theatre – composing, arranging, conducting, and coaching large casts and solo performers. She has excellent aural transcription abilities and notational skill, and once transcribed an entire album for a country singer on his way to a Nashville studio. Having qualified as a teacher in 1996, Julie is a highly experienced lecturer and has over the years taught many and varied courses, modules and areas within the study of music, including Piano Performance, Rehearsal Skills, Music History (including almost every genre you can think of, from Metal to Motown!), Popular Music Theory up to Grade 8, Aural Training, Notation, Arrangement, Music Sequencing, and Session Musician Skills.
She has specialised recently in New Orleans’ musical and cultural history – from slave songs, ragtime, traditional jazz and early black American composers, through to 1940s Rhythm & Blues, up to today’s funk and street brass bands, Caribbean and West African influences, Cajun and Zydeco music. She is currently studying the piano styles of New Orleans piano pioneers Dr John, James Booker, Smiley Lewis, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair, and has a dream to one day study for a PhD on this subject. Julie created an 8-piece band called ‘Big Easy Band’, which plays music from New Orleans and the Deep South, and its smaller decibel-friendly counterpart Big Easy Acoustic Quartet, in which she performs with many of the other MusicStation tutors.
Julie has worked as a keyboard lead consultant for the new Trinity Rock & Pop graded exam syllabus that was published in September 2017. She was involved in reshaping the syllabus to reflect more on modern styles of learning and playing. The syllabus has been a great success with many teachers now switching to this innovative new syllabus.