Violin and workshop leader
Shem has played violin since the age of 6, and has always been inspired by music from across time and geography. He is interested in the history of social music making, and the different ways people learn across cultures. He studied mediaeval languages, early mediaeval history and social anthropology at Cambridge University before living and working in Chile for two years, starting his working life teaching English in a copper mine in the Atacama Desert.
He is a violin tutor and the administrator at the Pembroke Academy of Music in Walworth, South London, which provides instrumental lessons to children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access them. He is also a musician and practitioner for involuntarymovement, in a team delivering contemporary dance classes for adults with learning disabilities. He is heavily involved in his local community, and believes in the importance of music in bringing people together and strengthening social bonds.
Shem has performed in bands ranging from blues rock to Latin American folk, and has a keen interest in Indian Classic music as a student of the sarangi. His wider work includes teaching at a college for adults with learning disabilities in Battersea, in subjects ranging from music to maths. He likes to continually question what it might mean to teach well, drawing pedagogical inspiration from sources ranging from 18th-century Europe to contemporary north India.