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 About Steve  

Steve's Biography


Steve McGarvie BA (Hons), PGCE is a Darlington-based musician and teacher. He completed his honours degree in Jazz Studies at the Leeds College of Music (LCM) in 1998 and holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in post-compulsory education from Sunderland University. Steve is currently the Peripatetic Music Teacher at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington, one of the country's leading sixth form colleges, where he teaches on the A level Music and BTEC Popular Music courses and directs the college Big Band and Rock Choir.

Before arriving at QE in 2005 Steve taught Music and Music Technology at Teesdale School, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham from 2002-05 to pupils aged

11-18, where he also set up the Music Technology A level. He also worked from 1998-2005 for the Durham Music Service as a peripatetic teacher, specialising in teaching woodwind instruments to groups of pupils aged between 8 and 18. During this period Steve also co-directed the Durham County Wind Band, continuing an association with the band that stretched back to 1991 when he joined while as a pupil at Longfield Comprehensive School, Darlington, touring with the band to the Netherlands, France, Austria, Canada and Malta.

From September 2016 to June 2019 Steve worked as a Musician in Residence at Beverley School for Autism in Middlesbrough, delivering workshops to pupils aged 4-19, including a Christmas show and a large scale Summer concert on the theme of Africa, where pupils and staff performed a wide variety of songs and poems with a focus on African culture. 

Outside of the classroom Steve has taught many pupils privately on a one-to-one basis and has a vast experience of teaching pupils from beginner standard to Grade 8 and beyond. Specialising in clarinet, saxophone, piano and music theory, (having passed Associated Board Grade 8 at Merit standard or above on Clarinet, Bb Sax and Piano), Steve is comfortable working with all ages and in many styles such as classical, jazz and popular music, and lessons can be tailored to work towards formal qualifications or playing just for fun. For further details, click here

As a performer, Steve has a vast experience and has been performing publicly since the age of nine. As a child, Steve played clarinet, alto, tenor and baritone sax in the Durham County Wind Band, including a spell as Principal Clarinet. During this time Steve also entered BBC's "Young Musician of the Year", performing Rossini's Introduction, Theme & Variations.

During this time Steve was performing in the orchestra pit for several local Amateur Operatic companies, playing in a couple of dozen shows including Fiddler On The Roof, Carousel, The Pirates of Penzance and Cabaret.

Within the local pop/rock scene Steve has played keyboards, sax and backing vocals with rock band Discovery, played the part of keyboardist Ray Manzarek in the Doors tribute band Mojo Risin', played keyboards, sax and backing vocals with pop covers band Working Class and was the director and founder member of soul covers band The Soulutions, playing keyboard and backing vocals. He currently plays sax and backing vocals in the highly respected soul band The Smokin' Spitfires, which plays a monthly charity gig at the Cluny, Ouseburn, Newcastle, in aid of the Bubble Foundation UK charity.

Within the thriving North East jazz scene Steve plays piano with the Darlington-based quintet The Jazz Tones and is the lead alto sax player of the Durham Alumni Big Band. He has also performed as a guest musician for several bands in the North East, including John Warren's Splinter Group, The Dougie Pugh Quintet, The North East Soiree, among many others.

Steve lives in Darlington with his wife Jacquie and stepdaughter Olivia.

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