Taking the tension out of learning

Taking the tension out of learning is a unique system I developed to teach the art of learning and performance. For the past twenty years I have taught young and old to take the tension out of their learning, to get out of their own way, fulfil their potential and meet their goals. I’m a musician by background, a concert guitarist and a teaching artist. I have always been interested in the pursuit of excellence. By deconstructing the principles demonstrated by brilliant performers in many fields I transform people’s perception of their own abilities, help them find their true nature, and set them on a path of discovery whatever their skills or interests.

My work as a concert guitarist is, at its core, about communication. I bring that same ability to my teaching to convey complex ideas with a simplicity and accessibility that means students can begin the road to excellence with immediate effect.

I use principles drawn from an array of disciplines, from Alexander Technique to Tai Chi, Juggling to Slack Lining , Wild Swimming to Sailing, Barefoot Running to Feldenkrais Technique and my own experience of twenty years on the concert stage.

Have a look below for a selection of workshops and courses for schools and universities. From helping individual students, through to year group workshops and working with you to set up a running programme of lessons within your organisation.


Services to Schools

Workshops in the art of learning  –  yr9 to 6th form.

Using juggling to demonstrate principles of good learning and performance these one day workshops are incredibly popular. An immersive experience using fun and accessible techniques that enhance students’ experience of learning and raise their game in the classroom, sports field, on stage or in exams. Tailored to each year group’s developmental needs and the specific challenges they face these workshops celebrate children’s innate desire to learn and inspire them to new heights. Expect to be challenged with new ways of learning and to discover techniques from many skills that will open up a new level of performance and enjoyment.

In addition to this workshop I recommend setting up a regular programme of training. Each school has different needs and challenges in scheduling so please get in touch to create a tailored series of lessons for your students.

For availability and pricing please email me at james@jamesboyd.co.uk                                   or call 079500 26332.


Transition workshop –  6th form. 

The transition from 6th form to higher education is a pivotal moment in a child’s career. This workshop meets the needs of these students and helps them in the pursuit of excellence. I work with students to find their unique voice and help them to communicate by developing articulacy, confidence and  poise. I teach them to apply these techniques under pressure during interviews. And I help them to develop a routine of practise and learning at a point where the rules of school give way to the more flexible environment of university.

For availability and pricing please email me at james@jamesboyd.co.uk                                   or call 079500 26332.


One to One tuition supporting students through exam stress. 

I work individually with students who are particularly stressed, tense or standing in their own way. I have had many successes over the years in helping people to realise their true potential through the safe and supportive environment of one to one tuition. Examinations are important markers along the path of education but too often become overwhelming goals. This is not helped by the pressure teachers themselves are under. I reconnect students to the core of their subjects, reignite their natural curiosity and teach them physical and psychological techniques to counter examination stress.

For availability and pricing please email me at james@jamesboyd.co.uk                                  or call 079500 26332.



Performance Skills for Musicians  

Schools from primary to sixth form benefit from the service I provide. Twenty years on the concert stage working with some of the finest artists and composers has given me a unique insight into the art of practise and performance. I teach performance skills at the Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians, an outreach programme of Guildhall School of Music. At Greshams’ school every music student I teach goes through a programme of performance skills, and in my private practise this is an integral part of learning instrumental technique. Expect to see massive improvements in childrens’ confidence and ability to communicate through their music making. This leads to more enjoyment on the path of musicianship and to better performances. From class workshops to individual tuition, one day workshops to a running programme of development I help give students an edge.

Please contact me to discuss your requirements and create a programme that can best serve the needs of your students. james@jamesboyd.co.uk or call 079500 26332



Music Practise  – Loving the Process.

A real problem in the music departments of  many schools is the culture of practise

I have seen bribes of points or awards used as a lure to encourage students. Other schools try to nudge their children towards developing a work ethic but use the phrase ‘ the dreaded p word’ as if practise is an Everest to be conquered by stamina and will power. Often an examination becomes the main reason for practising.

It is good to have something to work towards but these approaches, while well meaning, attack the problem from the wrong angle. Practise only becomes a truly sustainable activity if the student sees real meaning in the process.

Practise is fundamentally about curiosity, non judgemental experimentation and finely tuned awareness. I teach these things in an easily accessible way using techniques that steer students back to their natural curiosity. I encourage a shift from a goal oriented, box ticking mentality to a process oriented way of learning . This paradigm shift changes everything. Expect to see more engagement, a new level of technical facility, more creativity, better awareness and more confidence.

If you have a problem with the practise ethos in your school I can help.

james@jamesboyd.co.uk – 079500 26332


Teacher Training – INSET.  

In this training day there are no power point presentations, flip charts or jargon, only techniques that are relevant, enjoyable, and will allow teachers to reach a new level of inspiration and performance. In order to inspire students we have to work on ourselves, learn how to elude mediocrity, maintain our curiosity and continually challenge our habits. Most of us enter the teaching profession because we are passionate about our subjects and about the future of the children in our care. Unfortunately the demands of teaching in the present education system are a form of repetitive strain. This often dulls our edge

The course starts and ends with a session of juggling. Lots of laughter and dropping of the balls leads to a relaxed and playful atmosphere. This session will uncover principles of performance that will be explored throughout the day and can be applied to any teaching programme.

You will learn about the reflexes and reactions that stand between you and your true ability

How to cultivate a process driven method of working

How to encourage a positive view of mistakes

How to combine relaxation with intention and how to teach it

How to break habitual patterns that dull the edge of  teaching

How use of your body is linked to use of your mind

How to manage your energy during a long day of teaching

How to build a routine that will put you in an optimal frame of mind in front of your students

How to put it all together in a way that is true to your nature.

Say goodbye to boring training days. Littered with solo and group exercises  this is an INSET unlike any other.

james@jamesboyd.co.uk – 079500 26332



Nursery and Pre-Prep parents and children have enjoyed a visit from James Boyd, a world-class concert guitarist, inspirational speaker and mentor. James teaches young and old how to improve their learning and performance.

James has a passion for learning that has led him to become a sailor, wild swimmer, bare-foot runner, juggler and slackliner. He uses principles from these things and from his professional life to help pupil reach their potential.

James’ priority is to deliver fun, immersive experiences that bring learning to life, nurturing children with a belief that they can learn anything they wish and find joy in the process. It was great to hear him talk to the children about how they can enjoy learning from their mistakes and how to reach for the stars and have fun along the way!

RON MITCHELL  Businessman, Entrepreneur and collector.

If you get the opportunity to see James perform you will learn that he is one of the World’s foremost guitarists & I’m very proud to know him.
If you take a look at the link above, he’s used his accumulated experience to create the most amazing series of inspirational courses for young & old. Local schools in which he’s given presentations are waxing lyrical about his effect on their pupils.
If any of you think you may know of schools who could use inspirational help for both pupils and staff, please seek James out.


CERI PETERSON –  musician and teacher

‘Having suffered from terrible performance nerves over the last few years, I decided to seek help…James made me feel at ease from the start, listening without judgement but challenging negative feelings. He drew upon his knowledge of various performing disciplines and relaxing techniques and encouraged me to be more mindful and inquisitive of the way you stand, move, think and feel. I can honestly say that James has inspired me to be more confident in all areas of my life, but has especially helped me to become calmer and more relaxed in performance, allowing me to enjoy my playing again.’      

ALISON –  (Mother)

‘James has a natural gift for teaching. Our son had completely lost his enthusiasm for music. James completely reinspired him.James teaches with infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy, combined with great sensitivity and an attention to detail. His own musical talents are an inspiration, and he also has an extraordinary depth and breadth of musical knowledge. This, together with his understanding of complex performance skills bring another dimension to learning with him.’

Jo – Student

In all my years of education both as a student and a teacher James is one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He has changed my thinking about music and life in ways I never thought possible.

He makes the lessons fun but challenging. Nearly every new piece I think I’ll never be able to play this but I always manage to in the end with James’s guidance. He has a vast arsenal of techniques at his fingertips to get the best out of his students.

The longer I have lessons with James’s the more I realise how lucky I am to have found a teacher of his calibre. Sorry James that means you are stuck with me for a while longer