tobin music
Accelerating music literacy
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Tobin System
Candida Tobin
Tobin Trust
Music Rounds

Candida Tobin, Hon FTCL, LTCL

5th January 1926 - 14th December 2008

Candida enjoyed a long and distinguished musical career. She began her musical studies at The Royal Academy of Music, becoming their youngest adult pupil at the age of sixteen. Candida went on to achieve her LTCT at Trinity College of Music and began teaching music in a wide range of schools in Hertfordshire and elsewhere.

After a number of years Candida was appointed as Advisory Teacher to 136 of Hertfordshire's primary schools. During this time Candida was developing and writing books about teaching the theory of music through visual interpretations. A series of her early books were published by Ginn.

Candida lectured at major international conferences and produced a variety of multimedia programs - most notably the highly interactive Musicolour CD-ROM, for which she was awarded the European Multi-Media Award (EMMA) and the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) award in 1992.
Trinity College has played an important part in Candida's life, being the starting point of her professional live and recognising her achievements by awarding her an Honorary Fellowship in 1972. She continued to provide a regional venue for Trinity College music exams, and taught courses on their behalf many times in the past.

Over a period of fifty years, Candida dedicated herself to teaching music and developing her method. She wrote over thirty books, developed software programs, and just before her passing she completed her work to produce a series of instructional DVD's to effectively document the core elements of her teaching method in a classroom situation and presented precisely as she proscribed.
"Music can be taught even more easily than you can teach reading and writing, yet throughout history this has been denied to the majority, so allowing only half a person to become developed. Music feeds the intellect and the soul - no other subject can boast this. Music is an international language. Participating in music is more important than listening and it is noticeable how it always brings a smile to those who join together in music making (or should do so!). Music responds to our moods; music releases our tensions; and the language of music is immensely powerful, hence it is used on all occasions - weddings, funerals - all the major ceremonies of life. Even in film making, though we often underestimate this because it sets the mood which the director wishes to convey. In other words, we don't need words - music will do!"

Candida Tobin.
Like many others in the music education world I am saddened to hear that Candida Tobin, creator of the Tobin Music System has passed away. Candida was a genius in her field and leaves a legacy that will benefit teachers and children for future generations. I was fortunate to see Candida teach and lecture many times; her ability to inspire and connect with children was sheer magic. It was a privilege to be trained by Candida and through her mentoring I am able to pass on a little bit of magic every day.

Julie Hall Licentiate Tobin Teacher
Tamworth Staffordshire

Once met, never forgotten. Some people have this effect on us and Candida Tobin, who died on 14th December 2008 aged 82 was one of these people. Best known for her Tobin Music System, a method of teaching children of all ages and abilities, Candida was also a gifted composer, musician, publisher, teacher, entrepreneur besides being a wife and mother.

Candida was born in Chingford in 1926 and as she told us in her fascinating autobiography, Lifting the Lid (2003), as a young child she knew she had a mission in life and that there was something that she had to do. But first she had a life and career to build. Candida won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of sixteen but the family had to leave London during the Blitz and her musical education was cut short. At the end of the war, Candida had saved enough money (by making and selling brooches made from crab and sea urchin shells found on Suffolk beaches!) to pay for a first term at Trinity College London and so her typical determination and creative spirit were now apparent. After graduating, and marrying her first husband, Candida worked in a variety of jobs, but this included some music teaching. The marriage wasn’t a success but Candida was acquiring a taste for teaching and after meeting John Tobin, her second husband and moving to Hertfordshire, she was given a job at Burnt Mill School in Harlow.

Over a short period, Candida developed the ideas and materials which form the core of her music teaching system; she discovered that the children could compose their own music and were actually enjoying their music lessons. From that point, Candida had found her mission: to teach, to train teachers and above all, to instil in as many people as possible a belief that they could make their own music. This mission often took Candida overseas, she lectured in Canada, Ireland, Australia, Europe and the USA. To this day teachers and parents from all over the world seek out her books and send messages of thanks for providing them with a magical musical toolkit.

This was to become her life’s work, though there were many setbacks along the way Candida was not deterred from this path. She had the key ingredients essential in the music world; patience, perseverance and passion! Candida self-published over 40 books, including the Wizard’s Way piano,=2 0guitar and recorder books, developed award-winning interactive media materials (Musicolour, with Virgin) and formed many firm friendships with supporters and colleagues around the world. In 1972 Trinity College of Music recognised Candida’s genius and awarded her with an honorary fellowship. Candida loved live music and somehow found time to create the Old Malthouse Music Society (named after her house in Sawbridgeworth and the venue for the concerts). Many of us were privileged to attend and enjoy performances from top-class musicians who were persuaded by Candida’s wiles to come and provide us with unforgettable concerts.

As Candida entered her eighties, she was still working as hard as ever, but decided that she needed a Trust to support her in her work. The Tobin Music Trust was established in 2005 to perpetuate and promote her music teaching system and has helped Candida in gaining funding from the University of Hertfordshire for the production of a set of DVDs which show the system in action in a variety of schools – scripted by Candida. Renewed links with20Trinity College London were also established. During that time, a cadre of dedicated music teachers has developed, led by Julie Hall, who are committed to the system and determined to spread the word that all children, of all abilities, can learn to read, write and compose music.

Candida became ill early in 2007 but bore her illness with typical humour, pragmatism and determination to make the most of her remaining months. She was an example to us all of how to live life to full, by giving rather than taking.

Candida is survived by her daughter, Penelope and her son, Richard.

Rob Francis: Chair
Tobin Music Trust

The following video slideshow was commissioned by the Tobin family to celebrate the life of Candida Tobin. This 7-minute video, set to music composed by Candida herself, shows a small snapshot of her life in photos, and the music (taken from her Norwich Market Suite) makes this a powerful and wonderful tribute to her life.     [Click for video]

Candida's remarkable and inspirational story is documented in her autobiography, Lifting the Lid.

As Candida Tobin "lifts the lid" on her uniquely interesting life, she not only fascinates the reader with the contents, but also writes colourfully. Known for devising the Tobin Music System, which imaginatively combines pattern and colour, Tobin shares her tireless quest with the reader in the same exuberant manner with which she approaches her life's work. Her sheer determination shines through, as she throws 120% energy into a variety of enterprising projects, despite many discouragements. Piano Professional Magazine, April 2004

…Sometimes hilarious, sometimes profoundly thought provoking, it is the highly original story of a highly original mind. Antony Hopkins, CBE

Lifting the Lid is available to purchase for £10.00 or €14.00. ISBN 0-905684-45-1

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