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All enquiries to the Section Co-Ordinator
Mrs Ruth Pitts, 07933 210 667, Email

Ruth is a music teacher and freelance musician More ...

Ruth is a music teacher and freelance musician working in the Southwest. She teaches piano and clarinet to a range of ages and abilities, both at home and school. She enjoys preparing pupils for performances and exams, whilst encouraging a sense of fun and creativity in their music-making. She is excited about creating opportunities for young people to perform, especially in environments like the Devon Performing Arts Festival, where they will be built up and enthused for their musical journey.

Ruth studied music at Royal Holloway University of London, specialising in clarinet performance and composition. She also holds a PCGE in primary education from Exeter University, and a diploma in piano performance. Alongside teaching, she regularly performs solo piano in local concerts and recitals, as well as accompanying instrumentalists for performances and exams. 

Where Levels are given rather than grades, the approximate levels are:

  • Beginner: Pre Grade 1 & Grade 1; Elementary: Grades 2 & 3
  • Intermediate: Grades 4 – 5; Advanced: Grades 6 – 7
  • Open: Post Grade 8


Where reference has been made either to a specific grade, or to terms such as elementary, intermediate etc, or to a level expressed in Grades, it is expected that entrants, parents, and especially teachers, will bear in mind that it is in the spirit of the festival to try to adhere carefully to the standards suggested by the the relevant grade.  If in any doubt about the level of a piece then teachers should not hesitate to contact the Instrumental Section Co-ordinator who will be happy to give guidance.  

Whilst it is obviously acceptable to play an exam piece in the festival, wider repertoire is strongly encouraged, in the context of the above advice.

Entrants may play more than one piece in a class as long as the time limit is adhered to.

Within any class, the adjudicator will pay more heed to the standard of the performance than to the level of difficulty of the piece. 

Adjudicator: Michael Johnson B.Mus (London), PGCE (Cambridge), ARCM (piano) ARCM (piano) ARCM (singing)

Michael studied singing, violin, and piano at the Royal College of Music and at Cambridge where he was a choral exhibitioner at Jesus College.

For the past fifty years he has taught gifted young people during which time many have gone on to professional careers in music.

He was formerly consultant in Singing and Piano at the Universities of Bath and Plymouth and has been a practical examiner and mentor for ABRSM for 45 years during which time he examined in more than twenty countries overseas.

Michael has also spent much of his career as an administrator: during the 1980/90s he was Chief Music Manager for Leeds City Council, General Manager of St David’s Hall, Cardiff and Director of Plymouth Pavilions in Devon.

Presently he is Director of the Devizes Eisteddfod, a five-day competitive festival in Wiltshire. In 2022 he retired as a member of the adjudicator’s panel of the British & International Federation of Festivals after 25 years’ service.

Throughout his career Michael has directed choirs: until June 2023 he was Director of the West Devon Chorale in Plymouth and is presently conductor of the Philomel Singers, a female choir based in Trowbridge.

Michael is our Adjudicator for both Keyboard and Instrumental Music Sections.