By Louise Schenk-Cooper

NEWLY-qualified teacher Frank Bowyer is no stranger to performing in front of a crowd.

As a talented, experienced and well-travelled musician, he is used to being the centre of attention and firmly in the spotlight.

Now he is utilising those skills and continuing to hit the right notes - except this time in the classroom.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in Clacton, performed in ska, punk and rocksteady bands until he was 19 before honing his skills and forming a percussive acoustic guitar duo called The Lone Pepper Duo.

His music career took him around the world, but a desire to teach was always on the horizon.

Now he has achieved his teaching dream.

Frank is a newly-qualified teacher of music and has just completed his training at North Essex Teacher Training (NETT) in Clacton.

He said: “To have the privilege to continue doing something I love is awesome.

“I hope my experience proves invaluable in the classroom and each day is a new performance.

“I’m so fascinated and passionate about music and the effect it has on people, both individually and socially.

Gazette: From the stage to the classroom - newly-qualified teacher Frank Bowyer

“Delivering something you’re passionate about to teenagers that don’t really care can be deflating.

“However, being connected with the younger generation is priceless and rewarding in itself.

“I enjoy seeing the improvements my students make and hearing naff performances from them is what I live for.“It’s heart-warming to see them get up in front of everyone and just give it a go.

“That kind of courage and determination is something all of us could benefit from throughout our lives.”

Frank, who says his change of career has taught him plenty about himself, studied at the Academy of Contemporary Music, in Guildford.

He then spent eight years in The Lone Pepper Duo.

During his career, he lived and worked on the Canary Islands for two years, performed at pubs, clubs, bars, parties and weddings across London and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017.

He had a contract with Brittany Ferries, which meant regular trips to France and Spain, and performed a string of shows in Italy and the Czech Republic.

Frank also had a gig with Coca-Cola and one performance was recorded and broadcast in 3D for a corporate event at ExCeL London.

He quit The Lone Pepper Duo in 2017 and travelled to New Zealand and Australia.

While Down Under, he met and performed with musicians from around the world, playing at various open mic nights, bars and on the streets for extra cash.

Now he is ready for an exciting new chapter, but admits his journey into teaching has required some sacrifices.“My social life has been non-existent from September to July,” he said.

“Any half-term breaks have been spent grafting through assignments, planning, reading and studying.

“I’ve had to decline offers for gigs and get-togethers in the knowledge that with continuous, intense dedication, I’d be better off by the time the initial training year ends.

“Now I’m out the other side, it feels amazing and I’ve picked up where I left a lot of my hobbies.

“Teaching is a great career and you’ll find yourself being an important cog in a brilliant machine.

“However, be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time to get into the industry.

“In any other line of work, when you clock off, you’re done.

“In education training, you have to be constant in order to get everything finished on time.

“Every day is different and each day presents life-changing experiences and challenges.”

Gazette: From the stage to the classroom - newly-qualified teacher Frank Bowyer

During his training, Frank worked at placement schools around north Essex, including St Helena, in Colchester, and Clacton County High School.

And as well as having a deep, extensive knowledge of music theory and harmony, he is conscious of the need to be a role model for those in his class.

“I’ve been called a ‘favourite teacher’ hundreds of times and it’s so cool they like me that much,” he said.

“I want to inspire everyone in the room.

“I want to educate and entertain all my students but, with so many different genres, tastes and opinions, it’s a fine balancing act to meet those expectations.”


Teaching a music syllabus means there are various styles and topics that some students are very opinionated about.

“There’s an art to it,” said Frank, who received an award for “most inspiring trainee teacher” from NETT.

“Personally, I enjoy all kinds of music so I get a kick out of it.

“Being connected with my students and listening to the music they love has shaped my outlook and beliefs for the better.

“The youth of today is the change of tomorrow.”

For more information about a teaching career, you can join a NETT information webinar on Thursday, July 15, at 9am.

Register via or call 01255 431949.

To find out more, visit