Derek Honner FRAM, an inspired teacher at the Royal Academy of Music for some 30 years died on Friday, May 3. A former principal piccolo with the London Philharmonic orchestra, he was a man of deep sensitivity and personal modesty. He took a lifelong interest in the lives of his students, who are to be found at every level of British musical life. At a time when rogue teachers are in the headlines, Derek stands out as a stainless exemplar of enlightened instruction. Jennifer Stinton, who studied with him 1981-1985, contributes the following appreciation.
His original training was in the army bands, which was why he was so brilliant at transposition by sight and expected his students to try it too! He was at the RAM for about 30 years …the professors were Derek & Gareth Morris and there was huge rivalry between them, because Gareth insisted on his students sticking with the wooden Rudall Carte flutes and Derek was more forward thinking in the French tradition with the silver flute….