8. Leicester Student Concerts in 1927-1928

James was also teaching students both in Leicester and in London.  Following the training he had received at the Royal Academy he arranged for his students to have practice in performance skills.  The Leicester Mail reports ‘An Evening of Pianoforte:  Mr James Ching and his Pupils’ and another report refers to ‘Juvenile Pianists: Clever Players at Edward Wood Hall’.  There appears to be two slightly different reports of this student concert in this local paper.  James’ youngest brother Harold, who was training to be a singer, sang an air from ‘Faust’ in French at the concert which ended with James playing ‘two items which demonstrated him to be as great an exponent of Chopin as he is of Bach’.

The Leicester Mail and the Leicester Mercury both give reviews of a concert given in the Edward Wood Hall by Mr James Ching and the students of his School of Music.  The report describes the performances of a number of ‘clever pupils’ who were the special pupils at the Leicester Piano School.  His mother Alice Ching had gained a reputation for her piano teaching in Leicester and James took on the most talented pupils to give them special coaching to an advanced level. Many years afterwards, in her old age one of these students, Miss Margaret Herrick, who is mentioned in the review, wrote a most interesting letter about the effect James teaching had on his pupils. She remembered him giving his students a sprig of white heather before a concert.

To conclude the concert ‘Brahms’ E Flat Rhapsody was in the hands of James Ching a thing of beauty.  It had point and meaning impossible to miss.’  and  in another report ‘Of Mr Ching’s playing it need only be said that he made Schumann sing as only the very best players are able.  There was real poetry and imagination as well as a subtly beautiful tone in his playing of it.’

On March 28 1926 the Leicester Mail reported that ‘The Music Advisory Committee recommended that under Dr E. Markham Lee, as Head of the Department of Music, Mr S. James Ching BA, Music D. of Leicester be appointed tutor for piano in succession to Dr Markham Lee and, jointly with Dr Burrows recognised for teaching the theory of music in the department. They further recommended that Mr Ching be asked to allow his name to go forward as Lecturer in Music in the Faculty of Arts, music now being recognised as a subject for all stages of the London Arts Examination up to Pass’. The report was approved and these appointments clearly paid off because in September 1926 the Leicester Mail reported that ‘one of the most flourishing sections of the University is the Music Department’.