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Joe began writing professionally in 1991 when he was asked to become a reviewer for Classical Guitar magazine at the invitation of the late Chris Kilvington, the magazine's reviews editor at the time.

He held this position until 1999 when he went to work in Lanzarote in the guitar duo Cross Culture.

It was not until 2000, on his return to the UK, that Joe turned to writing  more seriously.


He wrote a number of mainly education-related articles (specifically on alternative learning methods) for various magazines including the Readers' Digest, and began experimenting with short stories. In 2001 his supernatural tale, A Day to Remember, was published by New Fiction in a collection of short stories. Inspired by this, Joe continued writing in the short story and poetry genres and in the years that followed had more stories and a few poems published (see Publications).

Around the same period - and inspired by some of his teenage music students - Joe felt that young people would benefit from a motivational text to help guide them in certain areas where critical advice, delivered in an unpatronising way, seemed to be lacking. So he set about putting down on paper words of inspiration from some of history's most successful and inspiring individuals, together with his own techniques for self-motivation, applying them to pertinent issues for this age group. 

The result was Get Motivated, a book in 8 chapters covering topics including Study and Exam revision techniques, Health & Fitness, Accepting Others and Occupation Choices.

The book attracted the attention of an educational publisher who suggested that if a similar text could be written to accommodate the school PSHE curriculum it would make an attractive publishing project for them.

Joe obliged with a new book, Personal Solutions for Everyone but, unhappy with certain contractual aspects, he decided to solicit the book to some other publishers. Among these, crucially, was Hodder Gibson (an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton) who, whilst having no requirement for a PSHE book at the time, were sufficiently impressed by Joe's book and qualifications and invited him to write a proposal for the music component of a new series of books they would be producing for the Scottish Standard Grade and Higher courses.

The proposal was accepted, and work began on How to Pass Standard Grade Music

It was a fortuitous turn of events for both author and publisher since, although the two previous books had to be set aside for the time being, How to Pass Standard Grade Music would become a top-selling academic work in its genre, winning the Times Education Supplement and Saltire Society academic book of the year award in 2005 (see below). Furthermore, Joe was retained as music author with Hodder Gibson for whom he has written a further three books to date (see publications). 

These books represent a considerable creative undertaking as Joe not only wrote their content, but also composed original music for some of the exercises and composing workshops, in addition to compiling the 60 minute CDs which accompany each book. He even had some input in the books' graphic content! 



  Testimonials  How to Pass Standard Grade Music  

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The Times Education Supplement (TES) Scotland and Saltire Society Academic Book of the Year Award, 2005

This award was given to the author and publisher of the academic book deemed most original or noteworthy by the panel of judges who included education professionals.





This review of How to Pass Standard Grade Music, Joe's first published book, was printed in the Times Education Supplement Scotland in 2005.

The book is praised for being '...a valuable resource that could be used independently of teachers' and '...a lively interactive experience.' 

'... Here is [a book] that is taking it all the way to being used independently and has audio material to bring it to life.'





This principal music teacher's review of How to Pass Standard Grade Music was printed in the Times Education Supplement in 2005.

Again the book's value as a music resource is acknowledged.

‘At last music students have a Standard grade textbook giving detailed knowledge of the exam requirements, with some great music excerpts on the accompanying CD.’

The suitability of the text for students working on their own is also noted:

‘…ideal as part of an individualised study plan or for home revision.’

And the reviewer's summation has been justified in the book's popularity, reflected in sales throughout the duration of the Standard grade exams:

'...an excellent extra resource for anyone studying Standard Grade music.'


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With the publication of his latest book, How to Pass National 5 Music in April 2014, Joe launched a companion website, www.jm-education.com, which contains supplementary material for this book and through which he also intends to release other education titles in the future. Among these are the PSHE workbook Personal Solutions for Everyone and further music titles.

In addition, Joe has a number of works in progress in both the fiction and non-fiction genres which include a thriller novel, a futuristic children's book and a humourous travelogue.

Joe is a member of the Society of Authors






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