Session Player

Be in the band - a play along series for budding musicians allowing even the most inexperienced players to “perform” with the professionals

MEET OUR TEACHING TEAM

 
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GRAHAM SUTHERLAND (GUITAR)

I’ve played on the live music scene for over 25 years, playing with numerous bands and artists, encompassing a range of styles including Country, Soul, Pop, Indie, Americana, Blues and Rock, experiencing the stage at some big festivals and also small intimate gigs too. One of my favourite musical settings is the recording studio, where I ‘ve been able to write, record and produce music, even playing on other artist’s sessions, some of the songs have been played on BBC radio and worldwide stations. I love music technology and see it as a great opportunity for young musicians to release their music globally in the ever-changing music industry. Over the last twelve years I’ve spent most of my time teaching guitar, music technology and band development to young people in schools. I really enjoy helping young people to learn music and develop their craft as a musician.

 
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CATHERINE ELWIS (VOICE, VIOLIN, PIANO)


I studied Music at York and received Honours as a result of my third year vocal performance and achieved grade 8 piano. On finishing my degree in 2007 I returned to Doncaster and visited Wakefield Cathedral twice a week, providing vocal coaching for the boys choir. I also started training as a Yamaha music teacher. By November 2007 I was qualified and I began teaching class keyboard lessons for both children and adults. I joined the Doncaster Music Service in January 2009 providing one-to-one vocal and piano lessons and group keyboard lessons to local secondary schools. I encourage all students to strive to do the best they can. I believe it is important to play and perform in a group as well as solo. To date, all my students have a 100% pass rate and my last set of students who took exams all achieved merit and distinction levels.

 
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ROB CLARK (PERCUSSION)

Rob studied percussion at The Birmingham Conservatoire from 1997-2001 and since graduating he has worked extensively as a drummer and percussionist both in this country and abroad. He has worked with many distinguished artists including Judge Jules, The Drifters, Elaine Delmar and Joe Longthorne and performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New Orleans, USA. Theatre work includes shows for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon and on tour. Further musical theatre credits include UK tours of Cabaret & Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. His orchestral work has included performances with The National Youth Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan, Orchestra da Camara, ESO and The City Concert Orchestra. He has also worked under the baton of renowned conductors such as Yan Pascal Tortelier, Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Colin Davis, including performances at the Proms, Royal Albert Hall. As a music educator, Rob is in high demand. He runs percussion workshops in primary schools across the UK aimed at developing whole class music tuition. As an experienced examiner for Rockschool, he assesses musicians for examinations in the UK and abroad. His work in education also involves drum kit and percussion tuition at Lincoln Minster School & as Director of Session Player LTD, he coordinates all the instrumental lessons & teachers in a number of Doncaster schools.

 
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IAN WEST (PERCUSSION)

Ian West has been teaching drums in the South Yorkshire region for the last 25 years. From his base at Electro Music Doncaster, he offers drum tuition and drum lessons in all musical styles to all levels of students, along with offering specialist tutoring in advanced drumming techniques. Ian's successful drum teaching methods have encouraged students from all over the Yorkshire region to attend his drum school. His high class reputation and excellent student exam pass rate have attracted students to the school from many areas including Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley, Sheffield, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Humberside.

Ian has performed with the following artists:

John Parr Eliot Kennedy Steve Womack Dennis Rollins Peter Kay Beto Daltro S Club Mica Paris Liz McClarnon 5ive Kenny Thomas Alistair Griffin Antony Costa Andy Abraham The Reason 4 Katy Bullock Stafford Galli Janet Devlin Craig Colton Babybird Martin Fry : ABC Tony Christie Donny Osmond

Ian holds a L6D-BA Deg (3rd year).

 
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DYZELLE SUTHERLAND

I am a professional violinist and community musician and have worked in music education since graduating over 10 years ago.  I studied for an honors degree in classical violin performance at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and I completed a Masters in Community Music at the University of York.  I am classically trained, but hailing from the Highlands of Scotland, I have a strong background in folk and fiddle music too.  On top of my teaching/education work, I play violin in a symphony orchestra as well as collaborating with other local bands/artists. As a violinist, I have performed across the UK, as well as Europe and the US.  In the past, I have also worked as a music instructor and music leader for various organisations, including the R.S.A.M.D Musicworks department, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and a variety of local councils. I have experience of running my own workshops and music classes, rehearsing and conducting ensembles, delivering CPD courses and teaching music theory.  I also have a strong foundation in Early Years music education and I have completed several training courses in both Colourstrings violin method and kindergarten music teaching and the Kodaly approaches to music education.

 
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GARETH SMITH

Since graduating from Leeds college of music, Gareth has worked professionally as a trumpet player both in the UK and abroad with various bands and artists and has been teaching brass for the last 10 years in and around the South Yorkshire area. He teaches the full range of brass instruments from beginner to advanced, jazz to classical and specialises in trumpet & cornet. 

For the last three years, Gareth has been brass tutor and Military band conductor at the prestigious Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in Loughborough, leading the students in various performances both as part of the college calendar and at public events locally.

Professionally Gareth has worked and performed with many great bands, shows and artists around the UK and Europe. These include:

  • Shed 7

  • The Corrs

  • Sam Bailey

  • Jonathan Wilkes

  • Ant & Dec

  • Anthony Costa

  • Scouting for girls

  • The Pigeon Detectives

  • The Rat Pack - live from Las Vegas

  • The National Youth Jazz Orchestra

  • The Doncaster Jazz Orchestra

 
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SARAH POTTS

I hugely enjoy performing and the variety that goes with that; soloist working with DJs, rock bands, jazz orchestras, chamber groups, musical theatre bands.  With a wealth of experience, I’ve taught woodwind privately for over 15 years (ABRSM and Trinity boards) and classroom music (AQA, EDUQAS and Edexcel boards), for over 8 years and am proud to be part of my students’ musical journeys.  As a music educator I’ve coached woodwind groups, bands and choirs, helping to expand on students’ skill sets of working in a team.  I strive to help develop well rounded and confident musicians with a context of practical, theory and aural training.

 
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ANDY DRESSLER (PIANO AND ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD)


Andy studied Jazz and Contemporary Music at the City of Leeds College of Music, and was awarded the keyboard prize in his final year. Whilst studying at college he also became a busy gigging musician, including a JazzUK services sponsored tour with salsa band Pa’lante. Andy went on to take a PGCE at Bretton Hall College. Andy decided not to go straight into teaching and spent 20 years as a full-time musician, including large spells on touring theatre shows and cruise ships. Andy was also trained as a product specialist by Korg UK on their £5000 plus keyboard workstation Kronos.

Andy has been teaching in Sheffield schools for 10 years, as well as Nottinghamshire Arts Supports and private schools. Andy enjoys his teaching and tries to cater for children’s individual needs, as well as building core skills. Andy puts pupils in for exams when they are ready. The main syllabuses he uses are ABRSM classical piano, ABRSM jazz piano, Rock School piano, and Trinity electronic keyboard. He is still an active musician, playing in various Jazz, Swing, and Commercial (funk, soul, and pop) bands throughout the country and mainland Europe.

 
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EMMA PORRITT

Emma is a multi-instrumentalist with a 100% exam success rate. Additionally, she conducts and runs small ensembles and works closely with the local performing arts academy and school choirs.  

Her performing experience is varied and ranges from playing solo cornet in a variety of 1st section brass bands to playing trumpet in pit orchestras for musicals and jazz bands. She has also performed on saxophone and clarinet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Having gained a law degree and spent time working in this field, Emma decided to follow her passion full time for both performing and teaching music. Her qualifications include Grade 8 Distinction on Cornet, Grade 7 Distinction on Piano and A level music.

“I am dedicated about teaching music and delivering engaging instrumental lessons that accelerate and increase the progress/aspirations of the young people I teach.”

 
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Tom Chambers

Tom is a highly accomplished professional musician and music teacher with over 20 years of experience performing and 9 years of teaching a range of musical instruments.

Initially specialising in bass and drums, Tom performed for a range of events drumming with rock cover bands, original blues and indie bands, hip-hop acts and function bands performing at all manor of venues from bars to the Don Valley Bowl.

He also played bass with function bands at weddings and corporate events and toured the UK in a cabaret trio. He currently plays lead guitar in a pop/rock covers band, perform solo acoustic vocal sets and fills in on drums for a high level function band. He provides one to one music tuition for drums, bass, guitar (electric/acoustic/classical), brass and piano and general music theory, as well as teaching at a dedicated music school and providing top-up tuition to students preparing for GCSE final performances in a mainstream school.

 
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Sarah Cowan-Smith

Sarah graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a BA (Hons) in Primary Education in 2000, achieving grade 8 piano at the same time. She has worked extensively in schools as a primary teacher for the last 18 years, holding senior posts for developing and maintaining arts provision. During this time she has managed a large number of gifted and talented drama and music groups alike. She has also lead a number of community projects that have inspired and fostered interracial understanding, racial harmony and equality, with a large focus on African music and culture

She also specialises in devising original musical dramas with young people aged 7 - 18 years. Her published play scripts have been performed to many countries worldwide and she continues to write original, humorous works which appeal to children.

“I am passionate about the benefits of music in education and using the arts to spark change. As a new mum to little Bob, I have already seen the profound effects music has had on his early life. I look forward to inspiring yet more students on their musical journeys.”

 
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Ginny Vernon

Ginny has been working in music education for over 10 years specialising in modern and musical theatre voice with a 100% exam pass rate. She has worked as a vocal coach for several productions including Les Mis, Joseph, Oliver, Return to the Forbidden Planet and Billy Elliott.

For the past 5 years she has been the vocal tutor and Choir master at the prestigious Welbeck Military Defence College based in Loughborough and is the Musical director of Herringthorpe Community Choir.

Alongside work, Ginny is a bass trombone player in a South Yorkshire brass band and has played in the pit for several productions. She also gigs regularly as the lead singer in a function band, playing all over the country for Charity events, weddings, balls and festivals.