There’s a great deal more to playing an instrument than just reading music and practising on your own! Surrey Arts provides over 40 different choirs, bands, orchestras and groups across the county for all ages and abilities.
Boost development Techniques and skills learnt in lessons are reinforced during group rehearsals
Have fun and make new friends Form long lasting friendships with like-minded musicians
Music as an educational building block Children involved in music tend to do better in other subjects
Music is for everyone We have groups and ensembles for all ages and abilities!
Ensembles are a fantastic way to develop techniques and skills as well as making friends and having fun with other musicians. Surrey Arts has a variety of groups across the whole of Surrey for all abilities, from beginners to those who have reached Grade 8 and above.
Since we have been in lockdown, Surrey Arts ensembles have moved online which has been greatly appreciated by students and parents: ‘Now more than ever, the power of music is invaluable, and the Wind Band meetings my son has attended via Zoom have been outstanding.’
Leading up to Christmas many of the ensembles recorded films for a three day online concert which was a new way to perform to parents and families. You can see these films on the Surrey Arts Youtube Channel.
From Saturday 6 February to Saturday 13 February there is the chance to visit our ensembles online via Zoom and take part in a rehearsal.
If you are currently learning an instrument or enjoy singing please contact Alison Harding email@example.com. There are details provided below about each ensemble and their current Zoom rehearsal time. New members are welcome at any time, so if you can’t make these dates please get in touch and we will offer an alternative session.
I still remember the day I sat in assembly in my primary school watching an instrument demonstration being given by the county music service. I headed towards the clarinet ‘Come and Try’ area because my family were fans of the instrument. As I progressed with my lessons, I began playing in an area wind band and a marching band that took me to the National Youth Marching Bands Championships and started teaching when I was 14.
By the time I came to leave school it had become clear that music was going to be a career path for me. I went on to a Performing Arts College and then to Kingston University to gain a Music degree. During my time of study I continued to teach clarinet and Saxophone. As an adult I played with the Inns of Court Royal Yeomanry Band and went on tours to Europe and America and played with Woking Symphony orchestra for a number of years and now play with the Dorking Chamber Orchestra. I have been a clarinet and Saxophone teacher with Surrey Arts for the last 18 years. I conduct the North and Mid Surrey Wind Bands and run a clarinet group.
I love listening to live jazz and blues but remember Samuel Barber’s Adagio for strings and Faure’s Requiem having a significant impact on my musical journey. Seeing Michael Collins perform Copland’s clarinet concerto as part of the proms whilst I was studying this piece, was also a highlight. As a young person, my county music service gave me an opportunity that shaped my career. I have always been passionate about teaching and believe that being able to experience music, can reveal life changing opportunities.
Music has been an essential element in Neil’s life from a young age. He started his musical journey at the age of 8 with piano lessons at home in Nottinghamshire with a wonderful local Jazz pianist. He started teaching himself the guitar at 11 and enjoyed playing rhythm guitar in the school swing band. Neil took lessons in clarinet with the County Music Service from around the age of 13. After discovering a recording of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet in the bargain bin in Woolworths, the clarinet soon became his first love. Neil was particularly in awe of the clarinettist’s melifluous tone and the way he articulated the faster notes to make them almost dance. Neil dreamt that one day he could sound like that on my clarinet. He was given a head start in this respect as the player on that recording, Keith Puddy, became Neil’s clarinet professor at Trinity College of Music in London in the mid 1990’s.
Neil was teaching pupils of his own in my 3rd and 4th year at Music College, and after completing a Masters Degree in performance at the University of Surrey, he took up a full-time post as clarinet and saxophone teacher for Leicestershire Arts in Education. Neil returned to the South-East in order to more easily pursue his professional performing interests, and since then he has enjoyed a varied career in teaching and playing. Neil’s involvement with Surrey Arts (and its previous incarnations) started right back at the beginning of his return to the County in 2001!
Neil has performed across the UK and abroad as a chamber and orchestral musician. In the 2000’s he was a member of clarinet quartet Ensemble 4 and a number of his musical arrangements formed part of the quartet’s repertoire. Neil also worked with the chamber group Linoi. He now performs regularly with a number of orchestras in and around London and the South-East including Surrey Opera and the Chameleon Arts Orchestra. Neil particularly enjoys playing for Opera Orchestras and has worked with a number of leading singers including Sir John Tomlinson, Roderick Williams, Mark Padmore and Susan Bullock. Neil is a deputy clarinet teacher and orchestral/chamber coach at the Royal College of Music junior department. In this capacity he has worked with former finalists of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Mary Thorneloe – Flute & Piano
Mary Thorneloe studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and also spent a summer at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada, on a Yehudi Menuhin Scholarship. Since graduating she has taught the flute and piano to all ages and ranges of students in many different kinds of settings such as Hill House International School, London and the New Beacon School, Kent. Mary also holds a PGCE from Goldsmiths University of London and was a class teacher at Dulwich Prep London from 2009-20011. Mary loves her work with Surrey Arts and has been with them now for nearly three years. She is also currently the flute teacher at the Hawthorns School and performs many interactive children’s concerts with Bach to Baby. She has played with many of the country’s leading orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English National Ballet and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with whom she played at the first night of the BBC Proms. Many moons ago, she was twice a semi-finalist on the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and took part in the BBC Young Musician masterclass series with Michael Collins and Courtney Pine. Mary is passionate about music and teaching.
Pete first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 11 and initially learned contemporary tunes of the day by The Beatles, The Stones and Bowie. with time, his inquisitive musical mind soon led him to explore Classical guitar and Jazz. Despite forging a successful career in Accountancy in his 20’s, Pete’s musical aspirations led him to attend the prestigious ‘City of Leeds College of Music’ to study Jazz and Contemporary music. After graduation in 1994, Pete moved to London to pursue his music career, teaching, gigging in bands on guitar and electric bass, and also playing in the house band on cruise ships.
To supplement his Music Degree (GDJCM), Pete obtained his ‘Electric Guitar Teaching Diploma’ (LLCM TD) via the London College of Music in 2002. He began teaching for various music centres/ schools and colleges throughout London and Surrey. In 2014, Pete added to his qualifications with grade 8 electric guitar (merit) and grade 8 electric bass (merit) from Rockschool.
In 2006 Pete founded the Jazz Funk band ‘Groove Digger’. The band performed at famous venues including The Pizza Express Dean Street, The Hideaway Streatham, and The Spice of Life Soho and recorded three albums featuring his own jazz funk, reggae, Latin and groove compositions. Nowadays, Pete mainly gigs with duos and trios and also as a solo artist. Pete has written over 120 songs, many of which are contained in his first three teaching books, ‘Bad Guitar Good Guitar’, ‘Bad Guitar Good Guitar Repertoire (foundation techniques for Classical Guitar) and ’50 Easy Tunes for Guitar’ (easy songs for the beginner/improver based on a call and response approach).
Preparation for student exams is an important aspect of Pete’s teaching. He has a 100% pass rate for all students tutored through their various grades. Heavily influenced by Grant Green and Charlie Christian, Pete is a great believer in space and phrasing. His innovative teaching style is tailored to each individual student and the songs and styles they want to learn. Good technique is taught alongside the student’s choice of repertoire along with theory, harmony, composition, improvisation, ear training and arranging for solo guitar. Pete is a versatile, passionate teacher, always willing to go that extra mile for all of his students, young or old, beginner or experienced.
James Crompton has been a professional musician for over 20 years. In 2007 he received a British Phonographic Industry Platinum Album Award for co-writing a top 20 hit that appeared on the ” Now That’s What I Call Music 67 ” album, which sold over 600,000 copies.
He has been playing the guitar since the age of 12 and has performed with bands in live music venues all around the UK. His first jobs working in music were based at HMV and then later at Universal Music where he worked for 6 years as a talent scout and A&R manager.
James has been teaching for seven years and his academic career started with obtaining a degree with honours from Kingston University in music performance and composition. He specialises in teaching classical and rock & pop guitar. He also teaches creative composition and DJ-ing skills using music technology. James was a professional DJ for 18 years and runs DJ and music production workshops at schools and youth centres.
“Teaching music is great fun especially when you see your pupils acknowledge and enjoy their achievements. Everyone has their own unique musical voice which can be explored and challenged”.
Neil studied guitar for 15 years with a private tutor and gained a Licentiate Teacher’s Diploma, (L.T.C.L.), in Classical Guitar. This was followed by an Adult intensive contemporary electric guitar course with the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. Neil has played lead and rhythm guitar in various function bands. He has been a guitar teacher for Surrey Arts the last 20 years, teaching students from year three to sixth form, both individually and in small groups. Having had children himself, Neil feels he can relate to young people and make learning the guitar enjoyable and fun.
A large part of his time is spent preparing students for grade examinations and various performances for GCSE. One of Neil’s main aims is to convey a love of music and to cultivate a lifelong appreciation of the subject, as both a player and a listener. He still gets a huge sense of achievement when taking a complete beginner and guiding the student through the stages to become a competent performer and player. Recently, Neil has broadened his teaching repertoire to include classical, acoustic and electric guitar styles. In addition to listening to and following various rock, pop and jazz bands, Neil was inspired to learn to play the guitar after hearing John Williams play a piece by Stanley Myres called Cavatina. This piece was used as the theme music for the film “The Deer Hunter”.
David Tribe is an experienced bassist, guitarist and composer/ producer who has recorded, performed and toured professionally for nearly 40 years with Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim), The Smiths, Aztec Camera, The Go-Betweens, The Brand New Heavies, Saul Davies and Adrian Oxaal (James), Manic Street Preachers, Russell Simins (Blues Explosion), Sam Flynn (Eurythmics), Si Katz (Jamiroquai) and many others. David has been involved in projects covering a wide variety of genres and styles, from Indie, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Afro, Latin, Acid Jazz, Ambient, EDM and others. He’s played many festivals including Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Latitude, Shambala, Larmer Tree, Sibiu International Arts Festival (Romania), Coburg Samba Festival (Germany) and others. He’s been a workshop leader/ tutor for over 20 years starting at Audioactive in Brighton and has delivered inclusive music workshops for other organisations including Princes’ Trust, Access to Music, Brighton & Hove and East Sussex Music Services, Rhythmix and others. He specializes in Digital Music Production, Electric Bass, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Drums, composition and arranging. He’s worked in various settings such as Pupil Referral Units, SEND schools and with EBD pupils.
Afshin Ardalan has been a professional Guitarist and Guitar teacher for more than 20 years.
He began music by learning Setar, a Persian traditional string instrument back in 90s in Iran. A few years later, he found himself deeply interested in classical guitar.
He studied under K. Pourmoghaddam in Tehran initially. Soon He made his recitals in Shiraz and Tehran in 1999. Within these years, He also used to attend Lily Afshar’s master classes held in Iran occasionally.
Afshin moved to Finland in 2009 to study Guitar performance at the Lahti Polytechnic under Juha Johansson and followed by postgraduate studies with Hubert Käppel in Koblenz International Guitar Academy, Germany.
Afshin also studied music pedagogy in Metropolia Polytechnic with Petri Kumela, where he did his diploma in classical guitar performance.
Afshin’s performance has a rare approach to classical western music, it is flavored with hints of his Middle Eastern heritage reminding the audience of the origins of Guitar. Afshin is a renowned instrumentalist of his generation in Persia among whom are recognized as a bridge to mend broken ties between Persian and Western music.
James started his musical interest at junior school playing clarinet with lessons from Surrey Arts! In secondary school James was introduced to the electric guitar and he hasn’t looked back since.
After completing his A Levels James enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music and spent three years studying guitar. James was lucky enough to have some great teachers at ACM while he was there such as Pete Callard, Guthrie Govan, Pete Friesan and the late Eric Roche. James found his time at ACM very inspiring and after graduating took up a small role as a guitar teacher for Surrey Arts. Over the next few years built his timetable and ventured into other areas of guitar and teaching such as classical guitar and tuning up projects.
Outside of teaching James has been in an originals project band since his youth with some close friends and has a passion for progressive rock and fusion. James has enjoyed creative song writing and composing since his teens and always encourages his students to explore their creative potential through music. Bands that feature on his favourites playlists would be – Tool, The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Queens of the Stone Age, Pink Floyd to name just a few.
James prides himself in providing a relaxed progressive approach to learning guitar and making sure each student is given the best chance to find a lifetime of enjoyment in music. He is currently the Contemporary Guitar lead for Surrey Arts and hopes he can share his passion and enthusiasm with his students and the great team at Surrey Arts.
When Ian received his first guitar he became an avid student working to achieve a level that allowed him to undertake classical guitar performance exams and attend courses at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance formerly known as the Guitar institute, London. Ian has been involved in numerous recordings sessions and recital evenings; he has performed as a lead guitarist in various original and function bands. He has a keen interest in music composition and recording production, and has created his own music and CD releases which have led him to be involved in numerous music related projects.
As the longstanding creator and director of the popular North Surrey Senior and Junior Guitar ensembles, Ian has worked with his ensembles towards regular concert performances in and around Surrey, often playing original compositions alongside music in a diverse range of musical genres.
Ian’s guitar teaching career began some thirty years ago, teaching various styles of music to mainly adult students which enabled him to gain a post Compulsory Certificate in Education. He started teaching for Surrey Arts after he was encouraged to apply for a teaching position from a head teacher who realised the skill and experience that Ian could offer students. Ian was able to adapt his training to be able to teach music to children.
Ian has been teaching for Surrey Arts for over 25 years, and often reflects on how rewarding it is to see how music has enriched the lives of his students and himself as a teacher. “With absolute certainty, the career path I have pursued has been very rewarding. It has been such a privilege to able to share my love of music with both my young and adult students”.
Anthony became interested in playing music relatively late, in his last year of school in 1988. Anthony’s grandmother was a piano teacher and he had always loved listening to music, however he was never really interested in playing for himself until a few friends suggested that he should take up the guitar as that was what missing from their ‘band’! That became a fateful turning point in his musical life.
Anthony went on to do GCSE music at college and a B-Tec in performing arts, and was in a gigging band for several years before travelling for a year on an around the world ticket. On his return, Anthony undertook a music degree and worked as a community musician on various projects across the north of the UK. He moved to Surrey in 2004, and has been teaching the guitar ever since. Anthony also teaches music at a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, and feels lucky to have two very rewarding teaching positions.
Anthony likes to play folk, classical, blues, rock – anything he feels is musically satisfying, and he thinks this interest in various genres is helpful in his teaching. He has many guitar heroes, from Jimi Hendrix to Julian Bream.
Anthony currently has some of the most rewarding students he has ever had, which he feels keeps him young in his job. He loves to see the faces of people when things “click”, and the joy they get from improving.
Asked why he chose the guitar, Anthony said, “if I’m honest, initially it was because I thought it looked cool! But as you move on with the instrument, it just keeps giving. I love the range of styles and sounds that are achievable with it, and I also love the fact that you never really stop learning; there is a vast amount of material to try your hand at. It is a lifelong love affair for me and I hope to inspire my students to feel the same way.”
Daniel studied the classical guitar at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid and courses for the contemporary guitar at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, where he furthered his studies to include music performance. He has also studied privately with concert guitarists/teachers based in London.
Daniel has been involved in session music, working with other musicians for the recording industry in the production of television music covering many diverse music genres ranging from folk, jazz, rock and popular.
Daniel started his teaching career at the Spanish Guitar Centre in central London. He opened up his own guitar teaching studio “The Guitar Workshop” and an additional “Contemporary Guitar Workshop” in Surrey before joining Surrey Arts where he has taught for over two decades. He was the administrator for the Guildhall School of Music Guitar Examination Centre in Surrey before this was taken over by the Trinity College of Music.
Daniel feels privileged to be able to teach music as a life skill with a teaching philosophy to help build on the individuals musical and instrumental skills enabling the student to create their own musical and artistic direction.
Nick De Oliveira
Since 2006 Nick has been teaching acoustic, electric and classical guitar both privately and within schools. He teaches a variety of styles and has taught students all the way up to grade 8, giving them valuable UCAS points, although many of his students enjoy learning without taking exams. He has also helped pupils obtain music scholarships to further their studies.
Being the son of an international trumpet player, Nick was exposed to many different types of music growing up. When his father bought him his first guitar, he immediately fell in love with it. This gave Nick the opportunity to play and gig with his Dad for many years.
Most of Nick’s performances tend to lean towards the styles of Latin and jazz, ranging from solo and small combos to big bands. For six years Nick held a residency playing at Fortnum and Mason, London, where he regularly performed to a celebrity clientele.
Nick has studied with many teachers including renowned concert guitarist Richard Durrant. He has a licentiate diploma in classical guitar (LTCL) and also a diploma in musical theory, criticism and literature (A MUS TCL).
To any prospective students, Nick says “whatever your musical goal, I’m confident I can help you achieve it”!
Alistair Sherwood is a singer-songwriter, poet and performing artist from Co Offaly in Ireland. He grew up with his family beside the Clara Bog Nature Reserve. Alistair attended The College of Marketing and Design in Dublin, and relocated to Surrey in 1985. In 2017 he graduated from The Three Counties School of Music (Gloucester University) with a Diploma Fellowship as a Singer-Songwriter Acoustic Guitar Player.
As a songwriter, Alistair’s music rises out of the Irish and British folk music and sea shanty tradition. His songs draw on storytelling, spiritual themes and humour, and he is an active performer appearing at venues such as The Landmark Arts Centre, Cranleigh Arts Centre, St Peter’s Church, The Revive Coffee House, The Artrix Arts Centre, The Midlands Arts Centre and South Street in Reading. He accompanies himself on Acoustic Guitar, Classical Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele and Bodhran.
Alistair has collaborated with artists such as Jay Van Rensburg (lead guitar player of metal band “Lithuim”) and Chris Haigh (fiddle player) responsible for the “Steps” line dance hit “5,6,7,8”. He has released albums of his own music, including his recent release “American Troubadour Songs”. In 2014 his poetry was awarded by The R. C. Sherriff Trust.
As a guitar teacher, Alistair has worked with Surrey Arts for 15 years and holds a large register of pupils in schools around the Surrey area. His teaching philosophy is to understand the needs of each individual student and apply the necessary skills to enhance the musical gift they have been given. Alistair uses The Guitar Basics music theory, Rockschool and RGT Acoustic Guitar Grade books to enhance the learner’s experience and has encouraged many students to achieve their Grade Exams.
MMus BMus(Hons) LTCL MISM
Georgina took an interest in music from an early age, encouraged by her local primary school where she learnt to play the recorder and hand bells and joined a choir along with drama activities in a very busy performing arts environment. Georgina’s music education extended to taking part in local music festivals in the Norfolk region.
Georgina took up violin and guitar studies. Her first guitar was brought at a car boot sale and taken to a guitar teacher at school in a black bin liner, Georgina recalls that the teacher looked in horror at what was an unplayable full size steal strung acoustic guitar with a movable bridge!
As mainly a self-taught instrumentalist/musician Georgina established a routine to learning in her own spare time with a total dedication and a focused aim to train formally at a UK Music Conservatoire to refine and further her skills. Georgina successfully auditioned for a place at the Trinity College of Music London and was awarded with two scholarships for her Masters Degree after having taken a BMus (Hons) degree attaining a First Class Honours. Other achievements included, a Silver Medal for Strings and the Montague Cleeve Guitar Prize which was awarded to Georgina in 2007 by the Trinity College of Music. During this time Georgina also completed a LTCL Teaching Diploma.
To date Georgina gives live performances on the guitar and violin, once stepping in at a concert for the world-renowned guitarist John Williams at the Petersham Festival, London.
Georgina recorded a performance which was featured in a film with Emily Blunt, Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson, Robert Lindsay and Ronnie Ancona for the BBC film production ‘Gideon’s Daughter’ written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. She has also worked with Adrian Johnston and actress Emily Blunt for the film score, “Natasha’s Song” main theme-tune: which was nominated in the Music and Lyrics category at the 58th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Los Angeles in August 2006.
More recently Georgina has been involved in the project “Concerts for Music in Hospitals”, in January 2021 Georgina was invited to perform at Epsom Racecourse Vaccination Centre to support the Coronavirus pandemic crisis, where a pilot concert series was organised with two other guest performers. Due to the success of this project Georgina will be involved in future concerts and events.
Georgina has been teaching the classical and acoustic guitar for Surrey Arts since 2015.
Tommy began learning the guitar at the age of 9. He was inspired by his teacher at the time who was a talented jazz guitarist. After completing his grades in classical guitar Tommy quickly moved onto the electric guitar playing blues, rock and jazz music. This rich foundation has enabled him to play in a variety of bands as well numerous recording sessions.
Tommy began teaching guitar 20 years ago and he still enjoys all aspects from beginners to advanced levels. Tommy believes in bringing out the the best from each child.
Trevor Walker – Brass and guitar
Born in Surrey Trevor Walker began playing Piano at the age of seven followed by the trumpet at eight. As a child, Surrey Arts gave him the opportunity to play in different ensembles from SWS Concert band to Youth Wind Orchestra and Youth Jazz Orchestra. Trevor started Guitar at 14 playing everything from Jimi Hendrix to the Cavatina. After passing his classical recital diploma with honours on Trumpet, he knew his focus in Jazz, was where he wanted to go.
Trevor graduated with a BA Honours Jazz degree at the Royal Academy of Music studying with the great artists of the UK and the World. He also studied to be an educator as a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music. At the R.A.M. he chose World lessons with Barak Schmool. Whilst studying he attained several prestigious awards including Finalists in the Perrier Jazz awards with his band Tetragon (jazz with Multi Cultural influences) and the Scott Philbrook Prize to study in America. The Tetragon band played around the country with Live Music Now! working with children and adults with special needs as well as in prisons alongside festivals and London venues.
As an educator Trevor has worked in a variety of schools in London. He started working with Surrey Arts in 2003 and has been involved in education programmes in a wide variety of settings. This challenge enthuses Trevor to this day. He is inspired by how students develop and build an ability to overcome challenges, often finding their own route regardless of Grade 8 ability or severe special needs. He is happy to teach specifically in classical, jazz or pop music or a variety of styles according to the needs of each individual. Trevor was also Jazz Trumpet tutor at Southampton University between 2006-2015 and as a performer he has been working with Greg Foat from 2001 to this day in the UK and around Europe.
As a performer Trevor has supported a variety of artists including Steve Furst, Lionel Blair, Suggs (Madness), Martin Fry (ABC) the amazing Lianne Carroll. Trevor has toured Ireland and around Europe with Brassroots (Brassband) and has been playing Calypso for the past 15 years with the Association of British Calypsonians and Association of Calypsonian and Soca Artists UK. Trevor is also passionate about New Orleans Jazz and has been playing with Dom and the Ikos in the UK and Europe for many years featuring Dominic Pipkin choice Pianist for Dr John, Morcheeba, Paloma Faith.