Woodwind Tutors

Sam Baldwin – Clarinet

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.  

Neil Hickling

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.