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Beginner Groups

Beginner Groups

Beginner Rhythm

Age/Level: 6+ (year 2) Time: 9:45am - 10:15am Taught By: Sam Howes

An exciting introduction to the world of rhythm, developing skills which can be taken onto any instrument but are well-suited to moving to individual lessons on percussion or drum kit.

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Beginner Recorder

Age/Level: 6+ Year 2 Complete beginners Time: 9:45am - 10:15am Taught By: Alex Griffiths

Taking their first steps on the recorder, students will also learn basic notation and how to keep a steady beat when playing. After the third week of term, newcomers must have one-to-one lessons with Alex before joining the group.

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Choir 1

Age/Level: 6/7 - 7/8 (Year 2-3) Time: 11:30am - 12:00pm Taught By: Becca Wilkins

A fun selection of educational and silly songs to explore our voices and get first experiences in singing in a group, mixed in with movement games and Orff elements.

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Beginner Ukulele

Age/Level: 6/7 Year 2 Time: 10:15am - 10:45am Taught By: Jade Ellins

The first of four fantastic ukulele groups, this one is for beginners who learn to play and love to sing together! Students typically move onto Ukulele 1 after one year, moving up through the ukulele pathway, often simultaneously with guitar or vocal lessons, and onto Rock n' Pop, Jazz bands or classical guitar ensembles.

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Taster Violin

Age/Level: 6/7 Year 2/3 Time: 9:45am - 10:15am Taught By: Duygu Ince

This year-long programme is a fantastic introduction to the violin. Students will have the chance to learn the basic techniques and notation, as well as how to play together as a group. They will progress onto individual lessons and Music Box 3 after one year.

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Teachers

Sam Howes

Sam Howes

Sam Howes

Sam enjoys playing and performing a wide variety of music and therefore sees percussion as a discipline well suited to himself. He has been fortunate to have performance experience in a wide spectrum of music, from playing in an orchestral setting to playing with the Box 9 drumline at the last Rugby World Cup. 

Having started percussion education aged seven with a peripatetic teacher, Samuel quickly progressed and was offered a place at the Birmingham conservatoire where he then remained for seven years. In this time, he also played in the National Children’s Orchestra, learning the fundamental skills of orchestral section playing and musicianship.

These experiences combined led to Samuel gaining a place as a specialist musician at Wells Cathedral school. Here, he had chance to play with many different ensembles, learning vital experience in performing with others in many different settings such as orchestras, big band and the PH7 drumline. Wells also offered the chance to go on percussion tours to both Budapest and Hong Kong. It was here, while working with classes of disabled children, Samuel discovered a passion for teaching, and the extra challenge of working with autistic and hearing-impaired children only inspired him more. 

While at Wells, Samuel then gained a place to study at the Royal College of Music as a scholar supported by a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds award. The RCM provides Samuel with opportunities in a very wide range of different musical activities, and being in London means he performs as an orchestral percussionist and among other things has played at the Rugby World Cup Final with the Box 9 drumline. More recently, he has enjoyed working with composers Steve Reich and David Lang in performances at the RCM.

After graduating from the RCM, Samuel intends to continue with his broad musical interests and hopes to pursue a career that involves a wide variety of music in both performance and education.

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Alex Griffiths

Alex Griffiths

Alex Griffiths

Alex is an enthusiastic teacher with experience in all ages and abilities. She also freelances around the UK, playing with a variety of orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra. 

She is a recent graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she received her Masters in Orchestral Artistry and studied with Gareth Davies, Philippa Davies, Ian Clarke and Christopher Green. Previous to this, she gained a scholarship to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for undergraduate, learning predominantly with Sarah Newbold, where she played with all the colleges ensembles and reached the final of the concerto competition in 2014. 

She is a founding member of the Vesta Trio who are recent recipients of the Cardiff Violins Chamber Prize and finalists of the McGrenary Chamber Competition. In 2017, they were accepted onto the Live Music Now scheme and give frequent performances and workshops. They also represent Music in Hospitals & Care across England and Wales.

Alex is generously supported by the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.

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Becca Wilkins

Becca Wilkins

Becca Wilkins

Becca is a professional vocalist based in London. Having studied with tutors from both the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Becca's music combines an original style with a fresh approach to vocal musicianship.

In 2018 she released the self-promoted duo EP with pianist Tom Harris, wilkins/harris, with an accompanying UK tour the same year. This tour took this collaborative original music to venues including the Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel, Cherry Red’s in Birmingham, and in support of renowned musicians, such as Daniel Erdmann’s Velvet Revolution. In 2019 this project also played to great acclaim at the Lescar, and most notably, as a support slot for Kandace Springs at Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Tony Dudley Evans has described this project as having ‘a real energy and joy in their performances and I believe that they will always captivate audiences'.

A highly flexible musician, Becca’s projects range from artful storytelling and sensitive textural vocals to energetic showmanship and commanding extemporisation. She can also be found performing as the front-woman of energetic, brass-fuelled jazz-pop fusion band, Argle Bargle, and dynamic function bands Mirror and The Distractions. Read more about Becca’s projects here.

Having studied with some of the UK’s most prolific jazz vocalists, including Sara Colman, Brigitte Beraha and Tina May, Becca has a technical command over her own voice and a clear artistic vision. Her influences range from Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan to Gretchen Parlato and Cécile McClorin Salvant.

Not only has Becca worked extensively on her own projects, but she is a keen collaborator, having worked at length with the composer and saxophonist Olivia Murphy. In March 2019 Murphy released her EP afterglow of a dream suite, which featured Becca in the unique frontline of vocals, saxophone (Murphy) and trombone (Joe Carnell). The music featured voice as a dynamic instrument, in gymnastic unison melodies, rich three-part writing and captivating free improvisation.

Murphy has since created a new suite of music with Wilkins, alongside pianist Olly Chalk. Tomorrow Songs is a suite of compositions written over lockdown that showcase Becca’s voice in intimate ballads such as ‘There is a Hill’ and dramatic rhythmic compositions; ‘mermaid’, ‘clouds’ alongside the talents of her fellow bandmates. Becca also contributed extensive vocal FX to this music, a defining feature of this trio’s musical output. Tomorrow Songs was debuted in a live stream in collaboration with Stoney Lane Records and Jazzwise Magazine in August 2020.

This use of FX led to Becca being shortlisted alongside six contemporary vocalists in jazz from around Europe for her use of vocal processors in live performance, and she continues to pursue this artistic avenue in her most recent project, Gestalt. This project features some of the UK’s brightest young talents, providing ‘a powerful accompaniment to Becca’s intimate lyrics and vocal textures, effortlessly shifting from abrasive electronic soundscapes to gentle piano textures and everything in between’. This project showcased their set of brand-new compositions to an eager audience at a Jazzlines free gig at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, in late 2019, and are soon to be rescheduled for their cancelled booking at the Vortex Jazz Club.

Both creative and driven, Becca continues to pursue new musical routes of expression, showcased in her latest projects and collaborations. This young musician has a lot to offer and will surely be making waves over the coming years.

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Jade Ellins

Jade Ellins

Jade Ellins

Jade is a Popular Music Studies graduate from Leeds College of Music, earning a BA (Hons) with a major in Vocal Performance, Group Performance and a minor in Composition. She is a professional Vocalist, Guitarist and Bass player. Jade teaches individuals as well as groups and specialises in pop and rock vocal coaching to students of all abilities. She always aims to give inspiring and well structured lessons with a focus on vocal techniques and interpretation.

Jade has been fortunate enough to work with Lionel Ritchie for the TV shows 'Loose Women', 'The One Show' and 'This Morning' as well as Rihanna on 'Cheryl Coles Night in'. She also been on tour around Germany as a singer and guitarist, and regularly gigs at venues all around England, such as Bush Hall, The Underworld and Ramsgate Music Hall with her own bands.

As well as teaching voice, Jade also runs two Ukulele Groups, which play and sing pop songs.

www.thisisdolls.com

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Duygu Ince

Duygu Ince

Duygu Ince

Duygu Ince started the violin at the age of eight at the Istanbul State Conservatoire and studied with Bahar Biricik. After graduating in 2011, she was offered a place at the Birmingham Conservatoire to study with Nathaniel Vallois. Duygu has been involved in many orchestral and chamber activities throughout her undergraduate study such as City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, and leading Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra numerous times. During her years at the Conservatoire, Duygu won awards such as Meher Rohi Gazder Scholarship, McQueen Bursary, and Bernard Statman Memorial Prize. She has performed in leading venues such as; Wigmore Hall, St John Smith Square, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Barbican Hall, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain). She recently performed in China Modern Music Festival (Beijing and Tianjin) with Thallein Orchestra as a leader.


Duygu graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a First-Class Degree and she is currently studying a master’s degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Prof. Jacqueline Ross. During her studies in Guildhall, Duygu took part in collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra and worked with prestigious conductors such as; Sir Simon Rattle, Essa-Pekka Salonen to name a few. She performs as part of Opari Duo with Berx Kockaya.

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