Our teachers have at least 5 years teaching experience

Iain Masson- Piano and Brass Teacher

Iain is a Scottish composer, conductor and pianist. He works as a freelance music leader, conductor and piano accompanist in the West Midlands.

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Education:Graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music and was the winner of the RNCM Alan Rawsthorne Composition Prize in 2005.

Experience:As a Conservatoire student, he has worked as a Resident Pianist at various Birmingham hotels and bars. His compositions have been performed on BBC Radio 3 and around the UK and abroad. His compositions have been performed at venues including the Bridgewater Hall, Royal Swedish Opera – Kungliga Operan, the Italian Culture Institute Stockholm, King’s Place London, Brighton Corn Exchange, Regent Hall London and the Adrian Boult Hall to name a few. In 2015 he was proudly awarded Honorary Membership (HonBC) of Birmingham Conservatoire for services to the music profession in the 10 years following graduation.

Robbie Fearon – Woodwind (Sax, Clarinet, Flute)

Robbie started playing Clarinet before switching to saxophone and has Classical as well as Jazz and Pop playing experience.

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Education: Graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied saxophone on the Jazz course.

Experience: His own quartet has played in venues around Birmingham, most recently as part of Birmingham’s Jazz Legends festival, and he works around the west midlands as a freelance musician.

Robbie has experience of teaching woodwind instruments to all ages and abilities from complete beginner to advanced student. He can help students through their music exams and is also qualified to assess ABRSM Music exams (pre-grade 1 exams). Robbie tailors lessons to his student’s interests and learning objectives, and enjoys teaching with patience and understanding.

Carol Brewster- Vocal Teacher

Carol began singing at the tender age of 4 performing her first solo in front of an audience of over a thousand people at the then Digbeth Civic Hall.

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Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from the University of Wolverhampton.

Experience:Over the last 20 years Carol has performed as a soloist and vocalist with ‘Black Voices’, Jools Holland, Mick Hucknall and All Saints. She has performed in Germany, New Orleans, Spain and The Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The highlight of her career was performing for world leaders at The G8 Summit in Birmingham. In attendance were famous heads of state including, Bill Clinton & Tony Blair. Her experience in choir was enhanced by her involvement in the ‘Mama I Want To Sing’ musical production based in the West End in London, working with Chaka Khan, Denise Williams and Mica Paris. In addition she has performed on The Rock Symphony and The Elvis Priestly tour and with Sir Cliff Richard.

Carol has performed as a soloist at The Repertory Theatre, The Drum, Birmingham Symphony Hall and on the radio and her vocal agility gives her a broad range broad of styles like Gospel, Jazz, blues, Soul, RnB and Pop. She has a passion for singing and performance and continues to sing as a soloist at weddings, functions and events.

Carol has over 15 years experience working with children and young people as a vocal coach, choir leader and workshop singing tutor within colleges, primary and secondary schools, youth community music projects and Stagecoach Performing Arts School.

Olga Eckert – Violin / Viola Teacher

Olga, originally from Poland, started playing violin aged 6.

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Education: She is currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Experience: Olga is involved in many orchestras and chamber ensembles. As a member of the Continental Quartet she performed at Wigmore Hall, Windsor Castle and Cheltenham Town Hall.

She is friendly and experienced teacher and from 2017 she became a student mentor in Junior Conservatoire.

Jack Jeffries – Drum Teacher

With over a decade of experience playing and teaching in and around the West Midlands.

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Jack has played with a multitude of artists in styles ranging from Folk, Funk, Rock, Blues, Electro, Hip Hop to experimental Prog Rock.

Education:Initially self-taught, he developed his own style and skills over the years, later taking lessons from local drummers while gaining a Performing Musician’s diploma.

Experience: With a wealth of experience both in live performance and studio recording, Jack’s developed a feel-based style, drawing from drummers such as John Bonham and Benny Greb and always aims to instil that energy and personality into his and his students’ drumming.

Dave ‘Murdock’ Swales – Guitar/Bass Teacher

Dave is a regular face on the Birmingham and West Midlands live music circuit.

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Education: Graduated from the London College of Music.

Experience: Dave has been a freelance music teacher since 2007. He loves teaching any kind of genre as well as grade work up till grade 8!

Ashley Allen- Piano Teacher

Ashley Allen holds over 10 years of experience in the performing arts industry as a…

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professional touring musician and a private piano tutor.

Education: Studied Music at Wolverhampton University.

Experience:He has had the pleasure of working, recording and playing with many notable music industry figures such as Gregory Porter, Aynsley Lister, Julie Dexter, and Omar. He has also performed at many notable events including the 2018 commonwealth games in Australia, the annual sky sports world badminton opening ceremony and the regular BBC Introducing artist sessions. In addition, he has organised ensembles and community classes for Birmingham’s youth. His passion for education and empowering young people has led him to receive awards for youth excellence, through managing ensemble groups, directing youth choirs and leading community workshop.

Stephen Hawker – Guitar/Ukulele Teacher

Stephen is a Birmingham based artist who has been playing and teaching guitar and…

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ukulele for numerous years.

Education: Self-taught from the age of eight years old. Stephen can teach all graded exams with ABRSM or Rock School exam boards.

Experience: Stephen has experience of teaching acoustic and electric guitar as well as teaching the ukulele and song writing. He has been a member of the Shades Music family since 2010, tailoring his lessons to suit each students needs.

Paul Riley- Piano Teacher

Paul is a keyboard and piano player who gigs regularly in and around the Birmingham area.

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From playing in various bands he has experience in a broad range of styles, including: Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Motown, Bossa Nova, Pop and Samba.

Education: Studied music at Cardiff University.

Experience: Paul is an enthusiastic piano tutor, both in schools and privately. Paul has experience as a keyboardist in various bands playing a variety of different styles (listed above). He has also played at weddings and in many local churches, for over 10 years. Paul is a versatile teacher who is equally capable teaching those who want to take exams for Grades as those who are looking to learn songs by ear or learn improvisation, jazz, or theory.

Dominic Hyde- Guitar/ Ukulele Teacher

Dominic is an acoustic and electric guitar teacher with over fifteen years’ experience…

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of playing live in London and Birmingham.

Education:Graduated from The University College London and gained a Masters Degree at Birmingham University.

Experience:Dominic’s compositions have been featured on BBC West Midlands and BBC Introducing and used by the NOMAD Drama theatre company. He currently supports local songwriter Anne-Marie Allen, and plays at a range of pubs and clubs across the West Midlands as a performer in his own right. His influences include John Martyn, Taj Mahal and Joni Mitchell.

Alisdair Mason- Drum Teacher

At 25, Alisdair Mason has 10+ years experience playing the drums and has gained a wealth…

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of knowledge in performance, technique and music reading.

Education: BA Honours Degree in Music Production

Experience:After gaining a BA Honours Degree in Music Production, Alisdair aligned his focus towards drumming. Since then, his drumming success has seen him recording, mixing and creating drum pieces for successful music artists.

His music projects have been picked up by several independent record labels internationally and have been aired on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC WM and Triple J to name a few.

Throughout his drumming career, Alisdair has sought to inject a feel-good sense of groove into his drumming and also into his students.

Isabelle Sparks- Vocal Teacher

Izzy is a blues, soul and jazz vocalist from the West Midlands.

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Education:Graduated from the University of Wolverhampton.

Experience:After finishing her studies at Academy of Music and Sound, she travelled to the US and began playing with local musicians in California. Now she’s back in the UK performing in the Birmingham area and is involved in various projects. Izzy has been writing and recording music since the age of 13 years old and has had the opportunity to perform at venues such as The Cavern Club, The 02 and The Town Hall. She has had the privilege to train with highly respected vocal coaches through out her music career and has adapted a range of vocal techniques and styles for students of all levels.

Ali Clinton- Guitar and Ukulele Teacher

Ali has been playing guitar since the age of seven.

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He teaches a range of styles such as Rock, Blues, Classical, jazz and finger style.

Education: Self taught and mentored by Uli Jon Roth.

Experience:Ali has toured the US and Europe with a range of artists such as Uli Jon Roth and with his own original projects. He has years of teaching experience, with a “no fail” record for his students across ABRSM and Rock School exam boards.Ali will help you achieve any musical goals you want to tackle, whether its instrumentation, songwriting or theory practice.

Hazel Buller- Guitar/Bass/Ukulele Teacher

Hazel began learning guitar whilst studying Music Technology.

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She then went on to study Sound Engineering and Production whilst continuing her application of guitar. Since then she leads a double life split between both teaching music and teaching sound.

Education: Sound Engineering and Production BSc (Hons)

Experience: After gaining a degree in Sound Engineering, Hazel aligned her focus towards guitar. She has been apart of numerous bands that are usually all under (but not limited to) the style of rock. For a number of years she has taught for Yamaha and various other Music Hubs. Alongside setting up for live sound events and recording numerous bands.

James Breen – Drum Teacher

James is a Birmingham Based Drummer He has been playing for well over 12 years.

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Education:Started as a self-taught musician he has since gone on to gain multiple accolades including a diploma and a BA Hons Degree in professional Musicianship from the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM).

Experience: He has tons off experience and plays a large range, everything from pop to metal and everything in-between. He currently plays in many bands Include 2x Queen Tribute bands and 80’s Tribute band Absolute Rewind. He has been taught under a number of high profile Teachers including Pat Garvey (Rhythm Magazine) Preston Prince (Tiki Drums, Van Morrison) Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep) to name a few. Throughout his drumming career James has played with a number of bands and performers to develop a skill set that is both high in energy and confidence which comes across in his performance and his knowledge of the instrument, the main focus behind this confidence and skill stems from one key factor…FUN!

Olivia Murphy- Woodwind (Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute) and Piano Teacher

Olivia is a saxophonist and composer based in Birmingham, working as a freelance musician.

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Olivia is patient, understanding and always puts the student’s interests first.

Education:In the final year of undergraduate study at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, majoring in jazz saxophone. She is the winner of the 2018 RBC jazz composition prize for jazz orchestra.

Experience:Olivia has performed across the U.K and Europe and is a regular player in the Birmingham jazz scene. She has recently returned from studying for a term at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague in the Netherlands. She has vast experience playing in RBC’s Ellington Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra and Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, as well as smaller ensembles and her own projects which regularly performs her own music. Olivia has four Grade 8s in jazz saxophone, jazz clarinet, classical clarinet and classical piano and so can teach all ages and abilities from beginner to advanced, as well as flute, composition and theory tuition.

Servicing Moseley, Kings Heath and Edgbaston, Shades provides music lessons to over 200 students a week, in a warm, friendly and productive environment! We’ve helped over 800 pupils pass their exams at our shop in Moseley, Birmingham.