April has worked as a freelance vocalist and tutor for over 20 years. She has trained extensively, gaining a first for a degree in Jazz Contemporary and popular music at The City of Leeds College of Music, where she specialized in contemporary voice. She also spent many years training with top West End vocal coaches. Her previous teaching work includes several London performing arts colleges and conservatoires, including The Brit School of Performing Arts; The Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts and East 15. Her performing work has included theatre work in the West End, BBC TV and radio, session work, cabaret, festivals and venues all over the UK and internationally on cruise ships. She still works regularly as a session singer and is mainly based in The West Country now. April is also a multi instrumentalist (piano, flute, and guitar) and utilises these skills as a songwriter, composer/arranger. She released her debt album “Swings & Roundabouts” on her own record label a few years ago and is just about to start recording her second album.
As a vocal coach and singing teacher April specialises in teaching contemporary vocal style and technique, which encompasses pop, jazz, musical theatre and folk. In addition to developing a strong and safe vocal technique, she teaches mic technique, movement and performance skills and repertoire development. She also enters students regularly for the LCM practical musical theatre and pop singing exams and runs two rock choirs. April’s lessons are very student led and she is very keen on nurturing their unique vocal style. As well as using backing tracks, she accompanies all her vocal classes on the piano and makes recordings of tailor made vocal exercises and accompaniments. April feels strongly that it is vital to encourage every pupil, regardless of ability, as some hidden talent sometimes lies dormant in the most unlikely pupil “It is always uplifting to see the increase in self confidence that comes from involvement in the creative performing experience, I have been fortunate enough to have been taught by excellent teachers who inspired me enormously, and I hope to similarly encourage my pupils in return”
Mark first began singing with his school chapel choir and his love and passion for singing continued through college, then after a short time with his local Amateur Operatic society, Mark went to London to train at the London School of Musical Theatre. Since then he has performed in many shows in the West End, extensively all over the UK and Europe, and even as far as Hawaii and New Zealand.
Now having settled down in Somerset with his family, for the last 10 years Mark teaches at several of the top independent schools in the area as a visiting music teacher. Coaching pupils the basics of singing including posture, breath control, phrasing, dynamics, and song interpretation to helping them to develop their confidence and ability with vocal technique and performance in a variety of styles, including popular music, music theatre and art songs. For pupils who like to take exams, Mark has many years experience using Associated Board, Trinity & Guildhall and London College of Music examination boards. In addition, Mark also offers pupils the opportunity to develop their skills of mic and studio recording technique with the use of his professional recording equipment, with which they can record their songs and then keep on a CD or other multi media device.
Martin Armand - Guitar and Bass
Mr M Armand has been teaching classical and acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass guitar at Sexey’s School since 2010. In addition to offering individual guitar tuition, Mr Armand provides musicians with the opportunity to work together in the school Rock Band. The Band performs each term and has been instrumental in recent school musicals, including We Will Rock You and Like Dreamers Do.
Mr Armand studied guitar at the Academy of Contemporary Music, alumni 2000 and began teaching full time in 2004. In his teaching, he draws from past and present experiences of working in the music industry from touring and gigging with his own bands to working in recording studios as a musician and producer. He brings a vast range of experience both from being a professional musician and from running a successful events management and promotion business.
Mr Armand lives in Sherborne with his wife and four children. He is also a qualified personal trainer, nutrition advisor and masseur.
Peter Bettle - Saxophone and Clarinet
Peter Bettle has taught woodwind at Sexey's for over 22 years, teaching hundreds of instrumentalists of all abilities, some of whom have subsequently followed musical careers. For two decades he has also been MD of the school Windband.
Since serving in the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals as a Clarinettist he has led a varied musical life, playing Baritone Saxophone in many diverse Big bands, including leading his own twenty piece band '200 Fingers' in the 1990's. These days he gigs with his Ska/Rocksteady band 'Boy Le Monti' and is a member of the Barrelhouse Blues Orchestra.
He has also run a successful Woodwind Instrument Repair business from his workshop in Belchalwell, Dorset for more than a quarter of a century.
When not playing, teaching or repairing he runs & MC's the main stage at the Larmer Tree Festival every year, working with musicians from all over the world.
In his down time he'll probably be found sailing his yacht.
Nicole Willis - Flute
Richard Colquhoun - Brass
Barbara Jenkinson - Violin, Viola and Piano
Barbara studied piano and violin at the Royal Academy of Music and graduated from the RAM and London University. For many years she taught music at Bruton School for Girls, where she was Head of Middle and Lower School Music and Director of Prep School Music. She also taught at Godolphin School, Salisbury and Queen’s Gate School in London where she was Director of Music. At present she teaches piano at King’s Bruton and violin and piano at Sexey’s School. Barbara has taught piano and violin throughout her teaching career. She has also taught viola, run orchestras and instrumental groups and has been involved in a great deal of piano accompanying.
She has been directing Bruton Choral Society since 2009 and directs the choir at Sexey’s Chapel, Bruton. In 1996 she gained an MA degree in musicology and in 2003 was awarded a scholarship by the International Kodály Society to spend a year in Hungary, at the Kodály Institute, studying the Kodály method and choral training, conducting, piano and piano accompaniment. She has also organised a number of tours in the UK for choirs from the Kodály Music School, Hungary.
Steve is a busy session and professional musician; he also teaches both at local schools and privately at his studio near Warminster. Originally trained as a Military classical percussionist - studying at Kneller Hall, London, but since has also been in demand for his kit playing. Steve has toured extensively, playing alongside some of the world’s finest orchestras and on drum kit backing many international artists. Teaching continues to be a real passion with students studying many different styles from ‘Orchestral Percussion’, ‘Speed metal’ and ‘Rock’ to ‘Jazz’! Although not all students will suit the examination route most exam syllabuses are taught at Sexey’s including, Trinity/Guildhall School of Music, The London College of Music and Rock School. Playing for fun is a real factor within lessons but technique (including advanced methods), reading music/charts and regular master classes ensure that students make the most of their potential.
Clare Sydenham studied Music to degree level at Royal Holloway College, London University studying piano at the Royal Academy of Music with David Owen Norris and Graham Humphrey. She then continued to post graduate level at Trinity College of Music specialising in piano accompanying with John Lenehan and Christine Croshaw.
She has performed as concert pianist and accompanist with leading soloists in London and the West Country as well as being Musical director, Choreographer and Composer for local drama productions. Clare teaches piano and theory at Sexey’s school and Kings’ Bruton and accompanies many students for examinations and recitals. She is also deputy director for Bruton Choral society and plays Electric Bass in a local big band and Tenor horn in a brass Quartet.