The Music Department at King's offers expert tuition in a wide range of musical instruments, from a highly qualified and ethusiastic team of instrumental teachers.
Jo Beesley - piano
Jo studied Music at Bristol University and Piano with Jean Anderson at the Royal Academy of Music, then gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Homerton College, Cambridge. Life, both professionally and more widely, has brought the immeasurable joys of performing as a pianist and 'cellist, conducting, composing and, of course, teaching. In a parallel life, Jo is also to be found in the pulpit of local Methodist churches, or walking in the hills.
Peter Batchelar – guitar
Peter studied guitar at the RNCM and played in the Aguado Duo for many years travelling widely overseas. He is experienced as an accompanist and also orchestral musician. He co-authored the present ABRSM guitar syllabus which involved the publication of several books. Peter is a senior lecturer at Leeds College of Music.
Gareth Brown - brass
Gareth has been teaching brass for over 20 years. He read Music at Goldsmiths' College, University of London and whilst he was there he obtained a Diploma in Trombone Teaching from the Royal College of Music. He plays the trombone in local amateur orchestras, brass bands, big bands, and brass quintets, and is Director of Church Music at his local church. He is currently developing an interest in composition and arranging, which has led to a piece of his (for brass quintet) being published by Warwick Music in 2016.
Damion Browne – cello
Damion graduated from the RNCM in 1996, then furthered his studies in Amsterdam with Gregor Horsch. He plays on an Irish Cello made by Perry and Wilkinson in 1790.
He has a busy freelance career, playing regularly with the Hallé, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Northern Chamber Orchestra. He has performed widely in Music Festivals around the country and enjoys coaching and teaching, both privately and at the King’s School.
Kevin Dearden - Guitar
Kevin is a multinstrumentalist and graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music which has resulted in him being in demand as a performer and teacher for over 25yrs. Amongst some of his most noteworthy performances Kevin has worked with Shirley Bassey, Barry White and Paul Anka. However he now mainly performs on the Jazz circuit, an area of music where he has always been truly at home.
Pippa Goss - voice
Pippa read Music and French at the University of Bristol and furthered her studies as a singer at the Royal Academy of Music in London (2003-2005). She has been enjoying teaching pupils of all ages for over 10 years and regularly attends courses and seminars to enrich and broaden her knowledge of teaching the voice. Pippa has a background of performing in opera, oratorio and in consorts and has most recently performed in Germany, France and at a BBC Prom.
Beatrice Hubble – recorder/oboe
After receiving a Batchelor of Music degree from the University of Manchester, Beatrice went on to The Royal Northern College of Music where she was accepted onto the solo Performance Masters’ course with Britain’s leading contemporary oboist, Melinda Maxwell. Whilst at the RNCM, Beatrice was the recipient of a Fewkes Scholarship, won the June Emerson Chamber Music prize with the oboe trio, Les Trois Canards, and was selected to perform as a soloist with several ensembles. She graduated in 2011 and now freelances with professional organisations including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Skipton Camerata. Beatrice is currently a Fellow and Mentor with the charity LIVE MUSIC NOW, working as a solo practitioner in two schools for children with Special Educational Needs and at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to bring music to the Neuro School. Beatrice is supporting a growing number of young oboists teaching at The Queen’s School in Chester and The King’s School in Macclesfield.
Wendy Jackson - guitar
Wendy Jackson studied with David Miller at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Junior Department, and later with Gordon Crosskey at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she became the first guitarist to be awarded a competitive scholarship.
Wendy has given many solo recitals in London and the North West, and has appeared several times on Independent Television and BBC radio. Outside Britain she has performed in Belgium and Hungary, and undertaken a British Council tour of Africa. In addition to her solo career, Wendy is one half of the Panormo Duo, which specialises in performing 19th century repertoire on 19th century instruments. She has also performed with members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the ‘Ensemble of St Luke’s’, and has appeared with their contemporary music group Ensemble 10:10.
As a guitar teacher, Wendy has taught students of all ages and abilities, and has been Vice Chair of the European Guitar Teachers' Association. Along with her work at King’s, she teaches the guitar at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester.
Alex Kane – Bassoon
At the age of 18 Alex studied at the Royal Military School of Music in London, winning the “Cousins Memorial Instrumental Prize”. By the age of 20 he had been appointed principal bassoon of the Royal Artillery band and orchestra giving performances in all of the major concert venues in the UK and touring throughout Europe. He also performed Weber’s Bassoon concerto and the well-known air and variation “Lucy long” on BBC Radio 2.
Alex has forged a very successful career within the police service, both in London and in Cheshire, but at all times maintained an active musical life, playing with professional and very talented amateur groups. In 2012, Alex retired from the police service and returned to a career in music, both as a freelance bassoonist and teacher. He is principal bassoon of the Cheshire Sinfonia and is a founding member of the Hope piano trio and Quodlibet winds. He recently recorded for CD, the world premiere of Michael Balfe’s opera “Satanella” with The Victorian Opera orchestra, conducted by Richard Bonynge and in September 2015 Alex performed on the Radio 3 programme “In Tune”, as part of the “International bassoon day”.
Mark McCombs - voice
Mark McCombs studied at the University of Sheffield, where he is presently completing his PhD as a composer. He is voice tutor to Liverpool Cathedral Choirs and Choral Coordinator at Cheadle Hulme School. In 2017 he completed an accreditation in training young voices with the renowned pedagogue Dr Jenevora Williams. Mark is also a choral conductor and directs The Seven Hills Singers and the Oriel Singers, Liverpool.
Neil Middleton – percussion/drums/samba
Since graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music in 2000, Neil has enjoyed a busy freelance career performing in many Orchestra Pits for musicals as well as around the world in various Music Festivals. He teaches in other schools in the North West area including The King’s School, Chester. He also has a passion for Music Production and Technology and likes to incorporate this into teaching ideas where possible.
Zoe Goode – flute
Zoe Goode studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She has held flute and piccolo positions with the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra, Chile and the Hawaii Symphony, and has performed with orchestras all over the UK and USA. Zoe currently teaches at several schools in the area including Terra Nova and The King's School whilst maintaining a freelance performing career in the UK and USA. Zoe is also a member of the teaching faculty at the Miami Music Festival and an examiner for the ABRSM.
Helen Fehily – voice
Helen trained at the RNCM. Her singing experience as a soloist spans different genres from Classical and Light Opera, to twentieth century Poulenc and Sondheim, latterly Sweeney Todd.
Helen has also had much experience over the years singing many different oratorios, masses and choral works nationwide. Locally she has sung as a soloist with the Manchester Camerata and the Hallé Choir.
Ben Gorb – guitar
Ben studied a Masters in Popular Music at the Royal Northen College Of Music and performs regularly as a electric/acoustic guitarist in various function bands. He is also a singer/songwriter and released his debut EP 'Ride' last year.
Ben has coached bands at Starlight Performing Arts Academy as well as providing one to one tuition. He now enjoys teaching at Trackside Studios and The King's School.
Phillip Hill – electric guitar
Phil has played electric, acoustic and bass guitar in a variety of bands for the last 25 years, recording and playing across the US and much of Europe.
He studied music at Salford University and is also a leading expert on Assistive Music Technology (using technology to include disabled people in music sessions). He has been teaching guitar for 20 years.
Simon Mercer - Organ
Simon began playing the organ as a chorister, studying at Chichester Cathedral. He continued his studies at The University of Sheffield, playing regularly for Cathedral and university services whilst gaining BMus (Hons). Postgraduate work at the RNCM and in Sheffield followed before a move back to Manchester. He was Assistant Organist at St. George's Church Stockport from 1988 - 1997 and assisted at Manchester and Chester Cathedrals.
Simon joined the academic staff of JRNCM in 1991, becoming the Organ Tutor in 1994; many of his pupils take Organ Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Conservatoires and Cathedrals. He currently directs the JRNCM Vocal Ensemble.
Simon has expanded his ABRSM Examining to International and UK work; he has worked within the Choral Departments of the Hallé and RNCM and is well known for his work with Choral Societies in Cheshire and Derbyshire.
Simon is a member of the Royal College of Organists teaching team: 25 of the most experienced tutors and recitalists in the UK, providing inspirational guidance for players of all ages.
Hans Nyman - percussion
Hans originally comes from the Chicagoland area in the USA and spent time studying music performance and music business at Belmont University in Nashville.
He acquired his Grade 8 level certificate for drum kit, with Trinity Guildhall after moving to the UK. Mr. Nyman has recorded and performed with different bands over the years and currently finds the most enjoyment from teaching his own young children how to play drums.
Kate Pelling - violin
Kate Pelling studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After a brief time with an opera orchestra in Italy, she returned to England, where she has been teaching and freelancing with many different orchestras. Kate also ran a string quartet for many years.
Katie Riddle - piano
Katie is a graduate from the Royal Northern College of Music and is a solo pianist, accompanist and chamber musician as well as teacher of piano and theory. Katie is the regular accompanist for Uttoxeter Choral society and accompanies local exams, festivals and concerts. She runs her own teaching practice and currently teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music, Denstone College, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Yarlet School as well as Kings School.
Helen Whiteley - piano
Helen’s qualifications include a BEd Hons Music Cantab and she has studied Music at both Cambridge University and Chetham's School of Music. She has 25 years experience as a peripatetic piano, brass and voice teacher, and primary school teacher. She aims to inspire and enthuse all her students and loves to see them flourish both as individuals and as musicians.
Val Stark – clarinet/saxophone
Val stark graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music. She soon started playing with the BBCPO, RLPO and the Hallé as a classical clarinettist and then went onto playing in shows such as 42nd street, West Side Story in the West End and Les Misérables in Manchester, on clarinets and saxophone. She joined the 'Fairer Sax 'saxophone Quartet in the 90s , appearing on stage in their own shows, Radio 3 live and TV.
Music education has always played an important role throughout her career and through her classical training and her continued diverse musical experiences she enjoys exploring all styles of music with her pupils and preparing them for music exams Grade 1 - 8+ using different examining boards to suit the individual child.
Dan Whieldon - piano
Dan Whieldon is a Jazz Pianist originally from Burton-on-Trent. He first studied Classical piano at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Gordon Fergus-Thompson and won various prizes and competitions. He gained a first class grade in his final recital and graduated in 2002. He then went to Belgium, to study Jazz piano in the Royal Conservatoire Brussels with pianists Diederik Wissels and Nathalie Loriers. He graduated with a Masters in Jazz with distinction. He has also studied privately with Rob van Bavel and Enrico Pieranunzi.
Dan has played at all of the jazz venues around the North West, and Jazz festivals including Manchester, Wigan, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Southport. In July 2008, Dan was the winner of the Nottingham National Jazz Piano competition, where his prizes included a new Bluthner piano. Dan was recently awarded an Honorary Membership of Birmingham Conservatoire. His recent album as a leader, ‘Positive Changes’, has received positive reviews from the press, as have his duo projects with Mike Hall and Alice Zawadzki.
Dan teaches Jazz piano at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and at York University. He is also a visiting teacher at the King’s School.
Mike Watson – keyboard
Mike has attained Grade 8 keyboard and has over 20 years experience teaching keyboard and guitar in local schools and privately. He has also been involved with several blues and rock bands over the years.