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From a young age, I was always singing, performing, and playing a variety of instruments.

Starting with the piano, it soon spiralled into also learning the guitar, flute, piccolo, violin and eventually settling on singing - all the time. 

Fast forward 30 years and I am still passionate about sharing my love of music with others and I can now be found teaching musical skills and theoretical knowledge to anyone who would like to learn it. 

I started music education as conventionally as others, studying at the King Edward VI school, Morpeth gaining A Levels in Music, Performance Studies and Classical Civilisation (my random side hobby of ancient history!), taking ABRSM classical piano grades up to Grade 6 and Jazz piano up to Grade 4 and music theory to Grade 5. 

After school I went to Bath Spa University to study BA (hons) Music and whilst in Bath I joined various local amateur dramatic societies and also started teaching singing in local drama schools. During my studies I became aware that studying on that course was not where my passions lay.

I left Bath and stumbled across the BA (hons) Community Music degree being taught at The Sage Gateshead, and it was the best chance find that could've happen. On this course they taught the pedagogies of teaching and performing music all within a professional working environment. Whilst studying I had the privilege of working alongside such world renowned artists as Mary Wilson (The Supremes), Sting and Bobby McFerrin as well as performing on stage to a sell out hall one with Imogen Heap. My tutors were Dr Dave Camlin, Beccy Owen and Bex Mather who each brought a wealth of experience, passion and expertise to their lecturer. I created multiple bands in a variety of genres, learnt and taught Gamelan and steel pans and finally began to specialise in teaching vocal studies and working with the Young Musicians Programme on their pastoral team.

It was during my third year of the course where I peaked however. I was given the chance to curate, perform and artistically direct a ‘one-day folk music participatory’ festival in the Northumberland village where I grew up, that involved over 30 local musicians performing in one night. This day raised over £500 for cancer research.

I also designed and lead a 10 week music and drama project alongside Jane Shepheard in the town of Redcar all around the topic of "Romeo and Juliet: A Remix", which culminated in a performance as part of the World Shakespeare Festival at the Sage Gatehead. The young people were part of a performance with 100's other participants in a whole building sensory experience. 

For my dissertation I explored how using music therapies could help regain speech post stroke, something that inspired me to explore vocal therapies and using the voice for well being and mindfulness, which recently has lead to me gaining my Vocal Health First Aider qualification. 

This was also whilst simultaneously performing as Maria with my local theatre group in their production of West Side Story - also part of the World Shakespeare festival… and also passing my ABRSM Diploma in Singing Performance. 

After surviving 3rd year and graduating from the course with a 2:1, I then began work as a freelance community musician whilst also performing with my band 'Secret Violins'. This led to working and performing in festivals such as Solfest in Cumbria, teaching in local primary schools as their music coordinator and leading various choirs at Sage Gateshead as part of their Adult Programme. 

All of this work however lead to me wanting to become a teacher in secondary schools and I therefore moved to Devon to become a secondary music teacher, qualifying with a PGCE (QTS) and engaging and inspiring young people to pursue music within their school life.

After having children I wanted a job with more flexibility, which would allow me to watch my small family grow, and I took the decision to step back from teaching formally in schools and going back into community work. 

Now in a new stage of life, I work for the youth music funded charity B Sharp based in Lyme Regis as their Early Years and Schools development lead, as well as teaching singing and vocal studies in the Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis and Holyrood Academy, Chard and also being the musical director of the community choir in the town where I now live, Seaton Acapella.

Every day is different and brings new music, challenges, satisfaction and passion. 

About Ellie: Bio
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