Kimberley Bartrum, Principal – Piano, Flute, Theory, Musicianship

I have been teaching music since 1998, and have been privileged to help more students than I can count to realise their potential and achieve their goals.

I have been building my Team of teachers since 2015. I love overseeing and supporting them with their students, as well as leading and collaborating with them for professional development and performance opportunities. I handle all the admin for the team, so I’m students’ initial point of contact, and I’m always on hand, taking responsibility for ensuring that everyone is happy, organised, engaged, and making good progress with their lessons.

I teach piano, flute and music theory, as well as pre-school musicianship. I can also provide tutoring to help with GCSE and A’Level music courses, as well as aural tests and practical musicianship for students who are learning another instrument but need assistance in this area.

I specialise in teaching beginner and intermediate students, and am highly experienced in helping young students take their first musical steps. You’re never too old to enjoy learning to play an instrument, though, and I welcome students of all ages and at all levels, including up to diploma level.

When teaching, I aim to cover a variety of topics to give the student a firm musical grounding. Whatever the purpose of the tuition, lessons will include aspects of theory, technique, aural skills, musical expression and interpretation. Tuition can be based around working toward examinations if you wish, but this is by no means compulsory.
Lessons are conducted at my home in Selly Park, Birmingham, at our shop on Stirchley High Street, or online via Zoom.

I am a full member and registered teacher with the Incorporated Society of Musicians, adhering to their strong codes of ethics and practice. You can find out more about the ISM at their website. I have an Enhanced DBS Disclosure (formerly CRB) for the purposes of working with children, and I have completed the Child Protection in Education (Music) course, developed by the Musicians’ Union in partnership with EduCare. Committed to continuous professional development and keeping abreast of everything that’s going on in the evolving world of music education, I am also an active member of the Curious Piano Teachers, among other wonderful online music communities.

I am delighted to introduce the fabulous teachers on my team. All teachers at KEBMusicTuition have professional membership of the ISM or Musicians’ Union, Enhanced DBS Disclosures, and full training in Child Protection and Safeguarding, as well as ongoing professional development and mentoring with me.

Laurie McGee – Violin

Laurie is a prize-winning violinist and experienced teacher. Born in Hampshire, he began lessons aged six and has studied with teachers including Wen Zhou Li, Pavel Fischer and Susanne Stanzeleit.

After completing undergraduate studies in music at the University of Southampton, Laurie moved to Birmingham in 2013 to pursue a master’s programme at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This special “Performance & Pedagogy” course fused elements of PGCE teacher training with intense violin tuition and led to employment with Birmingham Music Service. Laurie also teaches with a music school in Stourbridge and coaches the 2nd violin section of Birmingham Schools’ Concert Orchestra.

Laurie has been with KEBMusicTuition since summer 2020, and works with students of all ages and abilities on Wednesday afternoons.

Noah Layzell – Guitar

Noah is a Classical Guitarist from Hertfordshire, living in Birmingham. As a teenager, he attended Junior Guildhall and was a member of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble. The year he left school, Noah won the Alan Kettley Prize for music, for his contributions to the department. After auditioning for the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in November of 2018, he was awarded a scholarship to study Guitar with Mark Ashford.

Noah has been giving concerts from a young age, as well as performing at weddings and parties. He has also participated in masterclasses with world-renowned performers, including David Russell and Zoran Dukić.

Noah joined KEBMusicTuition in 2021, and works with students of all ages and abilities on Wednesday afternoons, as well as Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Noah will be moving away from Birmingham in June 2023, and will be succeeded by his colleague Zahrah Hutton (see below).

Dominic O’Sullivan – Piano and Woodwind (Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, Bassoon, Flute)

Dominic’s musical life began as a clarinettist, though growing up he was keen to learn as many different instruments as possible, beginning lessons on clarinet aged 9, piano at 11, and bassoon at 16. Along the way he taught himself anything else he could get his hands on, and enjoyed singing in several choirs across Cambridge.

In 2017 Dominic won a scholarship to study bassoon at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and specialised in multi-instrumental doubling throughout his degree. He has performed in a wide range of settings on flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, and bassoon, as well as whistles and world flutes. Highlights include performances with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, working as part of a ceilidh band for weddings and functions, and performances across the Midlands with the Françaix Wind Trio, of which he is a founding member.

Outreach and education work has been a key part of Dominic’s education. He has given workshops across Birmingham, including with the conservatoire’s Learning and Participation (LEAP) ensemble, and performed across the UK with Street Orchestra Live. Dominic is keen to explore the huge range of musical styles and possibilities available across all the instruments he plays and teaches, and enjoys finding different methods of learning to suit every individual.

Dominic now balances teaching with freelance work in musical theatre bands, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and folk groups of all shapes and sizes. In his spare time he sings with the CBSO Chorus and enjoys exploring the UK by bike.

Dominic joined the KEBMusicTuition team in autumn 2021, and offers Woodwind and Piano tuition on Tuesday mornings, Thursday afternoons/evenings and Saturdays.

Olivia Wilkes – Vocals and Acoustic/Rhythm/Pop Guitar

Olivia is a classically trained singer and vocal tutor from Newcastle-under-Lyme, and now living in South Birmingham. Her love of music began at the age of eight, when she originally started singing and piano lessons and then over the years, also added drums and guitar to her musical repertoire. Her teaching journey started at a music school in her home town, where she has worked with students both face-to-face and online and enjoyed helping them grow as musicians.

Throughout her vocal tutoring she has helped many students with auditions and preparation for different events including stage performances, TV shows, choirs and gigs. She has also helped to grow the confidence of her students and guided them to achieve their own personal goals; for example wanting to perform at an open mic, to release their own vocal tracks, obtain a place at a College or University or start getting their own paid gigs.

She has experience in teaching many different genres, including musical theatre, pop and rock songs and more!

Olivia has performed at venues and events in and around the Staffordshire area since the age of 15 including: festivals, weddings and charity days. She has also been featured on some local radio stations including BBC Radio Stoke and collaborated with local musicians and bands on their projects.

Olivia joined KEBMusicTuition in autumn 2021, and welcomes Voice and Acoustic/Rhythm/Pop Guitar students on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Andrew Gould – Violin

Andrew started his musical training on the violin at the age of six, learning with Lucy Akehurst using the Suzuki method, and playing for many local ensembles.  He gained Grade 8 Violin with Distinction at the age of 14.

He gained a Masters degree in Music Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music from 2018 to 2020, studying with the renowned teacher Yair Kless and absorbing his ideas, as well as with Steven Wilkie.  Before that he took his undergraduate degree at Birmingham Conservatoire from 2011 to 2015, studying with Ulla Benz and David Le Page.  He gained a considerable amount of orchestral experience as well as solo and chamber playing, working with the Welsh National Opera and the Manchester Camerata, and has been asked back to Birmingham Conservatoire several times to assist the Symphony Orchestra and the Operatic Department.

Andrew teaches privately and at Telford Music School, as well as for KEBMusicTuition, and previously taught for the Sandwell Music Service, coaching quartets and assisting with orchestral rehearsals.  He combines teaching with playing work in string quartets and orchestras.  He has recently played with ensembles including the Manchester Concert Orchestra, the Northern String Quartet, the English Symphony Orchestra and supporting musicals and operas.

He benefitted greatly from experience acquired in the Birmingham Schools Orchestras, CBSO Youth Orchestra and other local area ensembles, playing a broad repertoire of classical music and developing ensemble skills. He would very much like to encourage and help his pupils to gain similar experiences.

Andrew joined the KEBMusicTuition team in spring 2022 and offers tuition in Violin and Music Theory on Wednesday and Friday afternoons/evenings.

Irina Chagunava – Piano

Irina Chagunava was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. She began playing the piano at the age of six at Tbilisi Central Music School. After just one year, Irina had an opportunity to play with an orchestra. 

After graduating, Irina continued her education at Tbilisi State Conservatoire in Alexander Garber’s class with the full scholarship of the Government of Georgia. Throughout her studies in the Conservatoire, Irina took part in various concerts and projects. 

In 2019, Irina began to study for a Master’s Degree at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under Professor John Thwaites and Alasdair Beatson with a full scholarship. During her studies at RBC, she participated in numerous masterclasses, competitions and concerts. She received the John Campbell Prize, the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust Award along with Birmingham City University Maintenance Grant, the Beryl Chempin Beethoven Prize and the RBC Piano Department Prize. In summer 2021, Irina graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with distinction. 

Before arriving in the UK, Irina gave private piano lessons in Georgia for around three years and had an opportunity to share her knowledge with various students of different ages. From September 2021, she began to work as a piano teacher in the UK. Irina has an experience of working with individuals as well as groups of students of various ages. Her priority as a teacher is to create a friendly and encouraging atmosphere for all of her students and to refine their abilities of piano playing.

Irina joined the KEBMusicTuition team in September 2022 and offers Piano tuition during the day on Sundays and on Monday evenings.

Flora McNicoll – Cello, Beginner Piano

Flora began her training on the Cello at the age of eight, and then went on to study at the Junior Royal Academy of Music for five years.

In 2016 she won a scholarship at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where she completed her BMus (Hons) degree, followed by a Postgraduate Certificate, under the tutelage of Matthew Sharp, Peggy Nolan, and Eduardo Vassallo. During this time she won prizes such as the Strings Prize and the MU Bill Warman Award. Flora has been invited to perform in masterclasses with leading cellists such as Raphael Wallfisch, Andrés Diaz, Andrew Schulman, Jian Wang, and Hannah Roberts.

As an avid chamber musician and keen orchestral cellist, Flora has an extensive background in performance across the country.

Teaching is an important part of Flora’s life as a musician. As a Cello tutor on the Arco Project for three years, Flora provided tutelage and mentoring for students online in Soweto, South Africa, and in Chennai, India. Flora has also enjoyed teaching for Birmingham Music Service since her graduation, teaching students across the city. Flora also offers beginner Piano tuition, and has trained in provision of the Dogs and Birds method for our youngest beginners.

Flora joined the KEBMusicTuition team in September 2022 and offers Cello and beginner Piano tuition on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

Mary Glasby – Oboe, Beginner Piano

When Mary was nine, her school gave her the chance to learn an instrument, and there was something unique about the Oboe that drew her to it. She loved the beautiful yet distinctive range of sounds an Oboist can make, and since then she hasn’t looked back! At 11, she auditioned for the Birmingham Schools’ Training Wind Band, and moved through the city’s ensemble system to become Principal Oboe in the Birmingham Schools’ Symphony Orchestra. Through this, she’s had the opportunity to play under renowned conductors and at incredible venues, including the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the Elgar Concert Hall and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

Having achieved distinction in her ARSM Performance Diploma and currently studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Mary hopes to continue to develop as a musician and gain more experience in teaching and pedagogy. She volunteers at Birmingham Schools’ Concert Band, assisting in tutoring the woodwind section, and delights in sharing her love of music with others.

Mary also offers beginner Piano tuition, and has trained in provision of the Dogs and Birds method for our youngest beginners.

Mary joined the KEBMusicTuition team in September 2022 and offers Oboe and beginner Piano tuition on Friday afternoons and on Sunday mornings.

Irene Lau – Piano

Irene was born in Hong Kong and graduated with a BA(Hons) in Music from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has been teaching piano and theory at different music associations as well as in private lessons for more than 20 years.

Irene is enthusiastic about piano teaching and had taken part in many music workshops for improving teaching methods in more effective and interesting ways. In 2015, she completed the course of Performance and Pedagogical Concepts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with A grade. In 2020, she passed the ESTA Education Certificate for Teachers (Piano) from the University of Chichester with distinction. 

Moreover, she was awarded “Excellent Music Teaching” twice by the Asia Pacific Outstanding Youth Piano Competition in 2016. And in 2019, her students performed well and achieved different prizes at competitions and thus, she was awarded “Teaching Excellence Award” by the East West Arts Association.

She has comprehensive experiences in piano teaching from beginner to diploma level with different ages of student. She emphasises technical skills, tone colours, and musical training. Most importantly, she hopes to inspire and pique her students’ interest in playing the piano and enjoying music.

Irene joined the KEBMusicTuition team in September 2022 and offers Piano tuition on Tuesday afternoons/evenings.

George Blakesley – Piano and Clarinet

George is a classically trained clarinettist and pianist, brought up in Leicester. His musical journey began at the age of eight, when he stated learning the clarinet, and he soon after picked up learning to play the piano at the age of ten.

Educated at the University of Manchester and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire by Oliver Janes, Jo Patton, Mark O’Brian, and Elizabeth A. Jordan, George graduated with a Master’s Degree in Clarinet Performance in the summer of 2022. 

Having had the pleasure of playing and training with many of the leading orchestras in the West Midlands, such as the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, George enjoys a robust schedule of orchestral and chamber concerts.

After taking part in the professional development scheme “NEXT”, hosted by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, George’s musical interests are in “new sounds” and he can cover a range of music and styles in his teaching, from Einaudi to Bach, and klezmer to classical.

George joined the KEBMusicTuition team in November 2022 and offers Piano and Clarinet tuition on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

Samuel Hurst – Drums

Sam started drumming when he was 11 years old, and hasn’t stopped since! Working his way through the RSL Award grades, he completed his grade 8 with a distinction in May of 2021. After this, he spent a year in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Jazz Ensemble in order to further expand his drumming repertoire and experience.

Sam has been playing live with various bands since he was 14, and he loves drumming with church bands, big bands, metal bands and everything in between. Sam is always open to new opportunities to expand his horizons, as he knows that there’s always more learning that can be done.

Sam joined KEBMusicTuition in November 2022, and works with students of all ages and abilities on Saturday afternoons.

Gerda Kocsis – Piano and Double Bass

Gerda is a classical double bassist who started learning the piano first, when she was 7 years old. Hoping to join an orchestra, she started the double bass at the age of 12. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary and after getting accepted to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a full scholarship, she moved to the United Kingdom in 2020 to study with Thomas Martin. 

Gerda won first prize at the National Double bass Competition in 2017 and won the prize for the best performance of the obligatory piece. She also won first prize at the International Dittersdorf Double Bass competition in 2019, in Slovakia. After receiving her masters degree in June 2022 she has been freelancing with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides orchestral work, and performing solo, she found her passion in teaching. She previously taught at the Georg Solti Music School in Budapest, and after moving to Birmingham she teaches online, having students all over the world from beginner to advanced, university levels, as well as in person at KEBMusicTuition.

Gerda joined KEBMusicTuition in November 2022 and offers Double Bass and Piano tuition on Monday afternoons/evenings and Tuesday evenings.

Zahrah Hutton – Classical and Folk Guitar

Zahrah is a classical guitarist from London, now based in Birmingham. She began learning music through the Kodály Method, and now holds Level 8 Kodály Musicianship. She began learning guitar at the age of six. 

In 2019 Zahrah was awarded a scholarship to study classical guitar at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Mark Ashford, and in her second year she was awarded the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Guitar Prize.  Zahrah is an enthusiastic chamber musician and arranger, with experience playing in guitar duos, trios, and large ensembles, as well as collaborating with other instruments. She was a member of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble from 2015 to 2020.  

Zahrah joined KEBMusicTuition in March 2023 and offers Classical and Folk Guitar tuition on Wednesday afternoons/evenings, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. She is currently working alongside Noah Layzell, and will be taking over from him fully in June 2023.

Fatou Sourang – Piano and Theory

Fatou was born in Sassari, a cute little town in Sardinia, Italy. Fatou is a pianist and composer.

She started her musical journey at the age of 10, taking piano lessons at school, and at 15, composing her first premiered piece called “Rapsodia a colori”.

During her High School years, Fatou performed several times as a solo, and in ensembles, winning the 2014 “Prime Note” prize. Fatou also performed several times as a violist in the Youth Orchestra of the Liceo Musicale e Coreutico D.A. Azuni. In this period, her second piece “Retour a la Raison” premiered in a live performance at the Sardinia Film Festivals.

Fatou attended her BMus in piano performance at the Conservatorio di Musica di Sassari Luigi Canepa. During this time, she performed as a solo, as part of ensembles, duos, and trios, attended masterclasses, took part in artistic projects, sang in the Coro da Camera del Conservatorio Luigi Canepa, and premiered new pieces.

She studied under the guidance of Gesualdo Coggi, Simona Coco, and Alberto Ezio Colla.

In 2019, Fatou decided to move to the UK and continue her studies in piano and composition at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2021, she graduated with distinction.

Currently, she is completing her second master’s degree in composition. In 2022 she was awarded the Students award offered by the Hardship Committee, to support her studies. During this period, many of her pieces have been premiered by amazing performers, such as the Fidelio Trio and the OOTS/Thallein Ensemble.

Before moving to the UK, Fatou had experience teaching one-to-one piano lessons, and music theory/composition. In 2021, Fatou started working as a piano teacher in the UK, gaining more experience with individual lessons, group lessons, and music theory classes.

As a teacher, Fatou enjoys helping students achieve their best, while still having fun, and creating a positive and encouraging environment.

Fatou joined KEBMusicTuition in April 2023 and offers Piano and Music Theory tuition on Sunday afternoons.

Maximus Rueff – Teaching Assistant

Max is a sixth-form student, studying Music, Maths, and Psychology. Music plays a huge part in his life; he is working towards Grade 7 in both Piano and Trumpet, and Grade 6 on the Drum Kit. He is a member of two Birmingham Schools’ Ensembles, as well as three of his school’s own music groups. His particular interest is in the role of music in Film and TV, and he hopes to go on to study this after his A’ Levels.

Max joined the KEBMusicTuition team in autumn 2022 and in his role as a Teaching Assistant, he will be on hand to help out with various administrative tasks as well as providing additional support during individual lessons and group classes. He will be providing beginner Trumpet lessons under supervision from Spring 2023.

Evan Hunt – Teaching Assistant

Evan is a guitarist, drummer, and A’ Level student at college. He has a passion for playing Rock and Indie music, but all music has a place in his heart.

Evan says: “Music inspires me in many ways; the feeling you get when you’re listening to it, and the feeling you get when you make it yourself. That’s why I love the guitar so much, and instruments in general. I hope to be able to teach people how to play so that music can inspire them as much as it does me.”

Evan joined the KEBMusicTuition team in autumn 2022 and in his role as a Teaching Assistant, he will be on hand to help out with various administrative tasks as well as providing additional support during individual lessons and group classes. He also offers beginner Rock Guitar tuition, under supervision.