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Our People
Our People
Our People
Our People
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Rick Benton Chief Executive & Principal BMus (Hons), LRSM, CertEd

Rick began his professional career at 17, becoming one of the youngest musical directors of a national theatre tour with Charles Vance’s rock adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. In 2016 he joined legendary UK rock band, Magnum, reaching number 1 in the UK independent charts with their 20th studio album, Lost on the Road to Eternity and enjoying a successful near sell-out 50-date European tour with the band.

Rick was curriculum manager for Music, Acting and Dance at Walsall College, and worked on the development of the Roland Academies network in the UK, leading on the Academies Roadshow programme. He has worked with Yamaha on the design and development of electric pianos, was owner and Managing Director of Pianoman Studios and Powerhouse rehearsal rooms, and has produced and arranged for numerous artists and shows in the UK and Europe.

Alongside recording and touring with Magnum, Rick continues to be in demand as a studio session player, most recently with bands and artists including Trishula, Texmanians, Voodoo Sioux, and Rebecca Downes.

Rick holds a first-class honours degree in music, a licentiate diploma in music teaching and a certificate in education.

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Lloyd Daker Course Leader BMus (Hons)

Lloyd has been an active drummer for the past 20 years performing throughout Europe to capacity audiences at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley and London O2 Arena as well as the 3Arena in Dublin. Lloyd’s wide-ranging experience of touring has given him valuable knowledge in terms of what it takes to become a successful musician in such a challenging industry.

In addition to his extensive performance career, Lloyd is a highly sought-after educator, teaching from his own private studio as well as for establishments within the Yamaha Music Schools education framework.

Lloyd holds a first-class honours degree in popular music performance from Birmingham City University. He is currently developing his research into performance-based anxiety and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

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Alex Prince Course Leader BSc (Hons)

Alex Prince is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has a large catalogue of commercially released music, with productions and compositions featured on 60+ album releases as well as co-producing the music for various advertising campaigns (Boux Avenue, INTU Group, Park Retail, Robert Dyas…). He has been involved professionally in various bands and has extensive experience in studio recording as a session musician, song writer, sound engineer and producer. In addition to this, he has experience working on location and in post-production as sound engineer for a series of film projects.

On the technical side, Alex has had commissions for studio design, both in construction and equipment specifications, media content creation and web-design for schools, colleges and professional organisations.

In partnership with Cool Fossil Music and Roland, Alex has organized and delivered workshop programs for the renowned Hay Festival, including their offshoot festivals at Merthyr Rock and Brecon Jazz and also music workshop programs for UK Youth and other charitable organizations.

Alex graduated university with a first-class Bsc (Hons) in Sound Technology at the ATRium, University of South Wales, additionally winning the JAMES/Richersounds award for outstanding achievement.

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Rosanna Lefevre Lecturer BMus (Hons), MMus, PGCE

Rosanna is an accomplished singer songwriter and educator from the West Midlands. As a solo artist she has written and co-produced numerous releases, playing multiple instruments on the tracks. She has received critical acclaim for her work with the progressive rock band IO Earth where, performing lead and backing vocals on two of their latest albums, ‘Solitude’ (2018) and Aura (2020). Her international touring and festival appearances have included performances in the UK, USA and throughout Europe.

As an educator, Rosanna frequently presents guest lectures at Colleges and Universities within the UK. She holds a first-class honours degree in popular music and a masters degree in music at distinction.

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Dr Jonathan Savage Lecturer BA (Hons), PGCE, PhD

Jonathan led a range of postgraduate teacher education courses at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), including the award-winning Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Music with Specialist Instrument Teaching. He also supervised students on the EdD and PhD programmes at the Faculty of Education.

Before this, he worked as a professional keyboard player, percussionist and teacher in East Anglia.

In 2005, Jonathan formed UCan Play, an educational consultancy which manages the Roland Champion Schools and Student Ambassador initiatives for Roland, working with over 40 schools every year on music technology projects.

Jonathan’s recent publications include Music Education: A historical reader; An A-Z of Teaching and Cross-Curricular Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School. He is also an experienced academic researcher and widely published in many international education journals.

Additionally, he is a trustee and founder member of the Love Music Charitable Trust in Cheshire, and a member of the strategy board for the Greater Manchester Music Hub.

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Adam Foster Technician BSc (Hons)

Adam Foster has over 5 years of experience in rigging and running live events across the UK and Europe, most recently in the exhibition and conference sectors. His experiences vary from running stages at Birmingham Pride and Shrewsbury Folk Festivals, through to running exhibition stands for companies such as Adobe, Zendesk and Lamborghini. As well as a vast knowledge of mixing consoles, including the MIDAS PRO Range, he expanded and developed his skills into IT networking, event video production and large-scale LED video walls.

While studying Sound Engineering and Production at Birmingham City University, Adam designed and manufactured a new loudspeaker enclosure that lowered distortion when compared to existing hi-fi speakers. This culminated in him graduating with a first-class honours degree.

While no longer a gigging musician, Adam still enjoys playing music, specialising in bass guitar. Before concentrating on his studies, he managed to achieve Grade 5 in both bass guitar and electronic keyboard, as well as Grade 6 music theory.

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Steven Nicholls Associate Lecturer

Steven Nicholls has been a gigging, writing and recording musician for over 25 years, playing both solo and with bands and ensembles across a range of genres including Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Folk and Classical.

He has been teaching guitar for more than two decades in a variety of settings and, after graduating from University in 2005 with a BA Hons in music, began working full-time for Dudley Performing Arts which has given him the opportunity to work with all age groups in Schools, Colleges and Universities across the borough.

Whilst at University Steven developed his percussive acoustic guitar style and this is now one of his specialisms.

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Vie Watson Associate Lecturer

Vie Watson is a gospel singer with a classical twist, once called a lady with “A voice to take your breath away” by a leading BBC presenter. Having performed with pop legend, Lulu, celebrity plaudits followed:
”It’s just like heaven hearing her (Vie) sing” Lulu, “Vie has an outstanding voice” Edwina Curry,
”Your ‘Ave Maria’ was breath-taking” Russell Grant.

Vie has toured on solo and gospel choir projects at the Leipzig Music Festival Germany, Festive tours in Milan and Turin, Italy, Gospel concerts in NY state and Connecticut, USA and across Jamaica, as well as alongside Manchester Camerata on several occasions as part of AMC Gospel Choir who opened Glastonbury and the Isles of Wight festivals.

Having studied at Westminster College, Oxford and Orléans University, France, Vie graduated with a B.Ed. Honours and a Diploma in French.

A teacher of 30 years’ experience, Vie insists on aspiring for excellence from each of her pupils and choir members. As a student mentor and educational advisor, Vie also encourages personal self-belief. She continues her parental legacy of working alongside and ministering to the marginalised through fundraising, music, and educational projects.

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James Gullick Associate Lecturer

James has been involved in music education for the last 25 years but has always kept his live performance work going alongside this. His first performance was at the age of 12 and he has gone on to perform all over the country and Internationally on TV and radio.

Mainly focusing on contemporary piano, keyboard and vocal teaching he also is a published songwriter.

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Joshua Taylor Associate Lecturer

Joshua is both an active gigging musician and music teacher. His primary instrument is double bass and electric bass, however, he has picked up a small bundle of tertiary instruments which he also plays and teaches.

Since graduating from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire jazz course, Joshua established himself as an educator, teaching primarily in Dudley whilst also traveling and gigging around the country. Having studied music to the highest levels he feels this is reflected in his teaching, many of his students having passed exams and gained places at Conservatoires and Higher Education establishments alike.

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Rob Fellows Associate Lecturer

Rob started playing Guitar aged 9. He is a veteran of many theatre productions including Oklahoma!, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Bugsy Malone, Back To The 80’s, and We Will Rock You amongst others. He prides himself on versatility on his first study, citing Gary Moore, Albert Lee, and Brian May as three major influences. He has Grade 8 in both Classical Guitar and Electric Guitar.

In 2012, Rob joined “Into The Shadows”, one of the most popular and successful Shadows tributes in the country. They have enjoyed success after success, playing sell-out concerts in theatres all over the U.K.. Rob has played and worked with musicians from various bands over the years including Suzi Quatro, Barry White, The Rubettes, ELO, and Stock Aitken Waterman.

He has been teaching for 25 years in schools, colleges, and universities although at the tender age of 18 his first teaching activity involved working with no other than Jim Marshall. He graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with an honours degree.

Board of Trustees
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David Barnard Chairman BA (Hons), ARCM, PGCE, FRSA

David is managing director of Vivace Training & Consultancy Ltd and part-time Education Official for the Musicians’ Union. His clients have included Roland UK, Yamaha, Casio, Notion, I Like Music, Music for All and several music education hubs. He currently chairs the Music Industries’ Association (Education) Committee and is a sought-after teacher trainer.

David holds a first-class honours degree in music, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a performer’s diploma from the Royal College of Music, and a Diploma in Management. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

David’s career has included a number of senior management posts in industry and education. He founded the Roland Music Academy network, and has worked as a conductor, music publisher, visiting lecturer in music education at Middlesex University, and specialist examiner for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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Chris Cronin Treasurer

Chris can look back on over 30 years in the entertainment industry, mainly in the design, innovation and manufacture of large-scale stage touring sets for artists such as George Michael, Kylie Minogue, Take That and hundreds more.

Chris has a reputation as a market leader and is directly responsible for many of the modular rigging systems used in major venues around the world. He has won awards for his inventions, including the T2™ Truss, the only product on the market designed to protect technicians climbing or working at height.

He is CEO of the Total Solutions Group (TSG), which has offices in Birmingham and Singapore. TSG manages a suite of well-known industry brands including Total Fabrications™, the main manufacturing arm of the business, and Lightlock™, a first-generation motion damping device for moving lights, developed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Current clients include Take That, Strictly Come Dancing, ELO, O2 Arena, Asian Games, Creamfields and many more.

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Peter Millichip Company Secretary

Peter was born and bred in the Black Country. He went to school at Malvern College and then to Birmingham University. After graduating in law, he followed his father Sir Bert Millichip into the legal profession and became one of the pioneers of Sports and Media Law in the 1990’s with the advent of Sky television, mobile technology and other digital platforms. He worked alongside the Lord Digby Jones, Oxford University and later alongside the National Treasure Sir Bobby Robson in promoting opportunities for young people through the mediums of sport and entertainment.

Latterly he has become heavily involved in the music business. An enthusiastic if not talented Rock guitarist, he has worked alongside many artists both in the UK and internationally. He is passionate about promoting talent in the music and entertainment industries, and supporting young people who wish to work in the music industry.

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Dr Andrew Curran Trustee

Andrew is a practising paediatric neurologist and neurobiologist consultant.

He spent three years in full time research following up children after brain injury and works extensively in this field as a consultant paediatric neurologist at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He has also researched emotional literacy in classrooms and, more recently, explored the processing of reward in the human brain.

Andrew’s Little Book of Big Stuff about the Brain is recognised as one of the leading works on understanding brain-based learning and the importance of emotional literacy in our classrooms and in our lives; and Get Off the Sofa is aimed at anyone who wants to better understand their health.

Andrew was a main presenter on BBC3’s Make My Body Younger, and regularly presents the science section on Five Live Saturday Edition. He is also a gifted singer, song writer and writer of fiction.

image of John Penn
John Penn Trustee

John has been working in live audio all his life, starting at school where he built his first PA. By the age of 20 he had founded SSE, which over the next 45 years grew to become the UK’s largest audio hire and sales company, touring the world with many hundreds of artists ranging from Metallica to Coldplay, and providing audio services to major festivals including Reading and Glastonbury. The Sales and Installations business works all over the country, installing audio systems in restaurants, venues, theatres and arenas. Recent projects range from Tottenham Hotspurs state of the art new stadium to Ascot racecourse and York Minster.

SSE are synonymous with the development of the UK audio industry, constantly innovating and raising standards of audio excellence, whilst setting standards for training and raising professional competence. Now semi-retired John is a regular industry spokesman, sharing his knowledge and experiences to assist in its development.

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Norton York Trustee

Norton’s work started in the late 1980’s with the Brighton Rock summer school which became a BBC Radio 1 event, his work as music education co-ordinator on the BPI/MU/Radio 1 Sound City festivals, and his book on the music business, ‘The Rock File’ for Oxford University Press.

He established the UK’s first rock and pop foundation course which inspired the creation of RSL Awards and the world’s first grade exams for rock guitar and drums and for bass guitar. Since 1991, RSL has grown to awarding qualifications in nearly 50 countries, and has expanded its portfolio to include music production and theory, vocational qualifications taken by stars such as Ed Sheeran, as well as exams in piano, keyboards, vocals and ukulele.

He wrote the world’s first commercial music degree at University of Westminster, where he subsequently became chair of music, film and fashion by the late 1990’s. In this role he developed graduate recruitment schemes in partnership with EMI, Universal and Sony, and worked with leading music figures as external examiners (Dave Stewart and Stephen Warbeck), course tutors (Keith Harris and Mykael Riley) and course advisers (Horace Trubridge, John Kennedy) amongst many others.

Since then, Norton has been elected Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster, has given a visiting professorial lecture at Gresham College, London, and has consulted and led projects for international universities including the Tisch School of New York University, Victoria University in Melbourne, and the International College of Music, Malaysia. In 2012 Norton co-led the Somerset House ‘What’s Next’ project for the Cultural Olympiad official programme.

image of Shereece Storrod
Shereece Storrod Trustee

Shereece is a singer/songwriter, Artistic Director of Birmingham based Acappella quintet Black Voices. She is also a vocal coach, workshop leader and group fitness instructor. Currently she has the role of centre manager at Grosvenor Road Studios – the home of Black Voices.

Singing and the arts have always been at the centre of Shereece’s life. She has travelled extensively with Black Voices for over 20 years and has worked on a number of exciting music projects in the West Midlands, nationally and internationally. Shereece worked as a singing tutor for over 20 years with Harrow Music Service, nurturing and developing talented young singers across Harrow. She now works with the Abram Wilson Foundation as a lead workshop tutor delivering their Achieve Your Greatness programme in schools.

Shereece has a BA Hons in Commercial Music from Westminster University and a MMUS in Songwriting from Bath Spa University. In December 2020 Shereece was awarded an RSL fellowship in recognition of her contribution to music for over 20 years.

In 2018 Shereece co-wrote the Windrush anthem for a Symphony Hall project in schools across central Birmingham to commemorate the 70th Windrush anniversary.

Shereece was privileged to be a session vocalist on the film track for Marvel’s Black Panther, Netflix series Four Weddings And A Funeral by Hulu and the Netflix Christmas smash Jingle Jangle.

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