Our Team Members

Meet the VMC Tutors

Andrew Sherwood

Orchestra Online, VMC Strings Tutor

Andrew Sherwood has performed in many parts of the world as a conductor and violinist. He has been Conductor of Brighton Youth Orchestra since 1994 and is currently Director of Music for Orchestra at BHMA, as well as teaching centralised violin lessons there. He is also Professor of Violin at TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Chris Simmonds

Rock & Pop, Grade V Theory, Beginners Theory Tutor

After graduating a degree course from BIMM, Chris spent ten years working as a freelance musician touring and recording with a number of high-profile artists. Having played worldwide music festivals spanning from Japan to Europe, headline shows and releasing a number of charting albums and remixes, he then stepped into teaching and is currently curriculum leader of guitar for us at East Sussex Music.

Grant Allardyce

Rock & Pop Tutor

I came from a household full of music and after watching my sister play conga, gravitated towards the school drum kit. I taught myself basic beats, got involved in the school band and then began playing gigs on the local Folk and punk circuit in Northern Ireland. Everything changed when I signed up to a jazz course at college where I was tutored by Kieth Copeland (Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye etc.) This experience and his influence was a catalyst to a life long journey in studying and playing drums.

During the 1990s, while studying for a BMus at University Of Ulster (studying orchestral percussion)in Northern Ireland, I began teaching drums and percussion in local schools in Belfast. I moved to the South of England in 2000 and began peripatetic teaching for the East Sussex Music Service, becoming head of the Drums and Percussion department in 2007. I am currently Head of Drums, Percussion and now Keyboard for East Sussex Music.

Peter Davison

Orchestra Online, Jazz & Funk Tutor

Peter Michael Davison is a film/tv composer and conductor having worked on international films including the feature stop animation "Strike" and the poignant "Emu Runner". He has worked on BAFTA winning games, including Horizon Zero Dawn and conducted professional orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the City of Prague Philharmonic.

Peter conducts as part of the Brighton Youth Orchestra set up, and having been a Head of Music and teacher in Brighton for 19 years, is a passionate advocate for youth music. Peter is originally a trumpet player with a strong focus on classical, and also has played a great deal of Jazz.

Sarah Davison

VMC Strings Tutor

A BHMA/East Sussex Music alumna, Sarah Davison has performed with many of today’s leading artists in orchestras nationally and internationally. Touring as a chamber musician on Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! scheme she fostered a love of working with young people. After attending courses with the European String Teachers Association, Sarah has gone on to teach in a range of settings as a cello teacher, in a career that has spanned 20 years.

Always keen to diversify, Sarah’s work as a cellist has ranged from performances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, to TV appearances at The Brits, the Royal Variety Performance, touring and recording with jazz singer Claire Martin OBE, supporting Ben Folds Five, and performing with Lady Walton in her Italian home. Sarah does considerable work as a session musician, recording frequently for TV, film and computer games. She is the featured cellist on the soundtrack to the multi award winning, BAFTA nominated and Ivor winning Sony PlayStation game, Horizon Zero Dawn, and her recent recording on the trailer for Horizon Forbidden West has over 8.5 million views.

Stephanie Holt

Virtual Voices Tutor

Stephanie is an experienced and versatile vocalist, who has offered a wide variety of vocal work across the music industry for many years. Her live vocals have been featured in various bands, jazz ensembles, musical theatre companies, operas, choirs and vocal groups. She has also extensive experience as a session singer for various composers and producers throughout the UK, recording vocals for independent films, TV, advertisement, choral work, installation events and popular music tracks.

Stephanie is also a qualified teacher who has been teaching music, music technology, drama, singing and leading choirs throughout the UK, China and USA.

Susan Gregg

Online Orchestra Tutor

Susan Gregg

Orchestra Online Tutor

Since completing a music degree at Exeter University Sue has been involved in flute teaching and performing in Sussex for over 20 years.

Sue plays professionally for Opera South East and other Sussex-based orchestras and regularly performs concertos with many local orchestras. In recent years Sue has given frequent recitals with the quintet Sussex Flutes (including two cruises!) and in a Flute/Guitar duo with another East Sussex Music Teacher, Maria Gibson.

Bjorn McAteer Dahlberg

Jazz & Funk Tutor

Björn is a Swedish born musician, educator and award winning composer. He gained a Masters of Education in jazz saxophone at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. As a jazz musician he has recorded albums with his own groups as well as with Mick Jagger, Barry Adamson, Arthur Brown, Lucy Rose and many more. He has also toured worldwide as a keyboard player with the Show - A Tribute to ABBA for almost 20 years, with the highlight of playing to 80.000 people in São Paolo, Brazil.

He recently stopped his touring life to join East Sussex Music in 2019. He is a teacher of saxophone, clarinet, flute and keyboard as well as also leading the Wind Band at Hastings Music Centre.

Gordon Dodridge

Family Strings Tutor

Gordon Dodridge is the area manager for Hastings and Wealden with the East Sussex Music. He is a qualified teacher with a post-graduate in performance studies as a high level performer of the Violin who has played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the English String Orchestra.

Gordon is committed to providing equality of access for all students and believes that students should be offered the very best in music education. He believes that developing positive relationships and embracing change are key for any organisation wishing to develop and thrive.

Lauretta Young

VMC Strings Tutor

Lauretta studied violin performance with Jaroslav Vanecek at the Royal College of Music. After receiving an honours degree and a DipRCM (teaching diploma) Lauretta then went on to earn a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the Roehampton Institute.

Since 1998 Lauretta has enjoyed working as a violin teacher for East Sussex Music, passing the British Suzuki Institute's level three exam and most recently winning an award for innovation in creative approaches to teaching music. Lauretta also continues to perform with the 'Delphinus String Quartet' and is enjoying working on her most recent performance project, a violin and guitar duet, 'Duo Romantique'.

Sally-Ann Thorkildsen

Family Strings Tutor

Sally Ann Thorkildsen BA HONS MUSIC and PGCE has taught cello for East Sussex Music for over 10 years encouraging young people to perform at a high level. She has extensive experience as a freelance cellist playing and living in Italy for 5 years working with Teatro Giglio di Lucca [Puccini Festival] and the Orchestra di Arturo Toscanini in Parma as well as co principal of the Orchestra Sinfonica di San Marino. She played with The Orchestra da Camera di Cesena and Bologna as well as the Youth Orchestra of Piemonte.

Sally Ann has also played locally for many different Chamber/Symphony Orchestras and Pit Bands for Musical Theatre and South East Opera.

Dedicated to her work Sally Ann remembers fondly being an East Sussex pupil all those years ago playing in East Sussex Youth Orchestra.

Simon Smith

String Orchestra, Grade V Theory, Beginners Theory Tutor

Simon is a full time teacher with East Sussex Music. He began playing the violin and viola at the age of seven and has never looked back! He grew up in Leeds and had lessons through the local Music Service, before being taught privately by members of the Orchestra of Opera North.

Simon then gained a degree in Music from the University of Hull, before heading to Cardiff to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance. In 2008 he joined East Sussex Music and teaches in schools around Lewes and Newhaven. As part of his work with the Lewes Area Music Centre he conducts the Telemann String Orchestra

Stephen Giles

Orchestra Online Tutor

Stephen grew up in Kent and studied at the junior department of the Royal College of Music. Roger Bigley was his teacher whilst he studied for a B.Mus. at Manchester University, then he furthered his studies on viola with Roger Best whilst a student at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies in London. Since then Stephen has worked as a viola player in many fields: chamber music, ballet, opera, film, TV and in chamber and symphony orchestras such as English String Orchestra and London Concert Orchestra. Since 2000 he has taught violin and viola for East Sussex Music Service as a member of its string team. He also takes responsibility for tutoring violas in East Sussex String Chamber Orchestra, South Downs Youth Orchestra and Handel String Orchestra which he conducts.

Stephen maintains a professional playing career, playing with such orchestras as Worthing Symphony Orchestra, New London Sinfonia and East Sussex based Corelli Ensemble.