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Centre for Advanced Training: Music Language

Study Leader: Alix Shepherd

Alix trained as a classical pianist from an early age, moving on to study in popular and contemporary styles, receiving an honours degree in Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music. He has extensive experience in writing and releasing original music, as well as performing at events and festivals across the country and internationally, across a wide variety of genres. He also works as a tutor on the Further Education programme in Popular Music and HND in Popular Music run at Sage Gateshead, as well as at Gateshead College on their Foundation Degree programme, specialising in instrumental/ensemble tuition and jazz improvisation.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training

Paul Armstrong (Music Language)

Paul trained firstly as a classical pianist, then went on to study music at Newcastle Polytechnic where he began working in all aspects of community music. At the same time he began his performing career broadening his musical skills across many different musical genres including Latin, popular and jazz. He spent over twenty years as a full time professional musician in both the jazz and popular music world as a bass/double bass player. Paul has played numerous jazz festivals around Europe and worked for BBC, ITV and Channel 4. He worked as a lecturer as part of the BMus team at Sage Gateshead for many years, specialising in teaching harmony, aural skills, composition and ensemble studies. He has also been part of the team at the Centre for Advanced Training for several years now, teaching classical and jazz theory, bass guitar and composition.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training

Emily Murray

Emily has had a varied career as a pianist, trumpeter and violinist as an army musician in the Band of the Welsh Guards and as an accompanist and teacher in London. Having returned to the North East, Emily is now Assistant Director of Music at Durham School and regularly performs as a chamber musician, accompanist and solo recitalist.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training

Nick Butters (Music Language & Piano)

Nick studied music at Newcastle University before embarking on a busy career encompassing chamber music, recitals, jazz, blues and musical theatre, where he worked for a number of years as a musical director. In addition to his teaching and accompanying at the Centre for Advanced Training, he is a visiting piano teacher at The Kings School, Tynemouth. He is also a regular accompanist for ABRSM grade and diploma exams around the region.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training

Dr Christopher Randall (Composition & Music Language)

Christopher Randall received BMus from the University of Southern California, an MMus from the University of Oregon and a PhD in music composition from the University of Newcastle. He has worked as a performer in a wide range of genres, including speed metal, Latin-jazz, North Indian classical voice, and Western European orchestral and choral traditions. As a composer he has had the privilege to collaborate with a number of internationally renowned performers and ensembles, including the California E.A.R. Unit, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Hindustani vocalist Vijay Rajput, the Talujon percussion quartet, and the Pacific Rim Gamelan.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training

Sarah Robinson (Music Language & Piano)

Sarah studied music at Manchester University before moving to London. After teaching piano and flute for some years she went to Hungary for two years to study music teaching at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music. At the Institute she completed the Advanced Level in musicianship studies, including ear training and theory, as well as studying piano pedagogy, lieder accompaniment and vocal conducting. On her return to the North East in 2007, Sarah gained an LRSM diploma in piano performance. Sarah currently works as an accompanist, freelance teacher of piano, teaches independent group musicianship classes locally, and is Assistant Director of Antiphon Chamber Choir.

Teaches on: Centre for Advanced Training