We help all our students conquer unique challenges and achieve their goals throughout their time at the Academy. Hear current student, parents, staff and alumni share their stories and achievements from their time with us.
Online Tuition Testimonials 2020
"Great lessons today. Thank you so much for organising what must be a difficult logisitical operation. We are so thankful for the superb teachers and teaching and the support it provides to the children carrying on with their musical learning. Fantastic Academy! Only in Sheffield!" - Parent
“Great music lessons. Was nice to actually see the teachers teaching and hearing music and to also hear the interaction. Great way of distance learning.” – Parent
“Amazing stuff! It was quite easy to set up – first lesson went really well. *student* can’t wait for another later. Seeing teacher, playing music, interacting – really heart-warming! Thank you so much for arranging it all!” – Parent
“Great lesson this morning. Big thanks to Jess, Martin and Alex for leading this music mobilisation miracle!” – Parent
“Nice to finish this difficult week on some kind of normality! Well done to all SMA staff.” – Parent
“All done! SMA@home has given pupil, teacher and parents a new take on Saturday morning – for us, toast and coffee upstairs listening to Vivaldi being played downstairs.” – Parent
"Thanks to SMA for organising a lovely day of learning. Wonderful as a parent and teacher to get a look into all the brilliant lessons - it has given me lots of ideas for learning!" - Parent & Staff
I was a member of Sheffield Music Academy for about 10 years - that’s a lot of Saturdays!
The classes offered in theory, aural and musicianship were excellent, and particularly useful supporting studies for me as I did not take A level music.
In addition to pursuing my own studies, every Saturday I very much enjoyed assisting with the junior string orchestra; always great fun.
I would say that the chamber music opportunities are a particular strength of the Academy. Participation in various ensembles, ranging from duos and quartets to medium size ensembles and the chamber orchestra, probably had the greatest influence on my playing and overall approach to music and performance.
One of the most enjoyable and memorable performances for me was Copland’s Appalachian Spring, a collaboration involving senior students and tutors. Another special memory is my graduation recital where I performed Handel-Halvorsen’s Passacaglia for violin and viola with my teacher Martin Cropper.
I have just completed first year at RNCM, where I study violin with Catherine Yates.
My 7 years at SMA have been the most incredible years of my life. Studying violin/viola and vocals there, the lessons I had have helped to shape me as a musician in many ways. To have purely individual lessons is one thing, but to be able to study musicianship, theory and aural amongst other classes has pushed me to develop my versatility in music which has inspired the way I perform. I loved having performance platform-style classes, as it not only helps me to receive feedback from my peers but also to give feedback to others. Furthermore, the countless amounts of concerts I have had the pleasure to perform in both as a soloist and as a part of various ensembles has helped immensely with confidence!
My favourite thing about being a part of SMA has to be performing with others. It has fuelled my passion for ensemble playing that I never would have had without the help of all the teachers and students there!
From September, I will be going into my second year as a violist at the Royal Academy of Music, where I study with Jon Thorne.
'My son David was keen on doing Music A’level but he was the only one in his year at school who wanted to, and he was told he couldn’t do the A’level there. So we looked around for somewhere else he could do it, and were very lucky to find that Sheffield Music Academy had just introduced an A’level course.
David had very dedicated teachers who pushed him to excel, particularly Miriam Hill, Valentina Kalashnik (piano) and Tom James (cornet). Miriam and Valentina put in a lot of their own time to teach him for which we are extremely grateful.
David went on to achieve a first class degree (BMus) from University of Birmingham, and then an MA (Merit) in Composition from University of Sheffield. His primary interest is in composition but he loves playing the piano, and does so for hours most days when at home.
David is currently backpacking through the United States, and plans to apply for a PhD in Composition at one of the East Coast universities, as he has a particular interest in American concert music.
All of this was hanging in the balance when he was trying to find somewhere to do an A’level in Music.
'I joined the Sheffield Music Academy at the not so young age of 15 until I was 18. I was a shy and young individual who used music as a way of self expression. Music was a way for me to communicate and create ideas without the use for direct words. The Academy was a long shot that I took a gamble on, where I hoped my passion, determination and expertise in my chosen instrument would shine through on my interpretations of music.
As a result of that gamble, I secured a scholarship that covered my tuition fees and my timetabled activities at the Academy. I had the opportunity to really push myself as a performer, obtaining my grade 8 for my violin as well as Classical Singing; I also experienced the drums which really helped my rhythm and coordination. Apart from my family support, without the support of the staff at the academy, I know I would have doubted myself and not given 100% when faced with unpredictable changes. The time, commitment and support they give you is truly inspiring. They keep cheering you on, even when you lack that self confidence to believe you yourself can overcome that self doubt.
I met some truly talented and friendly teachers who taught me more than just music, they taught life lessons, that to this day I carry with me. I also had the opportunity to mix with individuals from all walks of life; some privileged, some not, some from the same city and some from all over the world. I still have friends that I still keep in contact with now.
Ultimately, the Academy is a place for individuals who share a passion for music. It is a place that can give your child that opportunity to better themselves, regardless of their financial background. Music has given me so many skills that I apply daily; problem solving, effective communication, team work, perseverance and confidence. The list goes on.
So I would like to say thank you to all the staff I had the opportunity to meet in my time there. Please continue to support those children with the talent and drive but maybe not the means to pursue their passion.'
'Music is my life; my whole life revolves around music. Music brings me a sense of freedom. Every rehearsal and performance is different, every time I play. It brings me great happiness.
I have met some amazing people through music and I can’t imagine not being part of that.
At the Sheffield Music Academy I have met a lot of people with similar goals and passions. It is great to have an opportunity to talk to and work with these people. I feel at home there and it gives me a chance to develop myself as a musician. There are so many opportunities to perform.
I have a particular fondness for my experience playing The Carnival of The Animals at Sheffield Cathedral which was a great performance opportunity I would not otherwise have had.
For me the future is at Oxford University, studying Music. I want to use my time there to really explore the options with music and to see what is available for me to do. I can see myself playing with ensembles and teaching. I definitely want to explore musical theatre as a potential career path as I believe that it would be really interesting. Accompanying so many choirs has also lead to an interest in choral conducting which is something else I would like to pursue.'
'The Sheffield Music Academy allows me to share my interest in music with other people in a way that I can’t at school. It is great to be surrounded by like-minded people and to make music together. I now teach at the Sheffield Music Academy, tutoring small ensembles and assisting with the cello groups there.
The overall effect of music on my life is that it has brought me a real sense of optimism. The practise, care and thought that goes into music brings with it a sense of control. When your hard work pays off it is a great feeling and helps to build my confidence. Music makes me realise that when you carry on giving thought and putting in effort then you can achieve anything. That is an ethic that carries on into all areas of life.
There are a lot of different things I’d like to get involved with in the future but I’ve settled on the idea of orchestral playing as a career. From September I will be studying with the Royal Northern College of Music.'
'I have loved my five years at Academy. I chose to study here because I felt it would help me develop as a well rounded musician, beyond my instrumental lessons.
At the Academy, I sang in the choirs (girls and mixed), and played in the chamber orchestra and small chamber-music groups, something which I found hugely beneficial. I also started vocal lessons, and aural and theory classes, as well as continuing with my violin lessons. This allowed me to progress musically:I have learned a lot from my time here, not only about performing (both as a soloist and in ensemble) but about musical history and theory, something I don’t think I could have got anywhere else, and which I know I will miss next year.
I have also grown personally here; the Academy is a very welcoming environment, which I feel has helped me mature as a musician and a person, and allowed me to make friends for life. I would recommend the Academy to any young musician in Sheffield or nearby, who wants to progress above and beyond in terms of music, alongside like-minded friends.
I have a conditional offer (grades A* A A) to read English at Cambridge University next year, and I have been awarded a choral scholarship in the Selwyn College choir (directed by Sarah McDonald).'