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Melody Music Birmingham is run entirely by volunteers all of whom are either past or present students of Birmingham Conservatoire.


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MMB Tutors

Sir Richard Stilgoe has spent fifty years as a performer and writer in all forms of the performing arts.

In 1997 he founded the Orpheus Centre in Surrey, where young disabled people prepare for independent living through a series of performing arts courses. He was High Sheriff of Surrey in 1998, during which year he was awarded an OBE. In the Jubilee honours list of 2012 Stilgoe was knighted for charitable service through the Alchemy Foundation.


Sir Richard Stilgoe



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Originally from Birmingham, Toyah was taught music at her secondary school by the charity's founder, Rosie Cross.

Willcox enjoyed her art and music lessons, and has since worked hard to develop a diverse career in musical performance, composition and acting.

Remembering Rosie Cross, then Miss Nelson, Toyah said that she gave her pupils 'an incredible love of classical music'.



Toyah Willcox



Rosie Cross


Founder of Melody, Rosie originally studied at the Birmingham School of Music (now Birmingham Conservatoire) and taught music in secondary schools.  She later built up a large and successful piano-teaching practice, working with pupils with a wide range of abilities.  Rosie’s experience of teaching Tom, who has Down’s syndrome, led her to found Melody in 1994, and then to the development of Melody Music Birmingham.  

Helen Coll


Chair of trustees, Helen studied music at York University. She taught music in secondary schools and worked in the advisory service before moving to Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) to lead teacher education programmes, eventually becoming Head of Secondary Education. Helen is professor emerita of BCU and a former chair of the National Association of Music Educators.

Lauren Gilbert


Michael Cross


Rosie McMinn


Rosie Rushton


Helena Stopes-Roe


Co- Director Lauren Gilbert graduated with a BMus (Hons) from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2010 after studying piano with Victor Sangiorgio. She currently works as a freelance accompanist and piano teacher and is Musical Director for the local amateur dramatics group, The Arcadians. Lauren has been a volunteer tutor for Melody Music Birmingham since it began in 2009 and has thoroughly enjoyed her time working with various students throughout the past few years.

Michael is Melody Treasurer. Well qualified for this role with a PhD in Mathematics from Durham University, Michael was Head of Mathematics at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield until his retirement.  He is a keen amateur photographer.

.Helena works as a lactation consultant both as a volunteer and at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Her son Tom, who has Down’s Syndrome and is now 30, was the catalyst for creating Melody. Tom gained so much from learning the piano and Helena wanted other children and young people to have the opportunities he had. She has been a trustee since the beginning and is very proud of what Melody has achieved.

Co-Director Rosie is a music facilitator based in Birmingham, where she has established herself as a specialist in music provision for groups with additional needs. Rosie graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with a BMus (Hons) in Performance, and recently completed a Masters of Education in Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. She has a keen interest in research into music education, disability and inclusivity. When not making music Rosie enjoys painting, camping and the great outdoors!

Beth is a registered music therapist who currently teaches on the BA (Hons) Creative and Therapeutic Arts, BA (Hons) Inclusive Education, and MA Music Therapy programmes at the University of South Wales. Beth has specialised in providing and researching instrumental tuition for students who have learning disabilities and physical disabilities; and is interested in how the Social Model of Disability can inform music education, music therapy, disability studies and inclusive education.

Beth Pickard


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has worked in Special Education for 40 years. She has taught children with a range of needs, with a particular interest in the

learning of deafblind pupils. Being school Music specialist for several years was a hugely enjoyable job, where she could develop musical experiences with a wide range of pupils. She has worked as coursetutor for the University of Birmingham and formally researched the use of new music technology with pupils with special needs.

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