Our Teachers, Instructors and Assistants
Dr Brian Cope
Brian studied music at the University of Edinburgh. He is a composer, music educator and consultant with a particular interest in issues of inclusion in music education. He has worked as a Specialist Music Advisor to Creative Scotland and has travelled extensively as a music consultant and trainer for the international humanitarian organisation, War Child Holland where he worked on psychosocial music projects with children affected by the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Abkhazia, and Sierra Leone in West Africa.
He worked for six years as the Artistic Director for Drake Music Scotland, an organisation that uses innovative music technology and teaching methods to enable people with physical and learning disabilities to play and compose music independently.
His composition work spans a wide range of activities including film music, theatre and concert works. He recently completed his PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Edinburgh where he also taught harmony and counterpoint.
Some fun facts about Brian:
- The strangest food he's eaten is Ostrich burger
- If he was an animal he'd like to be a bear
- The next instrument he'd like to learn is the violin
- His favourite children's book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Brian teaches drums and percussion
- AlmaCo-founder/Saturday ManagerAlmaCo-founder/Saturday Manager
Alma co-founded the music school with husband Brian in 2005 and for the past 12 years, in addition to maintaining a full-time career, has dedicated her every Saturday morning to the smooth running of the school. Alma's sunny and engaging personality has helped foster a real sense of community in the music school, creating a safe and welcoming environment for children to thrive.
Alma is available in the main waiting area from 9.00am until 1.00pm and can help with all enquiries relating to music school matters.
A few fun facts about Alma:
- Alma is from Albania and is often mistaken for being Spanish
- 3 scoops of ice-cream: raspberry ripple, pistachio and Ferrero Rocher
- She loves to sing
- She speaks Abanian, English, Italian and French and will pretty much have a go at any language!
- HollyBaby & Toddlers and Musicianship TeacherHollyBaby & Toddlers and Musicianship Teacher
Holly Carter BA (Hons)
Holly studied music at the University of York and then Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. During her career Holly has sung with many choirs including the National Youth Choir of Scotland, Edinburgh University Chamber Choir, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and the vocal quartet Dolcezza. She performs regularly in both solo and choral performances and weddings in the UK and abroad and has performed roles in Operas such as Susanna in the Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cissy Woodger in Albert Herring.
Holly has worked with children since graduating in 2005. She has held positions such as a Kodàly Instructor in schools in Aberdeenshire and an Early Years Music Leader of baby and young children’s music groups and of music classes in nurseries. In addition, Holly has worked as an Assistant Director and Musicianship Instructor for the National Youth Choir of Scotland in several of their area choirs.
A few fun facts about Holly:
- If she was an animal she'd like to be a monkey.
- Her favourite children’s book is Angelina Ballerina.
- 3 scoops of ice cream: Salted Caramel, Cookie Dough and Turkish Delight!
- Her favourite day out in Edinburgh is walking her dog around Arthur’s Seat whilst making him do tricks with his frisby and then going to the Fudge Kitchen on the way home!!!
- Favourite performance: Singing with NYCoS and Christina Aguillera at the MTV awards or getting to eat lots of real cakes on stage whilst playing Cissy in Albert Herring!!!
Holly teaches creative music classes for babies and toddlers and musicianship classes.
- TillyMusicianship TeacherTillyMusicianship TeacherTilly Mütter BMusTilly is a student on the MSc Music Therapy Course at Queen Margaret University. She completed her undergrad in music at Canterbury, where she got the opportunity to perform with many ensembles such as Voces8 and Glynbourne. After graduating, Tilly became the Music Lead at The Sunflower Federation Schools in Hertfordshire; for students with additional needs and profound multiple learning disabilities, where she used music to help improve the students' individual targets.Tilly loves to perform, and prior to the pandemic, she got the opportunity to do so in some amazing places such as Kenya and Azerbaijan with her choir, The Canterbury Voices.A few fun facts about Tilly:
- Her favourite activity in Edinburgh is walking up Calton hill.
- The next instrument she'd like to learn is the trumpet.
- Her favourite colour is green.
- Since moving to Edinburgh she has started playing Rugby.
- SimonViolin TeacherSimonViolin Teacher
Simon found a violin at home when he was eleven and with a bit of help from his dad started playing. He was inspired listening to Alfredo Campoli playing Bazzini's La Ronde des Lutins and it wasn't long before he knew what he wanted to do. He studied the violin and viola at the RAM and after a couple of years playing in the English Chamber Orchestra left to freelance with most of London's great orchestras until moving to Edinburgh to join the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which he played in for 25 years. Simon joined the staff at Sistema Scotland in Glasgow nine years ago and has enjoyed teaching for many years including beginners to professional players.
Some fun facts:
- Simon has played in over 40 countries. Highlights include Iguazu in South America, a tour of India and a tour of Israel.
- He also played in the mountains of Brazil where lots of children came wanting to carry his violin case.
- He's played on over 100 CDs.
- Simon has played with these great violinists: Gidon Kremer, Pinchas Zukerman, James Ehnes, Isabelle Faust, Alina Ibragimova, Jaime Laredo, Joseph Swensen, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng and many others.
- Hobbies include birdwatching, learning ancient Hebrew and Greek, reading and walking.
- MeganFlute TeacherMeganFlute Teacher
Megan Porter BMus (Hons)
Born in West Lothian, Megan first began flute at Broxburn Academy and in 2020 graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a first class Bachelor of Music degree.
Before the covid pandemic Megan regularly performed as part of ensembles and chamber groups, some of her highlights include performing Mozarts Concerto in G major with the Edinburgh Napier Chamber Orchestra, premiering Kenneth Dempster’s Song of Songs at the Usher Hall, and premiering a site specific cello and bass flute duet by Katrina Burton. Currently she is part of the Aquila Duo, a flute and piano duet based in Edinburgh, and is principle bass flautist of the award winning Flutes Unlimited Flute choir.
Megan is extremely passionate about new music. She loves collaborating with composers and performing contemporary music. She aims to play a diverse repertoire of music by composers from minority groups, and those often underrepresented in the classical world.
Megan loves sharing in the joy of learning and making music, she has studied teaching methodology while at university and has 2 years teaching experience, as well as over 200 hours of volunteer work with children.
Some fun facts:
- Her favourite video game is Animal Crossing.
- If she were an animal it would be an octopus.
- Megan loves animation - her favourite tv show is either Avatar the Last Air-bender or Shera and The Princesses of Power.
- Her favourite country that she has visited is the Netherlands.
- JodieDrum TeacherJodieDrum Teacher
After many years of studying at Portobello Music School, Jodie went on to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University where she specialised in drumkit performance. She has lots of experience playing drums and other instruments in a variety of groups and ensembles ranging from string orchestras to her current punk/grunge band.
Jodie has previously taught at the music school in the role of a teaching assistant for the P2 creative music, musicianship and rock & pop band classes. She has also taught as an assistant in an after-school music club teaching children pop and rock music.
Some fun facts about Jodie:
- If she could be any animal, she would be a meerkat.
- Her three scoops of ice cream would be coconut, cookie dough and vanilla.
- Her favourite colour is indigo.
- The next instrument she would like to learn is the trumpet.
- ValentinGuitar TeacherValentinGuitar Teacher
Valentin Danisevicius DEM, DipABRSMValentin is a classically trained guitarist from Paris, France, where he obtained his DEM in June 2020 at the 13th arrondissement Conservatoire, under Benjamin Valette (Quatuor Éclisses) and Atanas Ourkouzounov.After winning a scholarship in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), he moved to Glasgow in September 2020 to start his Bachelor in Classical Guitar Performance. He is currently studying under renowned teachers Matthew McAllister and Allan Neave.He also holds a degree in Musicology from the University of La Sorbonne in Paris.Valentin is a dedicated teacher who has been giving lessons for 5 years now, both private and in conservatoires.His teaching focuses on developing a strong technique and a good knowledge of the repertoire, in a dedicated and kind atmosphere. He is also keen on helping his students be more attuned to their body sensations and posture, an approach which he has refined through working with physiotherapists and through his own practice of mindfulness meditation.Valentin has also been refining his skills over the years by attending many masterclasses, workshops, or private lessons with famous guitarists such as Judicael Perroy, Marcin Dylla, Thomas Viloteau, Paul Galbraith, Rémi Jousselme, Olivier Pelmoine and Natalia Lipnitskaya.Some interesting facts about Valentin:
- I love boardgames, my favourite is Everdell
- I used to play lead guitar in metal bands
- I studied Opera singing as a tenor for 3 years
- I could eat curry almost every day!
- PawelClarinet TeacherPawelClarinet Teacher
Pawel Jaworski BMus, MMus
Pawel Jaworski was born in Swidnik, Poland. He started his musical education at the Wilkomirski’s Family School of Music in Swidnik and continued at the Karol Lipinski School of Music in Lublin. Then he enrolled to the Academy of Music in Gdansk, Poland.
Pawel graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he achieved a Bachelor of Music degree with Honours (2017) and Master of Music Performance degree (2019). He was awarded an RCS Trust Postgraduate Scholarship to commence his Master of Music degree. He also won a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award.
During his time at RCS, Pawel successfully auditioned to participate in apprenticeship schemes with Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In 2016, he appeared as a soloist with RCS Wind Orchestra. After winning RCS Classical Concerto Competition 2018 he featured as a soloist with RCS Clarinet Choir in 2021. He has performed Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’ with Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds, which was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 as part of the ‘Scots in Glasgow’.
Pawel’s professional freelance engagements include performing with Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Ulster Orchestra and Musical Theater in Lublin, Poland. Furthermore, he regularly performs with Clyde Opera and Bearsden, Paisley and Helensburgh Oratorio Choirs. Pawel has appeared at many festivals, such as Edinburgh International Festival, St Magnus Festival, Cumnock Tryst Festival and Sound Thought Festival amongst others. In 2019 he had the pleasure to perform with the RCS Symphony Orchestra at Prince’s Foundation Gala at Buckingham Palace. As a chamber musician, Pawel performed with ensembles such as Mr. McFall’s Chamber, Red Note Ensemble and Stevenson Winds. He also gave several solo recitals in various UK venues, including St. Giles Cathedral, Greyfrairs Kirk and Chetham’s School of Music. He performs regularly with his clarinet quartet “Silver Keys”.
Pawel has worked as a clarinet tutor at the Harrogate Summer Clarinet Course 2016 - 2019. Currently, he works as a clarinet and piano tutor at Borders School of Music in Galashiels. He also teaches clarinet at Portobello Music School.
Some fun facts about Paweł:
- Favourite food: definitely pizza! Could eat everyday.
- If he wasn't a musician he would have been a football player
- Favourite movie: Lord of the rings
- He loves spending time with his family and cooks a lot!
- MarsailidhPreschool TeacherMarsailidhPreschool Teacher
Marsailidh Groat BMus, MA
Marsailidh is an award-winning Scottish viola player, teacher and workshop leader, performing throughout the UK and abroad as an orchestral and chamber musician.
Marsailidh studied at the Royal College of Music, London with Andriy Viytovych, graduating with a Master of Performance with Distinction in 2018. During her studies she was awarded a scholarship supported by the Derek Butler Trust and won the Unaccompanied Bach Prize in 2018.
Marsailidh was a member of the Southbank Sinfonia 2019 orchestra. With SBS, she explored orchestral and chamber repertoire, performed at the BBC Proms, and experimented with alternative performance methods. During her time with SBS she co-led a series of music-making workshops in the nursery and family centre of Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre and was invited to continue working there after finishing the fellowship.
Marsailidh feels strongly about the therapeutic capabilities of music making and worked with Breathe Arts Health Research on ‘Melodies for Mums’, a series of singing workshops for new mothers with post-natal depression. She also works with the SCO as part of their creative learning projects in schools and community centres in Edinburgh. She has been freelancing orchestrally since graduating, performing with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, English National Ballet and Her Ensemble.
- DominiqueGuitar TeacherDominiqueGuitar Teacher
Dominique Boeynaems BMus MMus
Dominique started his practice of the classical guitar at the age of 8. After several years of private lessons, he attended De! Kunsthumaniora, high school for the arts in Antwerp, Belgium, where he graduated with distinction. In 2017, he completed his undergrad at the Royal Conservatoire of Ghent in guitar performance, where he studied with Johan Fostier and Yves Storms. He recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he received classes with Scottish guitarist Matthew McAllister.
Dominique is very passionate about teaching guitar and music in general to the next generation. He also enjoys being involved in chamber music as well as working with other musicians, and is always looking towards new projects to take on. One project that Dominique is currently leading is the second season of the Glasgow Guitar Nights, giving a stage to young and upcoming guitarists.
- EricGuitar TeacherEricGuitar Teacher
Eric Thomas BMus (Hons) MMus
Eric is a lutenist based in Edinburgh. He studied music at Edinburgh University, dividing his time between performance, composition and musicology, and gained a BMus (Hons) degree. He went on to pursue his interest in early music, completing an MMus in Historically Informed Performance Practice, with the aid of a Carnegie-Cameron postgraduate bursary, jointly at The University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatiore of Scotland, under the supervision of John Butt, receiving lute tuition from Jamie Akers.
Eric continued his studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying lute and theorbo with Fred Jacobs, and also attended the Urbino Early Music Festival to study with Paul O’Dette and Dartington International Summer School for lessons with David Miller. Eric is currently a Ph.D candidate at the University of Southampton, under the supervision of Elizabeth Kenny and Laurie Stras, being awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship to research the role of improvisation in early 16th century Italian lute music.
Eric has played with the Kellie Consort, and has appeared in concert with Dame Emma Kirkby, as well appearing regularly with recorder player Annemarie Klein as part of Musica Mundana. This year Eric was selected to be apart of the Britten-Pears baroque orchestra conducted by Christian Curnyn. Eric is also a committed guitar teacher and enjoys teaching pupils of all ages!
Some fun facts about Eric:
- The next instrument he would like to learn is the oud.
- If he was an animal he would be a tortoise.
- His favourite food is curry.
- His favourite country visited so far is the Netherlands.
Eric teaches guitar
- BenDrum TeacherBenDrum Teacher
Ben Collard BA(Hons)
Ben graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Popular music, with a focus on performance. Since graduating Ben has spent the majority of his time behind the kit in some capacity, whether in a live performance setting, recording sessions, and of course teaching.
Ben has been a working musician since he was a teenager, playing regular gigs and live shows all the way through high school and university. He has continued to do so regularly and now performs with many different bands in many different settings - rock; jazz; funk; electro; hip-hop and even orchestral.
Ben has had three years of one-on-one instrumental teaching experience at Edinburgh Napier’s junior music school, as well as group tutoring/mentoring experience with the Tinderbox Orchestra.
A few interesting thing about Ben:
- If I were an animal I’d be: any exotic sea animal. Maybe a sea turtle.
- The next instrument I’d like to learn would be: Piano. Or bass guitar. Or saxophone. I am indecisive.
- Favourite colour is green.
- Superpower: To fly and/or breathe underwater.
- LouisePrimary 2 Music TeacherLouisePrimary 2 Music Teacher
Louise Martin MMus, PGCE, BA (Hons)
Louise spent eight years as a secondary school music teacher before running away with the circus, where she branched out from classical cello and piano into rock, punk, ska, country, theremin, musical saw and stilt-walking. Following postgraduate MMus study in Ethnomusicology, and Music in the Community, she settled back in Edinburgh.
She now works as a freelance musician in a variety of contexts: she leads creative music projects for organisations such as East Lothian and Highland Councils, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Ensemble; has taught Music in the Community at Edinburgh University and Napier University; has organised education work for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; works with adult amateur musicians as Musical Director of the Merchant Sinfonia (Glasgow) and Stockbridge and New Town Community Orchestra (Edinburgh); and in 2015 was appointed Director of Access, Engagement and Participation with the exciting contemporary group Red Note Ensemble.
A few fun facts about Louise:
- If she was an animal she'd like to be a Friesian cow – just mosey-ing along, grazing all day. Mmmmoooooo!
- Her favourite day out in Edinburgh a walk along the River Almond walkway, ending up at the ice-cream van at Cramond harbour
- 3 scoops of ice-cream: Belgian chocolate, blackcurrant sorbet, raspberry sorbet
- She started to play the Recorder when she was 8
Piano when she was 9
Violin when she was 10
Cello when she was 11
Musical Saw when she was old enough to know better!
Louise teaches Primary 2 Creative Music, String Group and Adult Singing Group
- HeatherPrimary 1 Music TeacherHeatherPrimary 1 Music Teacher
Heather Glasspool BA (Hons) PPRNCM
Heather studied music at Durham University and Vocal Studies at The Royal Northern College of Music. She has sung professionally as a soloist throughout Britain and with the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and Opera North Choruses. Heather ran a busy teaching practise in North London for many years. She moved to Edinburgh in 2006 where she trained in the Kodály method with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and became a member of teaching staff for the Edinburgh Area Choir later that year. She teaches privately and works on vocal projects in schools with Edinburgh council.
Some fun facts about Heather:
- Three scoops of ice cream: chocolate, butterscotch and vanilla.
- If she was an animal she'd like to be a sea otter.
- Favourite children's books: the Hairy Maclary and Friends series by Linley Dodd.
- Favourite day out in Edinburgh: a trip to the Botanical Gardens, looking at the amazing plants in the glass houses and then going into cafe for a treat.
- Strangest food she has eaten is snails.
Heather teaches Primary 1 Creative Music
- LukePiano Teacher
Luke Hunter BMus (Hons)
Luke studied music at the University of Edinburgh and graduated in 2022, focusing on composition, having written a concept album based on George Orwell’s 1984 as his final project.
He attended Musselburgh Grammar School where he was a part of the rock ensemble, jazz band, guitar ensemble, orchestra and helped lead and accompany a choir of pupils from Whitecraig Primary School. He was awarded the Mansfield Music Prize in his final year. He played the lead role in the school musical, Back to the 80s, in 2016 but never managed how to properly dance so he moved to the pit band for the next production and played the guitar for School of Rock! During his time at high school he also achieved an HND in Music Technology in a self-taught environment.
But before even attending high school, Luke was a pupil at Portobello Music School for a number of years, attending musicianship, guitar, singing and piano classes.
Luke has been performing in and around Edinburgh and East Lothian for over ten years as a solo artist but has now built a band around him to perform his original compositions in the indie-pop genre. He also performs as part of pit bands for musicals, playing in shows such as Legally Blonde, RENT, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar and Shrek, on guitar, bass and piano.
Here are a few fun facts about Luke:
- His favourite food is Turkey Korma.
- If he was an animal he’d like to be a dog - either Cavapoo or a Golden Retriever!
- The next instrument he’d like to learn is the trumpet.
- His favourite children’s book series is CHERUB by Robert Muchamore.
You can listen to Luke’s music here
- KatherinePiano TeacherKatherinePiano Teacher
Katherine Morrison BMus (Hons)
Katherine's interest in music started at a very young age and she can recall some of her earliest memories involving being completely mesmerised as her grandmother performed Ragtime classis on her old upright piano, and being taught to headbang to Deep Purple by her father! She was thrilled to receive the chance to learn violin in primary school but after a few years chose to follow in her grandmother's footsteps and switched her focus to the piano. She progressed through the ABRSM grades, completing grade 8 by the time she was 16 and decided to study music and piano further at Edinburgh Napier University. There she revelled in expanding her repertoire, performing in ensembles of all genres and furthering her interest in the history and context of music.
Her teaching journey began in second year and it quickly accelerated to an army of pupils by fourth year! After graduating with a first class degree and dabbling with freelance and performance-based roles, she decided to focus on teaching full-time as it became apparent nothing was more fulfilling and exciting than inspiring pupils to love something that had meant so much to her her entire life. She is interested in experimenting with different styles and genres and is very open to what her pupils want to focus on, whether that's progressing through primarily classical-based grades, learning simple melodies and chords or studying the keyboard solos of Jon Lord! She loves integrating elements of theory and history in her lessons, leaving pupils with not just a sense of how to play, but also what it is they're playing. Katherine now has over 12 years experience in teaching and has worked with 100s of pupils, many of which have gone on to study music to Advanced Higher level and beyond.
A few fun facts about Katherine:
- Her favourite children's book series is Goosebumps by R.L.Stine
- Her favourite film trilogy is The Lord of the Rings
- Out of the countries she have visited so far, her favourite has been Finland.
- The next instrument she would like to learn is the classical guitar.
Katherine teaches piano
- PhoebePiano TeacherPhoebePiano Teacher
Phoebe Janisch, Piano Teacher
Phoebe is completing her postgraduate degree in music therapy from Queen Margaret University. From the United States, Phoebe brings a unique perspective of repertoire, musicality and passion to her piano teaching at Portobello Music School.
From a very early age, Phoebe found comfort in the piano keys. She started piano at the age of six, per recommendation from her school music teacher at the time, advising her mother on what to do with ‘a girl who cannot stop singing.’
Since then, Phoebe has taken on many roles in her music community. She can play multiple instruments (guess how many!) and has participated in many musicals, choirs, workshops, ensembles and band camps. Like her students, she was also enrolled in a music school, learning how to perform and compose music at a nationwide level. From there, she has personalised her piano teaching for many different students in age range and ability.
Phoebe loves experimenting with different music styles, theory elements, and ways to teach. She is open to what inspires her students and their goals, wanting them to leave each lesson with not just a sense of how to play, but excitement about what they're playing.
The piano is at Phoebe’s heart, but she also enjoys performing and discovering new instruments. She is passionate about adventure, people and music, which is a big reason why Phoebe chose to pursue music therapy in Edinburgh. She also has a knack for knowing way too much about Broadway musicals.
A few fun facts about Phoebe:
Her favourite composers are George Gershwin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ... special thanks to growing up with a Russian piano teacher!
If she could only eat one kind of food for the rest of her life, it would be dill pickles
She is scuba diving certified and has dived to shipwrecks in the Great Lakes
The next instrument she would like to learn is the fiddle
- CarmenClassroom AssistantCarmenClassroom Assistant
Carmen has been a student at music school for a number of years where she studies flute and music theory. She has played in the Concert Band and taken in part in The Edinburgh Competition Festival for a number of years. She has been working at the music school for the past year helping our younger students with their musicianship and music theory.
A few fun facts about Carmen:
- If she was an animal she'd like to be a tiger
- Her favourite children’s book is Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
- 3 scoops of ice cream: mint choc chip, coconut and vanilla
- The next instrument she would like to learn is guitar
- If she had a superpower it would be flying
- AilsaClassroom AssistantAilsaClassroom Assistant
I started playing violin at Portobello Music School when I was 7 years old. I am still playing, and am now working towards my Grade 6 exam. I have also started playing trumpet at school, and more recently piano at Portobello Music School. I enjoy playing in music groups, and played in String Quartet. I now play violin in Edinburgh Secondary School's orchestra. My favourite style of music to play is folk, and I am thinking of becoming a music teacher in the future.