MEET THE TEAM
Biographies and Qualifications
DR SEÁN CAROLAN
I am the owner of the Birmingham Piano and Music Studio. I did my Music degree at Liverpool University, studying piano, organ, composition and Music Education. I gained the Sue Willis Memorial Prize for Performance whilst there and went on to teach music throughout the Northwest. I've taught Key Stage One through to A Level Music and was Music Co-Ordinator for several School Clusters in Birmingham. A year in Mexico City in the mid 1990's allowed me to participate in some collaborative work with schools and Orchestras. Upon returning to the UK, I gained a Master's and Ph.D, in Education. In addition to this, I've taught and lectured Composition and Musical Theory for Sandwell and Birmingham Education Authorities.
I've taught piano locally in the Birmingham area, as well as in schools and colleges. I've been teaching for more years than I'd like to admit and am proud to have had students who had their first piano lesson with me and have gone on to University to study music themselves. I am primarily a Music Practitioner with an emphasis on performance and general Music education.
During my years teaching, I am delighted to say I have a 100% success rate with students being entered for ABRSM examinations. The key to success is plenty practice, performance opportunities and relying on the advice of an experienced teacher, I also successfully applied and became a part of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Examining panel. The ABRSM is the gold standard in music assessment Worldwide and has a rich history and excellent reputation. Examining has allowed me to travel extensively throughout the UK, as well as to Hong Kong and recently examining in China.
Being up to date with current developments and national standards, myself and indeed all teachers at the Birmingham Piano & Music Studio have an up to date and valid DBS, we are fully insured, as is the Studio, and we have all completed training for Child Safeguarding with the NSPCC.
Maja grew up in Poland in a musical family. She started playing the violin at the age of 7 and piano at 11. In 2014 she won a scholarship to study violin at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating in 2018 with a first class honours degree.
Throughout her studies at the conservatoire, Maja discovered a passion for music education, as well as chamber music, experimental contemporary music and free improvisation. Some highlights of her time at the conservatoire include winning Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Prize in 2016 with her quartet and successful management of an original collaborative project, Kaleidoscope, which brought together composers and performers to devise new music, using folk melodies and free improvisation. She also participated in the orchestral training scheme with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
In the 2019/2020 season, she took part in the training scheme for emerging performers of contemporary music with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She has a passion for learning languages and composition. In 2014 she won a school composition competition for her piece Awakening among fjords, inspired by the tour to Norway & Iceland she went on as a member of Cracow Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Maja completed Phase 1 of training of the Colourstrings method of teaching violin and received training at DaCapo school in London, where she learnt about incorporating Kodaly musicianship in instrumental teaching. She enjoys a busy life of a freelance musician, performing, teaching and leading workshops in Birmingham and across the UK.
Myles started playing the piano at the age of 12. He demonstrated great skill from an early age and learned quickly. He further highlighted his love of music by regular attendance at concerts and performances. As a young person, he completely appreciates the challenges and frustrations of learning an instrument. Since discovering his talent at KS3 (with a roll out rubber piano!) music became his main hobby. After many years of piano lessons, and several distinction results for ABRSM examinations, Myles went on to study music at degree level.
Myles' A Level Music course was completed at King Edwards VI Stourbridge, where he not only developed an interest in Jazz and 20th Century music, but joined the college choir. He has a strong focus and interest in developing aural skills of students as well as a keen interest in composition. He has a thorough understanding of Sibelius software and is our resident expert in composition and using IT in music.
Additionally, on several occasions Myles volunteered to attend ABRSM examiner training. Here, he performed at mock examinations to train examiners. This allows him to properly empathise with students prior to examinations. At the Birmingham Piano & Music Studio, Myles took part in a 24 hour piano practice marathon, in which he practised the piano at 2AM to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Recently, Myles was awarded the 'Musician of the Year' award at the Birmingham Piano & Music Studio for his determination and dedication towards achieving his musical goals.
Myles will shortly be off to study Music at degree level and after a successful Grade 8, will be taking his diploma in 2021.
Dominic's musical life began as a clarinettist, though growing up he was keen to learn as many different instruments as possible, beginning lessons on clarinet aged 9, piano at 11, and bassoon at 16. Along the way he taught himself anything else he could get his hands on, and enjoyed singing in several choirs across Cambridge.
In 2017, Dominic won a scholarship to study bassoon at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, though he specialised in multi-instrumental doubling throughout his degree. He has performed in a wide range of settings on flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, and bassoon, as well as whistles and world flutes. Highlights include performances with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, working as part of a ceilidh band for weddings and functions, and performances across the Midlands with the Françaix Wind Trio, of which he is a founding member.
Outreach and education work has been a key part of Dominic's education. He has given workshops across Birmingham, including with the conservatoire's Learning and Participation (LEAP) ensemble, and performed across the UK with Street Orchestra Live. Dominic is keen to explore the huge range of musical styles and possibilities available across al the instruments he plays and teaches, and enjoys finding different methods of learning to suit every individual.
Dominic now balances teaching with freelance work in musical theatre bands, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and folk groups of all shapes and sizes. In his spare time he sings with the CBSO Chorus and enjoys exploring the UK by bike.