Welcome To The St Albans Music Academy - your local and friendly hub of musical excellence
At SAMA, our mission is to enhance music education within our local community by providing
outstanding tuition for students of all ages and abilities.
Our experienced teachers are dedicated to encouraging and inspiring students to experience the enjoyment and personal development that learning music brings. We will help you accomplish your goals, whilst maintaining the highest standards and instilling a love and appreciation of music. We provide the opportunity for all students to take part in ensembles, performances and events because we believe that group music-making is a core part of every musician's development.
The Benefits of Music
Learning and taking part in musical activities in an environment such as ours can help students in a huge variety of areas, not just in acquiring the ability to play a musical instrument. For younger students, learning a discipline outside of school can supplement and aid reading, mathematical and analytical skills as well as promote a more engaging and productive attitude to learning. Getting involved in group music-making is a fantastic opportunity for young people to develop their social skills, and to be part of a dynamic and creative environment. For students of all ages, learning a new and expressive art form is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience.
Meet Our Teachers
All of our teachers are highly experienced, encouraging and friendly people who have been
carefully selected to be part of and enhance our supportive and fun community.
They are all highly qualified, have many years of experience and are DBS checked.
Piano, Clarinet and Music Theory
MA(Piano Performance, Hons) BMus(Music, Hons) PGDip(Performance) LRAM(Piano Teaching) ATCL(Clarinet Performance)
Founder and Creative Director of SAMA, Karen has been teaching music for the past 15 years. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Karen is highly qualified as a teacher, performer and accompanist and strives to help each student reach their full potential. Her approach is enthusiastic and friendly and her aim is to share her love of music with students of all ages and abilities.
Flute, Piano, Saxophone, Clarinet
MA (Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London), BMus(Birmingham Conservatoire)
Katie Sazanova is a passionate and dedicated teacher, with extensive experience teaching in primary and secondary schools. Katie is valued by parents and students for her engaging approach to teaching, and her priority is for students develop a love for music and their instruments. She has prepared pupils for Trinity and ABRSM exams, as well as national competitions. Katie graduated with Distinction from a MA at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London in 2019 and with a 1st class Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2015. Whilst studying and through her career, Katie has won several pretigious awards including the Flutes in Tuscany Young Artist competition in 2018 held in Tereglio and the Woodwind Prize 2014 at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
MA (Royal Academy of Music, London)
Swedish cellist Lydia Hillerudh is currently active as a chamber musician and cello teacher across London. Some of the groups she currently plays with include her clarinet trio, Tritium Trio, the Guildford Opera and the Little Orchestra. Tritium Trio have won several high-profile awards and have an album being released in 2019 by Prima Facie Records. Lydia has also been a chamber music fellow at the Royal Academy of Music with the group. Lydia studied cello at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she graduated with a 1st class Bachelor’s degree in 2016 and with Distinction from her Master of Arts in 2017. She now teaches with a number of different groups in the London area, is an accomplished music arranger and has also been involved in the development of the charity ‘Play for Progress’s newly founded music programme for unaccompanied refugee minors.
Piano and Singing
BA in Musical Theatre (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
Anna-Mili is a professional singer, actor, dancer, musician and music teacher who has been involved in a wide variety of shows in both the UK and US. She has experience teaching singing and piano as well as musical theatre - relishing in giving tuition to students ranging in ability and diverse music styles. She received the Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholarship for her degree and previously trained under a scholarship at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music - where she received Distinctions in Grade 8 Piano and Singing before the age of 18. Anna-Mili has also been part of many classical choirs, including the National Youth Choir of Great Britain for 4 years.
Piano & Violin
BMus GSMD (Hons)
Since graduating from The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Leanne has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician in over 80 different countries. She has led orchestras in the Royal Albert Hall and Festival Hall and performed in all the major concert venues including the Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Hall. Leanne has given multiple chamber music concerts for members of royalty in Japan, the Middle East and for HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Leanne also regularly performs live with various pop artists on both TV and radio. Leanne has been teaching young musicians both piano and violin for over 22 years. Her approach is friendly and enthusiastic and she works hard to instill the joy of performing and love of music in all her pupils. As a Senior Instrumental Tutor at The Lyceum School for over 10 years, many of Leanne's pupils gained music scholarships to London's top secondary schools. She is really excited to be part of the SAMA team!
Brass (French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone)
AGSM (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)
Jonathan has more than 25 years experience of playing the French horn and teaching brass instruments. Soon after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Jonathan took up the position of Associate Principal Horn with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra where he spent five happy years before returning to the UK. Since then, Jonathan has worked with many of the country’s finest ensembles, and has played in the orchestra pits of numerous West End shows. Jonathan regularly coaches the horn and brass sections of prestigious youth ensembles, such as the National Children’s Orchestra, the English Schools Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Wind Ensemble. Currently, Jonathan also holds teaching positions at King’s College School, Wimbledon and Uppingham School.
Guitar (classical, acoustic electric and bass)
BMus(Hons) Classical Guitar (Royal Conservatory of Madrid), Higher Diploma Electric Guitar (University of East London)
Pablo has been playing guitar for more than 25 years, and he is a busy session player who has recorded and toured with pop artists such as Adele, Lana del Rey or Sophie Ellis-Bextor. He has also recorded soundtracks for BBC movies and series and toured with classical artists such as Andrea Bocelli or Il Divo. Teaching music is his other great passion, and he has been working in prestigious universities (BIMM London) and schools (University College School), apart from a long history of private tutoring. Pablo is a passionate teacher who nurtures the love for the instrument, making sure lessons are fun and tailored to the student's musical taste, incorporating all needed technical and theory elements but prioritizing playing songs and having fun in the classroom.
Singing (Classical and Musical Theatre)
BA(Musical Theatre, 1st Class Hons) AMUS(Associate Diploma in Classical Voice) BMus(Music, major in Classical Voice)
Ashleigh is a professional singer and teacher with over 12 years experience. Since 2009, Ashleigh has worked professionally in the No. 1 West End Tour of 'The Sound of Music' and most recently spent two years as Understudy for Christine Daae in 'The Phantom of the Opera'. As well as teaching privately, Ashleigh is currently the Head of Singing at Starburst Academy in Watford and also teaches singing at Stageworks Studios Performing Arts College in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. She is experienced at preparing students for Musical Theatre and Acting LAMDA exams as well as Classical ABRSM exams. Ashleigh is thrilled to be teaching for SAMA as she enjoys working with children and helping them gain confidence through singing as well as instilling in them a passion for the performing arts from a young age.
BMus (Hons) - Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Jenny is a musician and educator who is passionate about bringing the joy of music into young people's lives. She looks to develop each pupil's unique sound and creativity in a fun and engaging way, building technical skill alongside musicianship. Since graduating from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2006, where she was a finalist in the prestigious prize for woodwind, she has taught in many primary and secondary schools, led flute groups and bands and helped many pupils succeed in exams and auditions for junior music colleges and to read music at university. She has performed in orchestras, as a chamber musician and as a soloist. She is also a teacher of the Alexander Technique. An approach which helps musicians play with poise and freedom of movement.
BA(Commercial Music, Hons, University of Westminster)
As a member of the pop/rock band The Feeling, Ciaran has toured the world over the last ten years,
performing many concerts and recording numerous albums. He also worked in the house band on
The Richard Blackwood Show, and has performed at both the London Coliseum and Die Staats Theater,
Stuttgart with members of the The Royal Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet.
Ciaran continues to perform regularly on electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar and keyboards and is enthusiastic about passing on his experience, passion for and knowledge of music to young people.
We also have a number of other teachers able to teach on an occassional basis.
At SAMA we aim to offer a variety of services to help promote the highest standard of musical education in our local community, including tuition classes, musical groups, events and instrument hire. See the Services page for more details.