String Teachers

Gordon Dodridge PGCE, GBSM, Post-graduate Diploma Violin performance

Gordon is a qualified teacher with a post-graduate in performance studies as a high level performer of the Violin. He has played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the English String Orchestra.

He is committed to providing equality of access for all students and believes that students should be offered the very best in music education.

Being part of the service’s management team, leading both Hastings & Wealden Music Centres, managing and leading an extremely motivated team of Music Teachers, Gordon believes that he has the best job ever ! He believes that developing positive relationships and embracing change are key for any organisation wishing to develop and thrive.

He was part of the first cohort to attend ‘Rising with the Tide’, a national part-time one-year course for leaders in music education with Open University accreditation. This has supported with the role of leading his team. One of the most valuable outcomes was in developing contacts with 30 other Music services throughout the UK and in maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of current developments in music education and how the different music services respond to these developments.

Daphne Brady, GTCL (Hons) | LTCL | PGCE

Daphne Brady greatly enjoys teaching Cello for East Sussex Music and her aim is to inspire.

Daphne Studied Cello at Trinity College of Music and then completed her PGCE for instrumental teaching. She then went on to teach Cello for East Sussex Music.

Daphne’s teaching is very pupil centered and she uses a wide range of musical styles to inspire the children and make the lessons fun.

Daphne plays with the Delphinus String Trio and performs in concerts with the Sussex Strings Orchestra. She lives in Herstmonceaux with her family where she loves gardening and going on country walks with her Cavalier spaniel. She also enjoys Flamenco dancing.


Mary Dodridge

Mary began playing the Violin at age 9 and went on to lead the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra. She went to the Birmingham Conservatoire where she played, amongst others, under Sir Simon Rattle.

After graduating Mary went to Middlesex University to complete her PGCE, she then joined East Sussex Music where alongside her teaching, she continued her studies and became a qualified Suzuki Violin Teacher. During this time she also performed with the Corelli Ensemble and coached on the Edinburgh Suzuki group Summer School. Mary has coached the East Sussex Youth Orchestra, assisted on residential courses and tours, and taught on Summer School courses.

In 1994 Mary founded the Eastbourne Suzuki Group and started a family. In addition to teaching for East Sussex music in the Eastbourne Area, she also teaches the Violin at St Andrews Prep and Bede’s Prep and enjoys gardening, reading and cooking.


Stephen Giles BMus | Diploma in Orchestral Studies

Stephen has worked with professional orchestras in the UK and abroad, in addition to working with chamber ensembles and in film and TV. He has also worked in violin and viola teaching for many years, including with East Sussex Music since 2000. Stephen teaches in schools in the Lewes area teaching violin & viola from those aged 5 up to 18. He also has roles coaching in South Downs Youth Orchestra, East Sussex String Chamber Orchestra, East Sussex Youth Orchestra and he also conducts Handel String Orchestra.

Lynne Ratcliffe LWCMD | ACC | PGCE

Lynne is an experienced violinist, teacher and performer. She studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, achieving distinctions in both the Performance Diploma and Advanced Certificate courses.

Lynne has been a member of the Welsh National Youth Orchestra and co-leader of the Cardiff Bay Chamber orchestra. She toured and played regularly with the Welsh National Opera and played with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Lynne taught for Cardiff City and the Vale of Glamorgan Music Service before moving to London to become a full time member of the West End production of West Side Story. Playing chamber music became a passion and Lynne is currently a member of the De La Warr String Quartet.

Lynne studied the Suzuki Method, Dalcroze and Teaching Music in the Early Years before achieving her PGCE qualification. Lessons with Lynne cover a wide variety of styles, tailored to individual needs, developing technique and musicality through having fun making music. Age is no barrier; Lynne has taught in nursery settings through to 80 year olds. She is a firm believer that everyone is capable of achieving goals and of the importance of fostering a love of music for life. Lynne has had the pleasure of playing for the Queen twice!


Russ Robinson BA (Hons)

Russ worked from 1999–2001 at the National Conservatory of Music, Ramallah, Palestine, teaching Violin and Viola in Ramallah, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem

Russ has performed extensively with string quartets, Orchestras and Opera companies and musical theatre groups, both in the UK and abroad, Russ has also worked extensively in the studio on albums and soundtracks. Russ is currently a member of the Brighton String Quartet and Musicians of All Saints and works regularly with the University of Sussex Symphony Orchestra

Conni Rogers BMus | LTCL | PGCE

Conni aims to share her enthusiasm for music, inspiring children to learn the fundamentals of string playing and creating a lifelong love for music.

Following her BMus degree in Early Music, LTCL and PGCE, she trained and qualified as a violin and cello teacher with the British Suzuki Institute. Conni has been working with East Sussex Music since 1995 as an instrumental teacher. When not teaching, she enjoys playing with Early Music consorts and working as a Sound Therapist.


Simon Smith Curriculum Leader for Strings

Simon Smith is a full time teacher with East Sussex Music. He began playing the violin and viola at the age of seven and has never looked back! He grew up in Leeds and had lessons through the local Music Service, before being taught privately by members of the Orchestra of Opera North. Simon then gained a degree in Music from the University of Hull, before heading to Cardiff to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance.

In 2008 he joined East Sussex Music and teaches in schools around Lewes and Newhaven. As part of his work with the Lewes Area Music Centre he conducts the Telemann String Orchestra.

Outside of East Sussex Music, Simon has been leading the Eastbourne Concert Orchestra since 2010 and also plays with a variety of other groups including the Corelli Ensemble. In 2012 he founded Sussex Strings, an amateur string orchestra that he leads and directs.

Fiona Tilley GRAM | PGCE | MStat

Currently teaching Violin and Music Theory for East Sussex Music, having previously taught classroom music. Fiona has been a professional violin teacher and player for over 25 years


Lauretta Young BMus(Hons) | Dip.RCM | LTCL | PGCE

Lauretta started her violin studies at primary school aged nine. At fourteen, she had achieved grade eight with distinction and at seventeen, was granted her licentiate performance diploma.

On entering the Royal College of Music’s undergraduate degree course Lauretta studied violin performance with Jaroslav Vanecek and received coaching from the ‘Chilingirian String Quartet’, Benjamin Zander, George Hurst and Sir David Willcocks. She completed her studies with a final recital performance achieving an honours degree and a Dip.RCM (teaching diploma).

Since 1998 Lauretta has continued to enjoy rehearsing and performing chamber music with groups such as the ‘Corelli Ensemble’ and as a member of the ‘Delphinus String Quartet’. Lauretta also enjoys the challenge of performing modern works and has played regularly with the ‘Musicians of All Saints’, Lewes. As a member of her newest project, ‘Duo Romantique’, a violin and guitar duet, concerts have already included music such as Piazzolla’s ‘Histoire Du Tango’.

Lauretta earned her PGCE from the Roehampton Institute in 1998 and now has twenty years of experience working as a violin teacher for East Sussex Music in the Wealden area. Lauretta believes passionately in continued teacher development and training and has passed levels one to three of the ‘British Suzuki Institute’ exams. Lauretta is currently excited to be part of a dynamic string team who are all committed to providing the best musical education for their students. The team have led numerous workshops on improvisation and composition throughout 2018–19.

Elizabeth Bux

Vieda Mercer

Sally Ann Thorkildsen

Claire Kirkpatrick

Graham Coldwell

James Cruttenden

Jennifer Benwell