Meet the VMC Team

Meet the Virtual Music Centre Tutors!


Chris Simmonds

Rock & Pop Online and Grade V Theory Tutor

After graduating a degree course from BIMM, Chris spent ten years working as a freelance musician touring and recording with a number of high-profile artists. Having played worldwide music festivals spanning from Japan to Europe, headline shows and releasing a number of charting albums and remixes, he then stepped into teaching and is currently curriculum leader of guitar for us here at East Sussex Music.

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Grant Allyardce

Rock & Pop Online Tutor

I came from a household full of music and after watching my sister play conga, gravitated towards the school drum kit. I taught myself basic beats, got involved in the school band and then began playing gigs on the local Folk and punk circuit in Northern Ireland. Everything changed when I signed up to a jazz course at college where I was tutored by Kieth Copeland (Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye etc.) This experience and his influence was a catalyst to a life long journey in studying and playing drums. During the 1990s, while studying for a BMus at University Of Ulster (studying orchestral percussion)in Northern Ireland, I began teaching drums and percussion in local schools in Belfast. I moved to the South of England in 2000 and began peripatetic teaching for the East Sussex Music Service, becoming head of the Drums and Percussion department in 2007. I am currently Head of Drums, Percussion and now Keyboard for East Sussex Music.

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Bjorn McAteer Dahlberg

Jazz & Funk Online Tutor

Björn is a Swedish born musician, educator and award winning composer. He gained a Masters of Education in jazz saxophone at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. As a jazz musician he has recorded albums with his own groups as well as with Mick Jagger, Barry Adamson, Arthur Brown, Lucy Rose and many more. He has also toured worldwide as a keyboard player with the Show - A Tribute to ABBA for almost 20 years, with the highlight of playing to 80.000 people in São Paolo, Brazil.


He recently stopped his touring life to join East Sussex Music in 2019. He is a teacher of saxophone, clarinet, flute and keyboard as well as also leading the Wind Band at Hastings Music Centre.

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Russ Robinson

Beginners Theory & Intermediate Theory Tuor

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.