Success Stories

Our former students share their experiences of their time at the Academy, update us on where they are now and tell us about exciting events they are involved in. These success stories show the enjoyment and positive benefits the Academy can give to children and young people with exceptional talent, dedication and potential, regardless of their personal circumstances.

If you are a previous Music Academy student and would like to share your story with us, please fill out a form here. We would love to hear from you!


My son David was keen on doing Music A’level but he was the only one in his year at school who wanted to, and he was told he couldn’t do the A’level there. So we looked around for somewhere else he could do it, and were very lucky to find that Sheffield Music Academy had just introduced an A’level course.

David had very dedicated teachers who pushed him to excel, particularly Miriam Hill, Valentina Kalashnik (piano) and Tom James (cornet). Miriam and Valentina put in a lot of their own time to teach him for which we are extremely grateful.

David went on to achieve a first class degree (BMus) from University of Birmingham, and then an MA (Merit) in Composition from University of Sheffield. His primary interest is in composition but he loves playing the piano, and does so for hours most days when at home.

David is currently backpacking through the United States, and plans to apply for a PhD in Composition at one of the East Coast universities, as he has a particular interest in American concert music.

All of this was hanging in the balance when he was trying to find somewhere to do an A’level in Music.

Many thanks!


The Sheffield Music Academy allows me to share my interest in music with other people in a way that I can’t at school. It is great to be surrounded by like-minded people and to make music together. I now teach at the Sheffield Music Academy, tutoring small ensembles and assisting with the cello groups there.

The overall effect of music on my life is that it has brought me a real sense of optimism. The practise, care and thought that goes into music brings with it a sense of control. When your hard work pays off it is a great feeling and helps to build my confidence. Music makes me realise that when you carry on giving thought and putting in effort then you can achieve anything. That is an ethic that carries on into all areas of life.

There are a lot of different things I’d like to get involved with in the future but I’ve settled on the idea of orchestral playing as a career. From September I will be studying with the Royal Northern College of Music.


Music is my life; my whole life revolves around music. Music brings me a sense of freedom. Every rehearsal and performance is different, every time I play. It brings me great happiness.

I have met some amazing people through music and I can’t imagine not being part of that. 

At the Sheffield Music Academy I have met a lot of people with similar goals and passions. It is great to have an opportunity to talk to and work with these people. I feel at home there and it gives me a chance to develop myself as a musician. There are so many opportunities to perform.

I have a particular fondness for my experience playing The Carnival of The Animals at Sheffield Cathedral which was a great performance opportunity I would not otherwise have had.

For me the future is at Oxford University, studying Music. I want to use my time there to really explore the options with music and to see what is available for me to do.  I can see myself playing with ensembles and teaching. I definitely want to explore musical theatre as a potential career path as I believe that it would be really interesting. Accompanying so many choirs has also lead to an interest in choral conducting which is something else I would like to pursue.


I joined the Sheffield Music Academy in 2010 at the not so young age of 15 until I was 18. I was a shy and young individual who used music as a way of self expression. Music was a way for me to communicate and create ideas without the use for direct words. The Academy was a long shot that I took a gamble on, where I hoped my passion, determination and expertise in my chosen instrument would shine through on my interpretations of music.

As a result of that gamble, I secured a scholarship that covered my tuition fees and my timetabled activities at the Academy. I had the opportunity to really push myself as a performer, obtaining my grade 8 for my violin as well as Classical Singing; I also experienced the drums which really helped my rhythm and coordination. Apart from my family support, without the support of the staff at the academy, I know I would have doubted myself and not given 100% when faced with unpredictable changes. The time, commitment and support they give you is truly inspiring. They keep cheering you on, even when you lack that self confidence to believe you yourself can overcome that self doubt.

I met some truly talented and friendly teachers who taught me more than just music, they taught life lessons, that to this day I carry with me. I also had the opportunity to mix with individuals from all walks of life; some privileged, some not, some from the same city and some from all over the world. I still have friends that I still keep in contact with now.

Ultimately, the Academy is a place for individuals who share a passion for music. It is a place that can give your child that opportunity to better themselves, regardless of their financial background. Music has given me so many skills that I apply daily; problem solving, effective communication, team work, perseverance and confidence. The list goes on.
So I would like to say thank you to all the staff I had the opportunity to meet in my time there. Please continue to support those children with the talent and drive but maybe not the means to pursue their passion.


Throughout my time at the Academy, I enjoyed a complete musical education. In particular, my confidence as a performer has improved due to the great array of concerts and performance opportunities on offer. Similarly, the Academy has fuelled my passion for ensemble playing, whether it be in small chamber groups or larger orchestras. These experiences also informed my decision to take an A-level in Music at the Academy, which in turn developed my composition skills, theoretical knowledge and appreciation for musical history.
Ultimately my time at the Academy also led to the formation of new friendships which, along with the musical education provided there, will continue to inspire me in the future. 
Next year I will be reading Physics at the University of Central London.


I have hugely enjoyed my experience of Academy.  Over the past three years I feel I have become a more rounded musician through studying A level,  Aural and Musicianship.  Practically The Academy has given me some really great opportuniities to perform both individually and as part of chamber and orchestral groups.

Being part of The Academy has helped me become more confident and I have met some amazing friends who share interests .  The atmosphere and energy of The Academy is wonderful and I will miss it.

I hope to Study Physics and have an offer from Oxford University but I will continue playing and learning about music.


I have loved my five years at Academy. I chose to study here because I felt it would help me develop as a well rounded musician, beyond my instrumental lessons.

At the Academy, I sang in the choirs (girls and mixed), and played in the chamber orchestra and small chamber-music groups, something which I found hugely beneficial. I also started vocal lessons, and aural and theory classes, as well as continuing with my violin lessons. This allowed me to progress musically:I have learned a lot from my time here, not only about performing (both as a soloist and in ensemble) but about musical history and theory, something I don’t think I could have got anywhere else, and which I know I will miss next year.

I have also grown personally here; the Academy is a very welcoming environment, which I feel has helped me mature as a musician and a person, and allowed me to make friends for life. I would recommend the Academy to any young musician in Sheffield or nearby, who wants to progress above and beyond in terms of music, alongside like-minded friends.

I have a conditional offer (grades A* A A) to read English at Cambridge University next year, and I have been awarded a choral scholarship in the Selwyn College choir (directed by Sarah McDonald).


After a difficult time studying music at school, which left me debating if music was for me at all, I joined the Sheffield Music Academy and have never looked back.

The Academy gave me hope and showed where I can go with music and the inspiration not to give up. I was able to complete my A-Level music and continue on to university, which is something I have always wanted to do. 

Next year I will read music at Durham University, and although I don’t completely know what career I want to pursue, I know that I want to do something within music.