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Workshop Leader Biographies

Akshay 'Shay' Sharma

Shay has worked with Leicestershire Music for 5 years, planning, writing and delivering music technology schemes of work. Examples of Akshay's work include, GarageBand Live Loops using iPads and Beatbox, Looping & Singing for secondary schools. Shay is also a self-employed music education practitioner, with The Underground Creatives, gaining over 10 years of experience in community music, where he specialises in Music Technology, Rap & Beatbox, working with a range of cohorts from SEND groups to alternative education provisions.

Anna Wolloff

Anna is the SEND specialist Music Leader with Leicestershire Music, working with to provide training and support for staff and to design and deliver bespoke singing and instrumental projects with for young people.

Anna co-leads the Leicestershire Inclusive Choir and has worked with partnerships such as Soundabout, Changing Tracks, Digit Music and Open Orchestra to develop and deliver meaningful music projects to young people with SEND. She is also the MEHEM rep for Leicestershire, and most proudly, a mum to two wonderful girls – one of whom has a range of SEND. Anna is passionate about using her lived and professional experience to develop musical opportunities for children with SEND and to support other teachers and parents to do the same.

Anna also has 18 years of teaching experience as a primary school teacher and music lead in mainstream classrooms. She plays the flute and piano and enjoys watching live music as much as she can.

Beth Carr

Beth is the Team Leader for Primary Schools Advice and Inclusion, having joined Leicestershire Music in 2022. From gaining a Music Degree, she chose the path of becoming a Primary School teacher and has worked in Primary settings for 23 years, teaching the full range of curriculum subjects but always keeping music at the heart of her work and interests. Making time for music in a busy timetable is something she knows from first-hand experience but is a firm believer that it can (and should!) be done through simple strategies and practical tips.

Dr Anthony Anderson

Dr Anthony Anderson is Research Fellow in Music Education for Birmingham Music Education Research Group at Birmingham City University. He works on a wide variety of research projects in music education and supervises doctoral students at the university. He is fascinated by all things curriculum and has presented, written and published on this subject widely. He is a former Head of Music and Performing Arts in Secondary Schools and worked as a classroom music teacher for 16 years.

Dr Anthony Anderson - School of Education and Social Work | Birmingham City University (

Emily Barden

Emily Barden - Singer Songwriter, Vocal Leader and Workshop Facilitator

Emily currently works with a variety of organisations, leading workshops, projects and composing and co-creating large scale works that have been performed by thousands of young people. These include Sing Up, Trinity College, BrittenPears Arts, West Sussex Music, Norfolk Music Hub, The Philharmonia Orchestra, Blackheath Prep School, The Benedetti Foundation and many other Music Education Hubs and establishments around the country.

Inspired by artists including Joni Mitchell, Carol King, James Taylor and Paul McCartney, Emily is a contemporary pop/folk/country singer songwriter with a classic sound.

She writes songs with stories, influenced by everyday life and encounters, as well as the landscape around her. She performs as a solo artist, playing guitar and piano, as well as working with varying band line ups.

Emily regularly fronts her own original music project at gigs and festivals.

A love of harmony singing and a desire to bring contemporary, accessible choral singing to the masses has led Emily to establish several community choirs under the umbrella of West Sussex Sings. She is also one half of Umbria in Harmony, providing singing holidays in Italy and more recently, Northumbria where she grew up.

Emily runs workshops and courses for singers/songwriters as well as composition and song-writing training sessions for teachers, choral leaders and people working with young voices. Helping unlock the creativity of others and inspiring young people to find their own compositional voice is one of Emily's greatest joys.


Youtube Channel - EmyLouBardenMusic
Twitter - @bardenmusic
Instagram - @bardenem

Emma Burns

Emma is a Vocal Leader working closely with Nicki as part of the wider Singing Team at Leicestershire Music since 2018. She studied Music at Durham University and after several years of performing in small-scale theatre-in-education companies, she landed the role of Vi Petty in the UK tour / West End production of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.

Emma has performed on the P&O ship, 'Oriana' as well as at The Royal Albert Hall and now enjoys passing on her love of performing to young people. An accomplished pianist Emma also teaches piano to private pupils in North West Leicestershire.

She believes that encouraging singing in the early years is invaluable to a child's musical and academic development.

James Hellard

James has been a part of Leicestershire Music's Tech Team since Easter 2023, working on high profile projects such as a Digital Production scheme of work, contributing a Digital Audio Workstation section to Music Mark's "A Common Approach" document, and creating the Secondary iPad Unit 2 WCIT resource.

James has a BSc Honours degree in Creative Music and Sound Technology, a PGCE in Music Education and has worked as a secondary teacher for 14 years, collaborating on Trust Wide schemes of work and independently devising Contemporary Music and Music Technology curriculum resources.

James is a gigging bass guitarist and a composer/producer, releasing music online under 3 different pseudonyms.

Jayne Price

Jayne Price has recently retired from her role as Head of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Huddersfield. Jayne taught music for 15 years in secondary schools in Derbyshire and Leeds before joining the University as a Senior Lecturer in Music Education, teaching music across a wide range of primary and secondary initial teacher training and CPD programmes. She is Chair of the Kirklees Music Hub Advisory Forum and was a Regional Advisor for Music in the National Curriculum and a Specialist Subject Tutor for Music with the Open University.

Nicola Atkins

Nicki is the Team Leader for singing, she studied singing at The Royal Welsh College of Music before working both as a soloist and in professional choirs – her biggest claim to fame is recording the soundtrack for the film Stargate at Abbey Road Studios. After completing a PGCE Nicki taught for several years before becoming the singing lead at Warwickshire Music and then joining Leicestershire Music in 2017. She believes she has the dream job being able to work with young people and teachers to share her love of singing.

Sarah Barton-Wales

Sarah has been involved in Music for most of her life, starting back at school, where she learnt to play the clarinet and piano. It was at school that she discovered a passion for singing and musical theatre and went on to attend stage school and study for a degree in Performing Arts and Arts Management, and later a Masters in Teaching & Learning. Her research focus was on progression within music education with her work being published in The British Journal for Music Education. Her own progression route and career has been varied - performing in musical theatre, adding vocals to dance records, teaching and, for the last 12 years, as a Leader in Music Education.

Sarah currently works as Assistant Head for Leicestershire Music Hub, leading the delivery of The National Plan for Music Education. Her focus is on building meaningful partnerships to enable equity of access to music education for as many young people as possible. She also works as a freelance facilitator, currently heading up Partnerships Management for music charity Awards for Young Musicians. Sarah's work focuses on collaboration to leverage better outcomes for young people – whether that's raising more funds, adding value or working together to give more opportunities.



Tim Clay

Tim has lead Leicestershire Music's Music Technology and Contemporary Music team since starting with the organisation in September 2020. Tim leads on the organisation, quality and CPD delivery of the tech team's offers which currently include units on Turntablism, GarageBand Live Looping, Sampling and Beatboxing. In addition to innovating and growing future offers, Tim has expanded the music technology progression routes that schools and young people can access by composing a bespoke Turntablism Song Book to follow the Turntablism Unit, and a Foley and Sound Effects Unit to follow the Sampling Scheme. He has contributed to the revised 'A Common Approach' document and presented at a music technology-focussed Music Mark conference.

Tim has a degree in Music Composition and over 10 years' worth of experience within secondary schools. Throughout his teaching career, Tim has been a music teacher, head of music and head of performing arts.

Tim leads a community a cappella choir and when not treading the boards in musicals and pantomimes at his local theatre in Hinckley, has been the musical director for shows such as Young Frankenstein and The Wedding Singer.


  • Arts
    Leicestershire Music
    Music And Culture
    LCC 2


  • Arts
  • Leicestershire Music
  • LCC
  • Music And Culture
  • LCC 2