A Music School in the

Heart of Reading

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About Us

At Hickies Music School in Reading we teach over two hundred students a week from all across Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our passionate and dedicated team of music tutors cover a broad range of instruments including guitar, piano, violin and woodwind lessons. With the experience of our teachers, students of all ages and abilities are welcome from young maestros to seasoned musicians. All of our teaching rooms are furnished with instruments for students to use during lessons.

Lessons & Booking

To get started we offer all students a free half hour trial lesson. After your free trial you can book in regular weekly sessions at a fixed day and time, or you can book in ad-hoc lessons if your schedule changes regularly. The cost of lessons if £17 per 30 minutes, for regular bookings this is paid via a monthly direct debit of £68.00. For more information please see our terms and conditions or email: musicschool@hickies.co.uk

Key Points

No Contract & Flexible Cancellations

You can stop lessons at any point, we will cancel your direct debit and credit you any balance due. You can cancel individual lessons without being charged as long as one working days notice is provided.

Lessons Run All Year

Because our music school is both for adults and children, our music school is available all year around, including major school holidays.

Music Rooms Are Furnished

Our music rooms are kitted out with instruments for students to use so you don’t need to worry about buying your own straight away, we also rent out instruments so you can practice at home without having to commit to a purchase.

One To One Lessons

Our lessons are taught on a personal, one to one basis. At our school you get a personalised learning experience where your teacher will tailor lessons to your needs. Be it preparing for grades with an exam board or simply to learn some of your favourite songs.

Katherine Chu


Instrument Taught:

  • Piano (Grades 1 – 8, ATCL)
  • Music Theory (Grade 1-8)


  • ATCL piano recital (Trinity college)
  • Grade 8 piano with merit (ABRSM)
  • Grade 8 Music Theory (ABRSM)


  • Over 15 years experience as a private tutor teaching piano and theory.
  • Group teaching to primary and secondary school children as well as early years
  • Planning group and solo performances
  • Fluent in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
  • Teaching Chinese Writing

Katherine started learning piano when she was 12 and with the help of her tutor, a retired professor of the Beijing Music University, she gained her ABRSM grade 8 qualification within 7 years. Shortly after passing her grade 8 Katherine went on to achieve her ATCL Piano Recital Diploma with Trinity College as well as her ABRSM grade 8 music theory.

Alongside her piano teaching Katherine has also taught in schools running arts and craft groups for young children, continuing to help children, and adults discover their creative side is a big passion of Katherine's.

Steve Horton

Piano & Trumpet

Instruments Taught

  • Piano (Grades 1 - 8)
  • Trumpet (Grades 1 - 8)


  • B.A in Music from London University (First study Piano, second study Trumpet)
  • Other instruments played – Guitar, Bass, Saxophone


  • Several years as a keyboard player in Rock bands during the late 1970s
  • Piano – converted from 2nd study to 1st study during time at University and has been teaching piano on and off since then.
  • Played Trumpet in many bands, orchestras and ensembles over the years and now play for the Maidenhead Concert Band and the Windsor Community Orchestra.


Stephen taught piano (and some Theory) to adults and children in his early 20s, and has recently returned to Piano teaching as his time working as an IT consultant comes to an end.

Stephen started to play the Trumpet at secondary school, but then his interest in Piano repertoire was fired by discovering the music of Chopin during his early teens and whilst studying for “O” level Music. Stephen went on to have Piano lessons from Virginia Black, who was at the time Professor of Harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music. Stephen’s approach to teaching (one of highly disciplined technical development), learned during his lessons with Giny Black, is what he aims to pass on to his own students.

Stephen’s musical interests are broad, and include Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic Piano repertoire, Rock and Blues music. He has recently started to learn the Tenor Saxophone and so can easily empathize with students starting to learn an instrument.

Mark Putka

Piano & Keyboard

Instruments Taught

  • Piano (Grades 1 - 8+)
  • Keyboard (Grade 1 - 8+)
  • Theory (Grades 1 - 8+)


  • Licentiate Diploma (Piano)
  • PGCE Training


  • 20+ years teaching experience


Mark graduated from the London College of Music - GLCM, where he also gained his Licentiate diploma - LLCM (piano). After college Mark was employed at the Northampton Music School, teaching piano and music theory. Later, he decided to undertake a PGCE at the University of Reading and subsequently became a class music teacher in Berkshire. More recently he undertook training with the Yamaha Music School (keyboard). For the past several years he has been with Hickies Music School, teaching piano, keyboard and music theory. Mark now has over 20 years experience and is a dedicated teacher, with a proven track record of exam successes with a wide age range of students.

Melanie Le Breuilly


Instruments Taught

  • Violin (Beginner - Grade 7)
  • Piano (Beginner - Grade 5)
  • Music Theory (Beginner - Grade 5)


  • Violin Grade 8 Distinction (ABRSM)
  • Piano Grade 8 Distinction (ABRSM)
  • Music Theory Grade 8 Distinction (ABRSM)
  • Dalcroze Eurhythmics Commended Level 4 (The Dalcroze Society)


  • 14 years orchestral and string quartet performance
  • 4 years teaching violin, piano & theory


Mel is a violin and piano teacher based in Wokingham, who loves one-to-one teaching as well as working with ensembles. She is a committee member and string section assistant at Reading Youth Orchestra, helps coach young string players at Henley Music School, and organises annual Henley-Leichlingen music orchestral exchanges. Mel is Secretary of the Eureka! Music Foundation which creates opportunities for local music education, performance and fundraising. She has been a violinist with the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 10 years, and also plays at weddings and other functions as part of a local string quartet.


"Melanie Le Breuilly is teaching not only my twelve year old son, but also myself. I highly recommend her as a violin teacher. Indeed I opted to take lessons from her because I was so impressed with the way she was teaching my son. Her manner is warm, friendly and bright, and her lessons are a highlight of the week for both of us. She is a careful and intelligent teacher, able to spot specific areas to improve technique and then working with the student to achieve this. She is patient, understands her students well, and has a great sense of fun. Her learning style is very inclusive - she works with her students to find playing solutions that suit the particular individual, but at the same time has the experience and knowledge that enables her to offer excellent advice. We are both enjoying making progress with her, and really appreciate her skilled tuition. Thanks, Mel!" - Emma Merchant

"My daughter has been learning Piano with Mel for over an year now. Her approach to teaching is very friendly and effective. Her patient and tailored approach towards teaching has benefited my daughter a lot. I have seen a good progress in my daughter's piano playing skills. I have already recommended Mel to a lot of our friends, who too have their children enrolled with her and wouldn't hesitate to continue recommending her." - Sangeetha Gopal

Suzanne Penrose

Violin & Piano

Instruments Taught

  • Violin: Grade 1 -8+
  • Piano: Grades 1 - 5
  • Theory: Grades 1 - 5


  • Grade 8 Violin
  • Grade 6 Piano
  • Grade 5 Theory
  • ALCM and LLCM Teaching Diplomas


  • 20+ years performance
  • orchestral performace
  • ensemble playing
  • 20+ years teaching


Suzanne is a qualified and experienced violin teacher. Having started learning piano and violin at an early age, she then went on to playing the violin in various orchestras (for example Reading and Berkshire Youth) and ensembles in Berkshire (including several solo performances) which gave regular concerts, and at other venues further afield, such as Portsmouth and Liverpool cathedrals, and a classical concert in The Caves of Gibraltar, with amazing acoustics!

Suzanne also played the violin in her family’s band which performed in ceilidhs, barn dances and weddings. She then undertook a 3 year full time professional music course at the London College of Music where she gained the LLCM qualification (Licentiate Diploma).

After her studies Suzanne began her career teaching both privately and in schools, and to this day she has gained a number of loyal students. Her main styles and genres are classical, modern and folk music. Her previous experience includes various orchestral (for example Reading symphony) and ensemble playing as well event performance, which is ongoing.

Suzanne teaches all age groups, levels and abilities in a relaxed and friendly environment and will tailor different teaching methods to each individual student according to their musical interests, whether it be preparing for grades and exams or just enjoying their instrument.


“have only been learning Violin for a few months with Suzanne but I already feel as though I have come a long way since the beginning. I always look forward to lessons because Suzanne is so enthusiastic which encourages me to practice more and improve faster. You can really choose what you want to learn and set your own pace as well which I think is really important. I have had a joyful and productive learning experience so far and look forward to continuing.” - Izabel Coleman-Wood - Adult Violin Student

“My son's violin's skills have improved since Suzanne has been teaching him this year. Not only is she patient and encouraging with the child, she is very engaging with parents too. She is very reliable and a dedicated teacher. I find her very approachable and appreciate that she is always happy to make the time to discuss any queries you may have” - Misook McDonald (Parent of 9 year old violin student)

Angus Parkin

Guitar & Ukulele

Instruments Taught

  • Guitar - beginner to grade 8
  • Ukulele - beginner to intermediate


  • BMus 1st Class Honours Performance Degree (Academy of Contemporary Music)


  • 4 Years of Professional Performance
  • 2 Years of Teaching


Angus is freelance musician who has recently completed his performance degree at the Academy of Contemporary Music studying under Jon Bishop, Mike Goodman, Michael Casswell and Giorgio Serci. He has had multiple years of live experience including playing with Paul Gilbert, Seven Decades, both Sam and Jo Brown and his own band Lonely Ocean. Angus has also worked in multiple function bands to help widen his experience and understanding of different genres. He’s also been lucky enough to work in some of the best studios in the country, including British Grove Studios and Metropolis Studios.

Many tutors teach with the mentality of 'correct and incorrect'. This can be frustrating and overwhelming and can put students off at any stage of their musical journey. By encouraging students to overcome their inhibitions and be totally at ease with a guitar, Angus draws out the creative musical language that every student has within them. Individual expression is backed up with solid teaching of technique and theory so that the student builds knowledge with confidence and unique personality. He covers many styles, from Rock to Jazz and has experience teaching a range students at different levels.


“Angus has always been very patient, showing me different ways to learn things and always going at a pace I’m comfortable with. He actually was the inspiration for me in picking up a guitar (having been a bassist beforehand) and continues to be a vital aid in my guitar playing journey.” - Rory Hatfield

“I met Angus while I was studying Audio Production at ACM, helping me with a range of topics from applied technical studies to improvisation. He explains things very clearly and concisely, keeping it to the point. These are important traits in a teacher to ensure one doesn't get overwhelmed when facing these challenges.” - Alex Hollingsworth

Ali Poon

Guitar & Bass

Instruments Taught

  • Electric Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Bass Guitar


  • Trinity Rock School (Today's RSL) Guitar - Grade 8
  • ABRSM Music Theory - Grade 5
  • BMus in Popular Music Performance


Having had lessons in piano, violin and the Chinese classical Erhu, it wasn't until Ali discovered the guitar at 14 that his journey in music began. Ali went on to study at the Academy of Contemporary Music, receiving tutelage from industry guitarists such as Giorgio Serci, Nic Meier, and Mike Goodman.

As a teacher, Ali's lessons have a heavy focus on physical conditioning and technique, especially in the early stage. In other words, it is most important to get your fingers moving!

Ali has taught guitar, bass, and music theory, as well as creating arrangements for his acoustic guitar duo With Ether sine 2011.

Michael Semark

Guitar & Ukulele

Instruments Taught:

  • Guitar Electric & Acoustic - Beginner to grade 8 and beyond
  • Ukulele - Beginner to intermediate


  • 4 years of teaching guitar & music theory
  • 2 years of composition in bands and solo

Mike started learning music at home, listening in on his brothers’ piano lessons and copying ideas, before moving on to learning alto saxophone in school. A few years later Mike picked up guitar, and has not since learned to put it down.

Mike studied with expert classical guitarist Michael Bonner while at university in Canterbury, learning music theory from the ground up in tandem with classical as well as rock guitar technique. Bonner is currently writing a PhD on the ergonomics of playing classical guitar, which has influenced Mike's teaching style significantly.

Mike’s lessons have a focus on technique and ensuring body posture is comfortable, as well as making sure that students are actively learning songs and sections that are fun and will help them develop their own musical style.

Mike also can teach a deeper understanding of music and musical concepts by weaving music theory into lessons in an understandable and progressive manner. Mike has been teaching guitar and ukulele since 2016, and writing and recording music at home and with bands since 2019.

Russell Clements

Guitar, Bass & Ukulele

Instruments Taught

  • Guitar (grade 1 - 8+)
  • Bass (grade 1 -5)
  • Ukulele (beginner - intermediate)


  • National diploma in popular music performance (triple distinction)
  • Higher diploma in popular music performance
  • Bachelors degree in music performance and theory
  • Grade 6 music theory
  • Member of RGT (registry of guitar tutors)


  • 10+ years performing experience
  • 7 years of teaching experience


Russell Clements is a passionate and dedicated musician, and tutor who works within the Reading and Oxfordshire areas.

Russ’s musical journey began in his early teens when he tried to emulate, capture and understand the sound of the great guitar heroes of the past. After many years of practice and performance on the local stage Russ was accepted into a music college, and from there his life changed forever. After obtaining his Higher Diploma Russ then moved to West London to study his craft further, and after another 3 years he achieved a BMus degree in Music with full honours.

Now Russ hops between teaching all genres of music, both classical and contemporary inc: Rock, Pop, Blues, Funk, Folk, Metal, Jazz, Trip Hop and many others. Russ adores teaching, and has acquired a wide variety of students encompassing many different ages and abilities, from absolute beginners to seasoned performers. Russ will help you achieve your musical goals, whether its obtaining a new grade, learning a tricky piece or beginning to improvise, and he will do so in a relaxed, friendly way, where in his teaching environment there is no such thing as a silly question.

In addition to teaching Russ thrives on live shows and has performed at prestigious venues such as the Hammersmith Apollo theatre. He has also been invited to play demonstration events at the Merseyside, Liverpool and Birmingham guitar shows on behalf of various musical retailers and manufacturers.


“I have learned more with Russell Clements in one session than in 30 years on my own.” - Ian Walker (Guitar Student)

“Russ Is patient, reliable & knowledgeable & his enthusiasm for his subject is infectious.” - Bob Johnson (Guitar Student)



Q: What happens if I need to cancel a lesson?

A: Simply call us on 01189 575 771 or email musicschool@hickies.co.uk. Lessons that are cancelled 24 hours before their start time are carried forward without charge. Students are liable for payment of lessons if cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.

Q: Are group lessons an available option?

A: Yes they are, so whether you would like music lessons as a family or as a group of friends these options are available, for more details please contact us.

Q: Is parking available at Hickies?

A: Due to our central location on Friar Street we do not have on-site parking. Both the Oracle & Queens Road car parks are a short walk away and we are easily reachable by public transport, Reading station is a 1 minute walk away and we have local bus routes on our doorstep.

Q: When is the music school open?

A: Our lessons run from 10:00am until later into the evening, seven days a week.

Q: My work hours change frequently, do I have to have a lesson at the same time every week?

A: Not at all, we completely understand that some students need to work different hours in a week. Contact us and tell us your situation, we will be able to work out a schedule that suits you best.

Q: Are there toilet facilities on site?

A: Yes, we have toilet facilities on site.

Q: Disabled Access?

A: Although our designated music rooms are accessed via stairs if you require ground floor access please get in touch and we will run through some options. Due to the age and layout of the building we do not have a lift system in place.

Privacy Policy

Effective as of 20/12/2023

1. Introduction

Welcome to Hickies Music School. Your privacy is paramount to us. We're dedicated to safeguarding your personal data and processing it in strict adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), UK Data Protection Act 2018, and other relevant UK privacy laws.

2. Data Processing Overview

At Hickies Music School, we process your personal data to manage your enrolment, provide access to music education services, communicate effectively, and enhance our service delivery. We engage with trusted third-party service providers as necessary, ensuring they uphold similar standards of data protection.

3. Scope of Policy

This policy governs the handling of personal data collected via hickiesmusicschool.co.uk and explains your rights under current data protection legislation.

4. Types of Data Collected

In delivering our music education services, we collect:

5. Data Processing and Legal Grounds

Your data is processed for:

6. Consent Management and Direct Marketing

You may withdraw consent at any point. For direct marketing, we may rely on our legitimate interest, providing you with an opt-out option.

7. Your Privacy Rights

You hold the rights to request access, correction, erasure, or restriction of your data processing, as well as data portability. You may also object to certain processing activities.

8. Contact Information

For inquiries or exercising your rights, please contact us at musicschool@hickies.co.uk.

9. Data Controllers and Disclosures

Data Controller: Hickies Music School. We may share your data with affiliated entities and specific third-party agents strictly for operational purposes, under stringent data protection agreements.

10. Data Retention Periods

11. Language and Translations

The governing version of this policy is in English. Any translations are provided for convenience.

12. Cookie Usage

Our website uses cookies for essential functionality and analytical purposes. Cookie preferences can be managed through your browser settings.

13. Data Sharing

Your personal data may be shared with necessary partners for payment processing and enhancing our service delivery, compliant with this policy.

Terms & Conditions for our Music School

Weekly / Fortnightly Music Lessons:

If you are unable to commit to regular lessons and need to be more flexible than the terms below, we also offer an ad-hoc option, please contact Vanessa on 0118 957 5771 for more details.

A maximum of 8 cancellations within a 12 month period will be allowed without incurring a charge. This allowance is in addition to dates cancelled by the teacher. If you exceed this allowance then additional cancellations will be charged at the full rate. (the 12 month period will run 1st September – 31st August each year)

Cancellations (within the above allowance) or alterations must be made one working day in advance to carry the payment forward (Sundays and bank holidays are not classed as working days). All lessons cancelled on the day or not attended will be charged for. This includes reasons such as short term illness, transport delays etc.

Lessons will be running on bank holidays unless you receive notification from us stating differently.

Teachers are not responsible for the booking schedule, all cancellations must be made officially through shop staff, either in store or via phone to 0118 957 5771 during hours of 09:45 -17:45.

All cancellations will be confirmed via email, if you have do not receive an email then no cancellation has been made and you will still be charged for the lesson/s

Payments are to be made in blocks of 4 unless arranged differently with admin. It is the students (or parents) responsibility to make a payment every 4 lessons either in store or via phone. Teachers / admin will issue reminders where possible.

The lesson booking will automatically continue after the current payment expires, attendance will be expected every week even if no advance payment has been made.

Lessons run all year round including school holidays, if you do not wish to attend lessons during the holidays please make sure you inform Hickies of the exact cancellation dates and have received confirmation email. If you do not inform us of specific dates attendance will be expected every week.

In situations where Hickies needs to make cancellations (i.e teacher away due to holiday or sickness) we will provide as much notice as possible and inform all students via phone or email. Students are not charged for lessons cancelled by Hickies and payments / bookings will automatically roll over to the following week.

Where applicable, It is the parent or guardians responsibility to bring and collect pupils at the start / end of each lesson. Hickies takes no responsibility for the pupil before or after the designated lesson slot.