The wonderful music teachers we have at Fyling Hall

Welcome to this little blog about the wonderful music teachers we have at Fyling Hall. My name is Mrs Swain (known as Miss Johnson before the Summer Holidays) and I am the Head of Music at Fyling Hall School. We are very lucky to have such fantastic musicians teaching one to one lessons to the pupils at Fyling Hall and I wanted to create this blog to allow you to meet them and to get to know them. We have a range of lessons available, including: stringed instruments, brass instruments, woodwind instruments, guitar, drums, piano, ukulele, vocals and many more. If you have any questions regarding instrumental lessons available at the school, please email me on (although you may wish to try

Mrs Swain, Head of Music

So, a little bit about me. I have worked at Fyling Hall for three years now and joined a local function band ‘Back in the Habit’ the first month I arrived. This band is a 9-piece band which play all over North Yorkshire and actually included two of our peripatetic staff (Mr Whittaker and Mr Butterfield) and our French teacher (Ms Hornung). Take a little glimpse of the band performing earlier this Summer for my wedding in the video.

These are some fantastic musicians who I feel privileged to perform alongside. Many of you reading this will know this, but for the new pupils and parents, I am actually an ex-pupil of Fyling Hall, which was where I developed my love of music and was inspired by my teacher to study music at university. I studied at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) for four years, achieving a Foundation Degree in Performing Arts (Singing, Dancing and Acting) and then a BA (Hons) Music (achieved a first for both). I had the most amazing time and decided to stay in Liverpool for a further 3 years with my (now) husband and our dog Harley. I trained to be a teacher at Liverpool Hope University and taught in a couple of inner-city schools. When offered the chance to return to Fyling Hall to teach by my ex-music teacher (Sam Wormald), I couldn’t refuse and gladly relocated back to my home area.

Now that you know a little bit more about me, I would like to introduce you to our peripatetic instrumental teachers. I would like to start by giving a big Fyling Hall welcome to our newest addition to the wonderful music teachers we have at Fyling Hall. . .

Lesley Howarth – Brass teacher

Hi! I’m Lesley, and I’ll be joining the music staff to teach brass in school from this September.

I started playing from 8 years old, and was taught by various family members in Derbyshire. I went on to study Classical Trumpet at Birmingham School of Music, but always kept to my roots, playing in brass bands and wind bands too.

I’ve enjoyed playing in top UK venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and The Sage in Gateshead. Next on the list is to perform in the Rose Garden at FHS, which I’m very excited about!

I spent many years teaching and playing in the Midlands, before finally seeing the light and moving up to North Yorkshire 3 years ago. Now, I enjoy playing in local brass bands and the Whitby Jazz Orchestra.

I hope we’ll soon be able to have a big recruitment drive at FHS after the pandemic situation – it will be fantastic to get more brass players on board! Brass has so much to offer and can be quite versatile and yes, it is possible to practice quietly (if you need to!)

See you in September!

Sandra Stewart – Our piano and singing teacher

Click Ms Stewart’s image above to hear her rendition of “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Hi, my name is Sandra Stewart and I’ve been teaching singing and piano at Fyling Hall School for 16 years.

I began my professional singing career working for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in Scarborough, age 18.

I then joined a 6 piece showgroup called Images and spent the next few years touring Scandinavia, Europe, the Middle East and on cruise ships.

I left the band in 1990 to form a Duo with my husband and we spent 7 years as a speciality cabaret act working mainly on cruise ships- including a stint on Cunard’s iconic QE2.

I retrained as a music teacher after starting a family in the 90s, but I still enjoy singing professionally, and occasionally work as a session singer at Mirage Recording Studios.

I have an LLCM Diploma from the London College of Music, and a BA (Hons) degree.

Bob Butterfield – Our woodwind teacher

My name is Bob Butterfield and I teach woodwind at Fyling Hall.  Here is a short description of myself and a short history. I have been teaching and playing woodwind in the Scarborough Whitby area since 1980.  I have played professionally as a Flute, saxophone, and clarinet player. Since teaching began to take over more of my time I’ve continued to play in a semi-professional capacity on all three instruments.

My playing has covered –

  • Orchestral work – including Scarborough Spa Orchestra for a season.
  • Jazz in all its forms – recently playing at Scarborough Jazz club.
  • Folk – I’m a long-term active member of Whitby Folk week and have run workshops at various festivals.
  • Pop and Rock – I am currently a member of a successful local band and have been in many bands over the years.

Teaching wise –

The first 30 years of my career was as a freelance instrumental teacher working in the Private sector. I was at Fyling Hall in the 1980s as well as many other Private Schools. Eventually I became full time at Scarborough College. In 2004 I joined North Yorkshire Music Service as a teacher and was soon asked to join the Management team. In order to concentrate on teaching, I left the management team in 2016. I still though run Whitby Music Centre as I have been doing since 2007.

I am now working both freelance and for the Music Service as a teacher and re-joined Fyling Hall five years ago.

Even though I have been teaching and playing for forty years, I am as enthusiastic and eager to succeed as I was back in 1980.

Paul Whittaker – Our guitar teacher (also teaches, ukulele, bass and studio techniques)

I’ve been teaching guitar at Fyling Hall for the past seven years, and privately for too many years to count. I teach guitar, bass, ukulele, and recording studio techniques, and I’m always happy to help with composition and performance.

My background is as a session musician, and I’ve played on literally hundreds of singles and albums for artists such as Rick Astley, Bananarama, Matt Bianco, Dead or Alive, Maggie Reilly, Guesch Patti etc. I’ve toured Europe and America with various headline acts, and appeared on countless TV shows.

Fyling Hall’s music department is second to none, and I’m proud to work there. I look forward to the new term, and to meeting new students and helping them on their musical journeys.

Paul Tilley – Our drum teacher

I’m a musician/songwriter from Grangetown near Middlesbrough and I live in Scarborough. I mostly work solo with piano and guitar but I also play the drums in several bands. I teach music during the day and enjoy writing songs in my spare time. Some of my original music is on Spotify and iTunes if you fancy a listen. 

Phil Martin – Our strings teacher

I have been strings teacher at Fyling Hall since November 2015.

After graduating with a degree in English and Drama at the University of East Anglia, I decided to make music my life.

Living in Norwich and then London, I played and recorded with several bands. We toured extensively in the UK and Europe, with appearances on BBC radio One and on RTE (Irish national TV)

I now compose, record and perform my own music, sometimes with my band, The Age of Reason, and have released two solo albums

I have lived in Whitby since 2014.

I have taught violin and guitar (electric and acoustic) for over thirty years to all ages and levels, and continue to develop and extend my own knowledge and skills.

Fancy one to one lessons?

I hope you have enjoyed meeting and getting to know our wonderful music teachers at Fyling Hall. Once again, If you have any questions regarding instrumental lessons available, please email me on (although you may wish to try

Helena Swain, Head of Music