Music at Crossley Heath

Instrumental Lessons

Playing a musical instrument has many benefits including enhanced academic performance, the development of self-discipline, motor skills and problem-solving skills and the opportunity to meet other students. Most importantly, playing an instrument is an enjoyable experience which will stay with your child for life.

Interested in instrumental lessons?

To arrange one-to-one instrumental lessons at Crossley Heath for your child, or if you would like to find out more information please contact the teachers directly via email…

Piano – Matthew Watts

Woodwind/Piano – Scott Kitchen

Brass – Sandra Callaghan

Strings – Steve Summers

Electric/Acoustic Guitar – Brian Acton

Classical Guitar – Peter Cain

Drums – James Newsome

Singing – Ailsa Nicholson


If you have any general questions about how our instrumental lessons work at here at Crossley Heath please email and our Head of Music, Mr Nimmo, will be in touch.

Meet the team:


Sandra Callaghan

Sandra Callaghan started teaching at Crossley Heath just over six years ago. She was very excited to join such a friendly and enthusiastic school. Prior to this, Sandra had an extensive teaching career spanning over 25 years in the Rossendale and Accrington areas of Lancashire. She worked as both a classroom music specialist and an independent brass teacher in five senior schools. Sandra’s career in teaching was prompted by her love of playing the cornet as a teenager. She was given an instrument by her school, and she joined a local youth brass band. The challenge it presented was great and socially she made a lot of friends. She went on to study Band Musicianship at Salford University, then teacher training at Bath before accepting her first teaching position near Accrington.

Within the community, Sandra, volunteers as a musical director at Rossendale Valley sounds (a wind band which is open to all!). The band plays an extensive repertoire, ranging from popular film music, to original pieces for concert band. Sandra has taught many individual students to a high standard. Many of her students have carried on playing at university and beyond into adult life. She enjoys all aspects of teaching.

Scott Kitchen

Scott Kitchen studied music at the University of Huddersfield where he majored in performance and graduated in 2007. His degree gave him the opportunity to take part in a variety of different musical experiences. These included the history of music, performance skills, conducting and music film & media. During his degree, he received piano tuition from Keith Swallow and Clarinet tuition form Judith Clare. He was also a member of the University Wind Orchestra. After graduating, Scott began his career as an instrumental music teacher, specialising in piano and woodwind. He worked for Bradford Music & Arts Service for 10 years teaching individual, small group and whole class lessons as well as being involved in the music centre ensembles. In 2015, Scott started teaching at The Crossley Heath School and the following year he also began teaching with Musica Kirklees. All of his teaching is now focussed on individual and small group lessons where he enjoys getting to know his students and helping them to progress on their musical journeys. Scott teaches a wide range of musical styles in his lessons and regularly enters students for graded exams (if they choose to do so) where he holds a 100% pass rate with many students achieving merits and distinctions. Alongside his teaching, Scott is heavily involved in the amateur dramatics scene in Huddersfield. He is the Musical Director for two different societies: Huddersfield Light Opera Company and Longwood Theatre Productions who regularly put on large scale musical productions and an annual Pantomime at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.

Matthew Watts

Matthew Watts has more than 17 years of experience as a piano teacher. During this time he has helped hundreds of students to play the music that they want to play. He has a flourishing private practice as well as working in several excellent schools in Calderdale. Matthew grew up in a musical household and first learnt to play by ear before moving onto ABRSM grades and a degree in music from Leeds University. In recent years he has passed his DipABRSM and LRSM exams and is working towards the final FRSM qualification, specialising in Bach. As a teacher he encourages creativity and a love of all music genres alongside academic progression. He began working at Crossley Heath in 2019 and has helped more than 50 students pass over 150 exams. Outside of teaching he works with a DJ writing dance music, plays in a Jazz band, undertakes charity performances and has had his piano composition ‘Eat’ featured at the award winning Hayden Film Festival. Every year he runs an annual piano concert at the Square Chapel In Halifax, showcasing the talent of students across Calderdale.

Steve Summers

Steve Summers is a strings tutor and qualified music teacher. He has over fifteen years teaching experience and is a Director of Scavenger Labs which runs the Todmorden Makery. Through his educational company (Noisy Toys) he delivers workshops, shows, installations and activities themed around the science of sound, and building DIY instruments from e-waste. Steve is a multi-instrumentalist specialised in cello (acoustic & electric) and has performed at venues and events over the country. He is interested in experimentation and improvisation, using field recordings and synthesised sounds with traditional instruments, as well as playing a lot of Bach.

James Newsome

James Newsome studied Drums and Contemporary Music at ACM in Guildford and graduated in 2008. During his degree he learnt from many industry professionals and enjoyed being on the doorstep of London’s thriving music scene. After graduating he moved home to West Yorkshire where he established my own Drum Kit Tuition business, We Play Drums. He now has well over 10 years experience teaching and many of his earlier students are now working and making a living in the music industry. James teaches a broad range of genres and techniques in his lessons in addition to the graded exam syllabuses. Alongside his teaching, James is very active in the Music Industry with his band Wax-Tree-Cast who play up and down Britain at popular music venues and festivals. James also does regular session work both live and in the studio with UK Country Artist Emilia Quinn. He love the drums and finds that being so active in the industry gives him the passion and drive to inspire the next generation of drummers through his teaching.

Brian Acton

Brian Acton is a restlessly enthusiastic musician, composer, sound artist and educator. He moved from Belfast to Todmorden 20 years ago and he now considers Calderdale to be his home. Brian is an accomplished guitarist, a passionate singer and storyteller, a very slow pianist and a savage drummer. As an educator he hopes to nurture freedom of expression, coupled with technical skill and harmonic knowledge. He is a director of the music teachers’ co-op Music Makes You Ltd.

Brian has toured internationally with his own music and as a session guitarist. He performs festival and club gigs with his vintage swing band The Black Sheikhs, and he is the guitarist in the Calderdale Fantasy Orchestra.

As a composer, he creates music for a range of clients and, more recently, for his own company We Are Stems Ltd. This new work is focused on outdoor performance, collaboration, immersive audio and multi-speaker installation. The last three years have broadened his knowledge of electronic and experimental music.

Brian cycles a fixie and a hardtail mountain bike. He uses archery as an excuse to spend more time in the woods. Brian has a German wife and a hilarious daughter.


Ailsa Nicholson

Trained classically, Aisla Nicholson has sung on Radio 1, Radio 2, channel four, Italian TV, and in the Royal Festival Hall. Latterly, she began contemporary functional voice training, keeping abreast of developments in voice science through continuous professional development.

Ailsa qualified with a BA (Honours) in Popular Music and Recording in 2005. This led to a post graduate certificate in Music Education from the University of Roehampton.

Her focus during the last 15 years has been as a vocal coach and musical director for several choirs. Ailsa has continuously undertaken voice training with many leading vocal coaches from the UK and Europe in a variety of specialisms, including pop, jazz, developing young voices and musical theatre. As a choral director, her groups and singers have won awards and she has taken choirs to Italy, France and Germany.

Peter Cain

Peter Cain started teaching at Crossley Heath at the start of the summer term 2024. He has over 25 years experience teaching in schools and he has worked in both Calderdale, and Greater Manchester.
Graduating from Huddersfield University in 1996 with Honours in Performance, Peter has also continued a career as a concert guitarist, giving recitals throughout the country. Memorable recent
events have included an evening of chamber music with the Dolce string quartet in Portsmouth, a duet lunchtime concert at the House of Parliament Buildings and a local performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Paddock Orchestra in Brighouse. Beginning his musical life with recorders and percussion instruments, Peter moved to studying the
classical guitar at the age of 8. His first recollections are listening to the recordings of the great John Williams and Andres Segovia and being totally enthralled by their musicality and control of tone; elements which are very much a part of Peter’s own tutoring methods. Peter teaches privately and runs a monthly meeting for his adult students. The sessions include both ensemble work and opportunities to perform solo. The adults give an annual concert to friends and
family. Aside from teaching and performing he is also a published composer of classical guitar music and an editor and arranger of ensemble scores. Peter is also a professional tenor and sings as a soloist, specialising in Oratorio works. He is a regular chorister at Sheffield Cathedral.