Sheffield's Holistic Music Educators
David Milsom, BMus, MMus, PhD, FHEA, FISM Partner
Violin & Viola
David Milsom is a native of Sheffield. After beginning a degree in History at the university in 1992, he swiftly changed to become a music student, gaining a 1st class degree in 1995, an MMus in 1996, and a PhD in 2000. During his studies he won academic and performance prizes at undergraduate level, and funding for his postgraduate research from the British Academy. Between 2000 and 2006 David gained a variety of smaller research awards, including a British Academy grant to complete his first major monograph, 'Theory and Practice in Late Nineteenth-Century Violin Performance' (Ashgate, 2003), and an Edison Fellowship at the British Library in
2003 (for study of early sound recordings). He was made a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Leeds in 2005, and from 2006 to 2009 held a Research Fellowship there, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, in which he engaged in a large, ground-breaking project to record nineteenth-century chamber repertoire in experimental historical styles. Award of a further research contract at Leeds (also AHRC-funded) was interrupted in January 2010 by his appointment as lecturer in music at the University of Huddersfield, where his activities include teaching and examining in performance and musicology, and conducting the university's symphony and string orchestras. David has published widely, and is always engaged in new research, writing and performing. In 2014 he published a box-set for Naxos: 'A-Z of String Players' that includes biographical surveys of 300 string players. 2020 sees the publication of a new major work: Romantic Violin Performing Practices, a Handbook with Boydell & Brewer. He gives regular recitals in a variety of contexts, most notably at present with his Meiningen Ensemble, which specialises in performing nineteenth-century chamber music in ‘historically-informed’ ways.
David has been a prolific and dedicated violin and viola teacher in Sheffield since taking his first pupils in 1993. From 2001 to 2006 he also taught at Mount St Mary’s College and Barlborough Hall School, and since September 2020 has been a visiting violin/viola tutor at Hill House in Doncaster.
Ruth Milsom, BMus, MISM Partner
Piano, Theory, Aural, Accompaniment
Ruth grew up in Crawley and was fortunate enough to gain a place at the West Sussex Music Centre where she received excellent all-round music tuition. It is this educational experience, which encompassed instrumental lessons, ensembles and orchestras, theory and aural coaching, and choral training (in the County Girls' Choir), that has inspired Ruth to develop a holistic approach in her own teaching methods.
As well as her first instrument (piano), Ruth has learned the violin to Grade 7 standard and enjoys playing in amateur ensembles. She also achieved Grade 8 on the organ as a student and plays occasionally at local churches. More recently she has taken singing tuition with colleagues Peter Taylor and David Watkin-Holmes, achieving Grade 8 in 2012.
Since graduating from Sheffield University Ruth has taught privately for 30 years, nurturing an established
reputation in the Sheffield area. She is a visiting piano teacher at Hill House School, Doncaster, and also a highly experienced accompanist, working regularly in this capacity in ABRSM and Trinity-Guildhall exams, being in high demand by a number of local instrumental teachers. Although piano lessons for children form the backbone of Ruth's teaching activities, she also specialises in Theory and Aural, and has enjoys working with adults who have returned to learning the piano to reach an advanced level of proficiency.
From a family full of musicians and librarians, it is no surprise that Ruth is an enthusiast for knowledge, academic writing and good grammar - skills which she employs in a professional capacity as a freelance music typesetter, researcher, copy-editor and proofreader.
In May 2021 Ruth was elected as a Local Councillor and represents Crookes & Crosspool ward on Sheffield City Council.
Ruth's favourite pastimes include choral singing with the Sheffield Chamber Choir, hiking, foreign languages and travel, birdwatching, cooking proper food, and sharing these enthusiasms with friends.
David Watkin-Holmes Associate
LWCMD, DPSM, CELTA, PGCertEd, FISM, FHEA
Voice (Classical, Crossover, Musical Theatre, Opera, Oratorio, ABRSM, LCM, TCL)
David Watkin-Holmes originates from Herefordshire and sang with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain before studying music performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he was awarded the St Clare Barfield Rose Bowl for Operatic Distinction. He was also a scholar in the Samling Artist Programme with Sir Thomas Allen, as well as a finalist in the Sir Geraint Evans Memorial Competition and winner of the Mario Lanza Opera Competition.
He studied traditional Italian School bel canto as well as modern Estill Voice Training methods with two of the country's foremost exponents, Neil Howlett and Paul Farrington respectively.
As a teacher David specialises in classical, crossover and musical theatre styles.
As a performer his repertory is wide-ranging and includes the premieres of several dramatic works with recordings for the Mirasound Klassiek, Naxos Marco Polo and Priory Records labels. Other notable performances are for RTÉ Radio with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Wexford Festival Opera and Co-Opera Ireland, the Fontys and Koninklijk Conservatoria and at the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg and Koninklijke Schouwburg in the Netherlands, European Chamber Opera, Mid Wales Opera (five seasons), and several with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and English National Opera Studio in the UK.
David is a Fellow of both the Higher Education Academy and the Incorporated Society of Musicians, as well as a member of the British Voice Association. In addition to his private teaching practice he is a Senior Lecturer in Voice at the Leeds Conservatoire, an External Examiner and Lecturer for the University of Huddersfield, and formerly Head of Singing at the Birmingham School of Acting.
Robert Webb, MA (Cantab) Associate
Piano, Theory, Aural, Accompaniment
Robert Webb was born and brought up in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, where he joined the church choir at the age of seven and then later learned to play the organ. He went to Selwyn College Cambridge with a Choral Scholarship where he read law and was subsequently Assistant Organist at the University Church of St Mary the Great. After graduating he qualified as a solicitor, working in Cambridge for a few years until the musical call drowned out any desire to be a lawyer and he moved to Oxford to pursue music full time. Whilst there he was Director of Music at several churches, and also directed the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church Cathedral.
Robert moved back to his native Yorkshire in 2003 to take up the post of Director of Music at St John’s Ranmoor, a post he held until 2010. He conducts several choirs: the Sheffield Chamber Choir, the Sterndale Singers, Bel Canto Choir based in Swinton, the Danensian Choir and until recently was Musical Director of Sheffield City Opera. He has also been the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Education and Training Officer for the Royal School of Church Music. As well as Robert’s busy teaching practice within the Milsom School of Music he is also on the staff of Hill House School, Doncaster, where he is one of the principal accompanists and teaches voice and piano.