We are very lucky at Funky Monkey to have a diverse and talented group of musicians bringing our classes to life. Read more about them here!
Ali Edwards, Director, Founder & Teacher
I launched Funky Monkey Keyboard Classes in 2003, as I had always been inspired to educate children not only in the art and discipline of learning an instrument, but also how to read and write their own music. The electronic keyboard seemed the perfect choice being an inexpensive, accessible instrument, with the added bonus of headphones to aid concentration within a group session.
My own musical career all began with a Casio keyboard, which in turn inspired me to take up the piano age 7, followed by the oboe age 11. After gaining Grade 8 on both instruments, I then auditioned successfully onto the specialist music course at Peter Symonds College, Winchester, and then again to Birmingham Conservatoire where I completed a BMus and MMus in music performance. This culminated in a place at the Rotterdam Conservatoire where I was lucky enough to study the oboe with the principal of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Upon returning, my private teaching practice built rapidly in London and it was this that motivated me to write my own set of books to encourage children to enjoy learning an instrument in a group environment. Now, the business takes up all my working time, alongside having a busy family of my own! I also run weekly piano lessons for children and grown ups and fun 'crash courses' for beginner adults, which often involves a lot of laughter, patience from both sides and occasionally a spot of 'dutch courage' for those extra nervous pupils!
VICTORIA - IPSWICH/SYDENHAM/STREATHAM
Victoria is principally a flautist and second study pianist and has a CV bursting with experience in various workshops and mime and music based activities throughout the UK.
She has an extremely busy schedule teaching in various schools during the day and is the longest serving member of the Funky Monkey team to date, having joined us right back in 2003! Her classes are consistently lively, engaging, always enjoyable and she has an excellent rapport with both pupils and parents (and incredible patience, I might add) She has seen endless pupils through our scheme and gleaned fantastic exam results through our Trinity Syllabus year upon year. She has now moved from London to Ipswich and is helping launch our classes here as well as returning to London to teach.
SYUNE (SYU) - CLAPHAM/HERNE HILL
Syune is a classically trained pianist with over 10 years of experience in music. She has been playing classical piano since the age of 6 and studied music theory and harmony at the Paul Jurjan Music School. Syune has a strong passion for the creative side of the music sector including music composing and songwriting, and for this she received a BMus(Hons) degree in Songwriting at The British and Irish Music Institute(BIMM).
Her 4-year experience in working with children includes keyboard/piano lessons, music workshops and piano accompaniment for music classes and choirs. Syune is also fluent in 4 languages: English, Russian, Latvian, and Armenian!
DAN - BALHAM/TOOTING BEC
Dan has been playing music for most of his life and will proudly tell you that keyboards are his main instrument! He passed his Grade 8 Piano with distinction in 2010, then went on to study at Goldsmiths College and graduated with a degree in Popular Music in 2014.
As a teacher, Dan teaches students of all abilities both at home and in schools. He has a wide age range of students - from 4 to 65! His passion for teaching music came from receiving great tuition when he was growing up, and now works hard to ensure his students understand and enjoy their lessons, connect with their instrument and get the most out of music.
As a performer, Dan plays keyboards in many different bands and projects. He enjoys playing all styles of music, including rock, jazz, blues, pop and theatre music and is currently working on a new single with his Glam-Pop band Showboy!
CATRIONA (CAT) - EAST DULWICH
Cat is currently studying postgraduate music performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. She has a long history of performing on flute, piano and harp, reaching the UK Finals of the 2010 Rotary Young Musician Competition and performing for HM The Queen. She then went on to read Music at University College, Oxford, and achieved a PGCE and Master’s in Music Education at Magdalene College, Cambridge. She received instrumental and choral awards at both institutions. Catriona has several years of full-time teaching experience, helping students with the keyboard, ukulele and a range of other instruments, so is a perfect asset to the Funky Monkey Team!
JACK - BLACKHEATH
Jack has always experienced a strong connection with music. He started playing drums at four years old and has been playing the piano since the age of nine, taking ABRSM classical piano and music theory grades before studying jazz. He has plenty of performance and teaching experience, having taught at music schools and given regular private one to one lessons to children, teenagers and adults. He appreciates and has played a wide range of musical styles, from classical to pop/rock, funk, soul and of course jazz!
Jack graduated from a BA (Hons) Degree in Jazz with first class honours and the highest score in his year. He has graduated from the MMus Jazz Master’s course at Trinity Laban in London with distinction.
RACHEL - SEVENOAKS
Rachel has been playing the piano since she was 4 years old, and went on to study music at York University, where her first study was piano and her second study was singing. After graduating she had a successful career in arts PR, working as the PR Manager of English National Ballet whist in her spare time continuing her love of music and performing. This included being a regular performer in the amateur theatre scene around London, both performing and directing as well as singing in several London choirs.
Rachel is now focusing on piano and keyboard teaching and is building up a student base in the Sevenoaks area. In her spare time she sings with the Bach Choir, as well as working with Holst Singers as their Marketing Manager.