During Mini Maestros sessions we use a combination of rhymes, unaccompanied singing and exposure to many different music styles but most importantly is the clean sound we use for our songs nurtured by our resident Pianist Phil Sykes. Phil has been creating piano tracks for us since the beginning and is responsible for the majority of music used each week. It has always been my goal to generate our own original music used within the classes and in September 2011 we were very lucky to have Anna Bates join us as in house composer. Since then she has written several songs which have been received very well each time they’ve been used. These include the Mini Maestros Anthem which is playing on the website. Watch this space for news of a brand new CD to be launched later in the year with the original material included to continue the fun music making at home. – Jo
Anna has been writing, performing and recording music for over two decades, taking up guitar, mandolin and piano as a child. She has worked across many different genres including rock, folk, country, pop and children’s music. Anna started out writing folk music as a solo performer throughout the north of England. At university she formed ‘The Infidels’, writing, performing and producing two albums. Whilst writing for this band she received a ‘Brit Album of the Month’ award from the BCMA and a ‘Certificate Of Outstanding Achievement’ from the Unisong International Song Contest.
Since then Anna has written and recorded with a number of Yorkshire acts, including DollsHouse, Sam Riley and The Hard Way. She is now one half of acoustic duo ‘Pegging Leaves’ as well as performing with he band ‘Doghouse Daisies’.
She joined Mini Maestros in 2011 writing original material for the classes and producing the 1st set of album by Jo Lambert. It was at this time Anna also set up her own business offering original material to mark important events such as weddings (www.asongforyouroccasion.moonfuit.com). She will begin teaching classes from Summer 2012 and continue to provide material for all age groups.
Phil started playing the piano at a very early age and began lessons at the age of 7. He was then classically trained to Grade 8 before going on to Study a degree in Popular Music and Recording at Salford University. Phil has always had an interest in musical theatre performing in shows such as Oliver, GiGi, The Dancing Years, Follies and Grand Hotel at Buxton Opera House. He then went on to be Musical Director of Sweet Charity and Godspell.
Phil now continues his musical career playing in and around Manchester focusing on Soul and Motown and can lay claim to launching the UK’s first 10 piece Stevie Wonder tribute band with a headlining performance at the Lowry Centre. His contribution here was both in a performance and Musical Director capacity.
When Phil’s eldest sister Jo started Mini Maestros he became an integral part of the planning process building up a huge library of songs that are used daily amongst all of the lesson plans, Phil says,
“Mini Maestros has always been an interesting and challenging project, and one that I continue to enjoy.”