Alan Melly

September this year saw the loss of one of the most inspirational characters from my past. We all have people that we look up to and admire and musically  Alan Melly was that chap for me. At junior school I had witnessed Alan in his element, entertaining me and my fellow schoolmates with a woodwind demonstration accompanied by Eddie Moors Senior the local music shop owner and well known entrepreneur. Alan wowed us all with a rendition of “pop-corn”, which included slap-tongue and other amazing effects. He showed us what a musical note looked like by firing a ping-pong ball out of the clarinet and he put the clarinet to bed by playing it piece by piece, slowly disassembling it whilst playing the Brahms Lullaby. It was this sense of humour and love of music that went on to inspire thousands of Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute players to achieve great things. This aside he was a great musician who performed with so many well known bands and musicians including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Palm Court Theatre Orchestra, The Dudley More Trio (on TV) and so many more that I would be here all day listing them. I was fortunate enough before the first lock-down to catch up with Alan in his favourite coffee shop; The Fleur De Lis in Christchurch. What was going to be a quick half-hour turned into 2 hours of reminiscing of the old days. He had also given me the thumbs up with my creation – The Red Fez Orchestra and came to see the band twice. This was high praise indeed and meant a lot to me and other members of the band. Alan’s passing marks the end of an era and I only hope that I myself can leave such a lasting impression as a musician and teacher for the next generation.

Musical Chairs Summer School 2022

I am happy to be looking after the saxophones on the Musical Chairs Summer School this July 2022.

This will be the 12th year for MCSS and my second year teaching the saxes on the course. It is open to all instrumentalists and all ages – Grade 3+ standard. What a great sound the orchestra made last year! The dates are July 26th – 29th July and each day runs from 10am – 4pm at St Mark’s Church in West Parley, Ferndown BH22 8EW.

To book on to the course or for more information call Joanna Welsh 07976 882818 or visit

May 2022 ABRSM Results

May 2022 ABRSM Examination Results

Well done to the 7 candidates that took an ABRSM exam this term. There were 7 entries.

Congratulations to 

George Grade 2 Jazz Trumpet – Merit 127

Brian Grade 6 Trumpet – Distinction 135

Oriana Grade 6 Flute – Pass 113

Felix Grade 3 Jazz Alto Sax – Distinction 130

Tilda Grade 5 Jazz Flute – Merit 127

Adam Grade 8 Alto Sax – Distinction 137

Noah Grade 5 Jazz Clarinet – Distinction 130

Note – I have not begun teaching the trumpet as such 😉 , but have helped these candidates with improvisation and jazz work. I will leave the dark art of brass playing to someone else.

Jay MetCalf Bettersax Workshop

James Rawlinson & Jay Metcalf
James Rawlinson & Jay Metcalf

I was honoured to work with Jay Metcalf of YouTube fame on May 13-15th. Jay is well known for his well presented, easy to understand tutorials as well as his great reviews of new products. A lot of topics were covered over the weekend, including important fundamentals such as long-tones, pentatonic improvisation, dispensing with the written music, overtones and the importance of listening.

I also got the chance to try some of the SYOS 3D printed mouthpieces. Pauline from SYOS was incredibly helpful and I will be visiting their website to investigate further As you can see I was being very serious in the photo and not messing about at all!

Pauline Eveno and James Rawlinson
Pauline Eveno & James Rawlinson

D’addario reeds and mouthpieces were also in attendance and I tried one of the new VENN synthetic tenor saxophone reeds. I have been slightly sceptical up to this point of the plastic reeds on offer on the market but was very pleasantly surprised to find the new VENN reeds were great! I usually use a strength 3 Vandoren Blue box tenor reed and was advised by Lucy from D’addario to try a 2.5 VENN. I haven’t stopped using it since. Well done D’addario, I know it’s been 6 years in the making but it’s been worth the wait.

Click here for more information

Venn Reeds
Venn Reeds

A big thank you must also go to Vandoren, Yanagisawa Saxophones UK, Key Leaves,, Jody Jazz, Rovner products and Legere Reeds who all sponsored the event.