UCC | School of Music


School of Music

Welcome to the UCC School of Music; a hub of creativity. Being a successful musician means being multi-skilled, focused and entrepreneurial. That’s the kind of student profile we are looking for.

Imagination and innovation form the foundation of the world’s booming creative economies. With your future employability as a versatile and highly-skilled musician at the core of what we do, we will help hone your skills and encourage you to become an adaptive and reflective practitioner.

The School of Music is an active partner with the many arts organisations in and around Essex, working closely with Essex Music Education Hub, the Roman River Festival, BBC Essex, Colchester Arts Centre, the Headgate Theatre and the Mercury Theatre to ensure you gain real-world employment experiences. As a student, you will benefit from performing at venues close-by, such as the Soundhouse, the Headgate Theatre, the Mercury Theatre and festivals at Castle Park, helping to build your experience, portfolio and future employability.

You will also benefit from inter-disciplinary collaborations, working alongside Performing Arts and Technical Theatre students to bring shows to life.

Phil Toms, Head of School

Courses Offered

BA (Hons) Music for Performance and Teaching(Music Education)
BA (Hons)Popular Music
BA Hons Music for Media(Film Music and Soundtrack Production)

This year the School of Music will be running a series of short courses for those interested in or who would like to learn more about Composition to Media, Arranging, Mixing and Mastering. Click here to find out more




Andy Watson is a lecturer on the BA (Hons) Popular Music. Andy has taught at Leeds College of Music, Bretton Hall College of Higher Education, Anglia Polytechnic University, Harlow College, Colchester Institute and University Centre Colchester. Andy is an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a member of the Musicians’ Union and PRS for Music.

His music performance credits include; sessions for Yorkshire TV, Channel 4, Carlton Television, BBC, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera North, as well as seven West End Shows including Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard and Anything Goes.

Andy has an extensive jazz performance track record, including performances with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, Paul Higg’s Pavane, Helen Shapiro and various clubs and festivals.

Read staff profile


Malcolm Miles is the programme leader for BA (Hons) Music Education. As well as teaching at University Centre Colchester, Malcolm works at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a music lecturer, and has taught jazz saxophone at the Junior Guildhall.

Malcolm describes the focus of his work as being ‘a jazz-based career, specialising in education, and supported by a wide range of musical abilities that include performance, improvisation and composition’. He is an experienced teacher at all levels including Secondary, Further and Higher Education, and including conservatoire training.

He has been an external examiner at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) and Goldsmiths, as well as a member of degree course validation panels at Middlesex University.

Read staff profile


Mark Roberts is the programme leader for BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production. After a career as a recording engineer and music producer, Mark returned to music performance as a trumpet player. He is currently playing with a number of orchestras and big bands within the Essex and London areas

Mark’s research interests lie in musical performance practice along with promotion of contemporary trumpet repertoire. Mark has also worked as a music lecturer at South Thames College.

His professional recording credits as an engineer include 1987 Fairy Tale of New York, Kirsty McColl and The Pogues, 1992 Your Arsenal, Morrissey and 1994 Breathe (re-mix), Kate Bush.

Read staff profile

Read staff profile


Phil Toms is the Head of Schools for Digital Media, Music & Performing Arts. A versatile musician and dedicated educator, Phil contributes to a range of academic programmes, live performances and student auditions.

After completing his studies, Phil, started a freelance career in instrumental and classroom music teaching. In 2006, Phil joined the School of Music at Colchester Institute teaching a variety of degree modules in Music Education. Following the formation of University Centre Colchester (UCC), Phil was appointed to his current post.

Phil has an eclectic musical background from classical music & jazz to prog-folk. Phil is also the film critic for BBC Essex, appearing on radio on a weekly basis.


Dr Mark Pulman is a lecturer in Music and Performing Arts, teaching modules: in Critical Studies in Musical Theatre; Musicianship and Music Teaching in Practice. Mark also works as an accompanist for auditions and performances.

Mark is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM). He is also a former Head of Music in three secondary schools.

His professional life encompasses both popular and classical music performance, and music education. Mark has substantial industry experience with various music companies at senior levels, including Novello & Co Ltd, Warner/Chappell Music, Hal Leonard (USA), and Spartan Press.

Read staff profile


Rhett Moir is a lecturer in Music Technology. He has taught at Colchester Institute and University Centre Colchester since 2003. Rhett has also been recognised as an Apple Certified Pro for Logic.

Rhett’s main interest is in production music. He has worked for Felt Music, The Funky Junkies Music Production Company, EMI Production Music, The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop and Extreme Music.

His compositions and productions are synced with most of the main terrestrial and satellite stations in Europe and America. A small selection of Rhett’s work can be found on Spotify.

Read staff profile


Tim Pells is the instrumental studies coordinator at University Centre Colchester and teaches modules/skills in: Guitar; Song Writing; Education Practice and Performance. Tim is a member of the Incorporated Society Musicians (ISM).

Tim is a highly experienced educator who has worked extensively in a number of institutions and in private practice. Tim has worked in music continuously since 1970, first in Canada then since 1978 in the UK.

Following his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he took the post of guitar organiser for the Inner London Education Authority, coordinating guitar teaching in London schools. Since 1984 he has been Head of Guitar at the Centre for Young Musicians (Guildhall School) and a member of the English Guitar Quartet with whom he has toured and recorded internationally.

Read staff profile


Caroline Finlay is a tutor in Piano and Musicianship. Caroline also works as an accompanist for auditions and performances.

Caroline combines work at University Centre Colchester with private practice, as well as specialist tuition in schools locally. She has a number of private piano and flute students.

Caroline studied piano with Martin Hughes and continued post-graduate studies with Paul Hamburger and Victor Morris (English National Opera, ENO) developing her skills as accompanist and repetiteur. She performs regularly throughout East Anglia, including at the Aldeburgh Festival. Caroline accompanies several choirs, and enjoyed performing the piano duet arrangement of Brahms’ Requiem alongside Tim Carey at St James’ Piccadilly, London.

Read staff profile


Rachel James is Assistant Head of Schools for Digital Media, Music and Performing Arts. In addition to her administrative responsibilities as Assis-tant Head of School, Rachel lectures in music, film mu-sic, composition, arranging, musical direction and music education.

Rachel has a broad background in teaching, having taught for over 17 years in various establishments. Rachel has taught undergradaute and postgraduate students, as well as guest lectured in Sixth Form colleges and various universities.

At the heart of Rachel’s creative output is a focus on composition. She has worked with EMMY nominated composer Guy Michelmore in West Sussex and is now based in Essex. Rachel has composed music for several feature films, including, Little Happiness, which was nom-inated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Orange Golden Film Awards. Orchestrations include video game James Bond: Goldeneye.

Read staff profile



Andy Watson

Andy Watson is a lecturer on the BA (Hons) Popular Music. Andy has taught at Leeds College of Music, Bretton Hall College of Higher Education, Anglia Polytechnic University, Harlow College, Colchester Institute and University Centre Colchester. Andy is an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a member of the Musicians’ Union and PRS for Music.

His music performance credits include; sessions for Yorkshire TV, Channel 4, Carlton Television, BBC, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera North, as well as seven West End Shows including Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard and Anything Goes.

Andy has an extensive jazz performance track record, including performances with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, Paul Higg’s Pavane, Helen Shapiro and various clubs and festivals.

Read staff profile

Malcolm Miles

Malcolm Miles is the programme leader for BA (Hons) Music Education. As well as teaching at University Centre Colchester, Malcolm works at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a music lecturer, and has taught jazz saxophone at the Junior Guildhall.

Malcolm describes the focus of his work as being ‘a jazz-based career, specialising in education, and supported by a wide range of musical abilities that include performance, improvisation and composition’. He is an experienced teacher at all levels including Secondary, Further and Higher Education, and including conservatoire training.

He has been an external examiner at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) and Goldsmiths, as well as a member of degree course validation panels at Middlesex University.

Read staff profile

Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts is the programme leader for BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production. After a career as a recording engineer and music producer, Mark returned to music performance as a trumpet player. He is currently playing with a number of orchestras and big bands within the Essex and London areas

Mark’s research interests lie in musical performance practice along with promotion of contemporary trumpet repertoire. Mark has also worked as a music lecturer at South Thames College.

His professional recording credits as an engineer include 1987 Fairy Tale of New York, Kirsty McColl and The Pogues, 1992 Your Arsenal, Morrissey and 1994 Breathe (re-mix), Kate Bush.

Read staff profile

Rhett Moir

Rhett Moir is a lecturer in Music Technology. He has taught at Colchester Institute and University Centre Colchester since 2003. Rhett has also been recognised as an Apple Certified Pro for Logic.

Rhett’s main interest is in production music. He has worked for Felt Music, The Funky Junkies Music Production Company, EMI Production Music, The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop and Extreme Music.

His compositions and productions are synced with most of the main terrestrial and satellite stations in Europe and America. A small selection of Rhett’s work can be found on Spotify.

Read staff profile

Mark Pulman

Dr Mark Pulman is a lecturer in Music and Performing Arts, teaching modules: in Critical Studies in Musical Theatre; Musicianship and Music Teaching in Practice. Mark also works as an accompanist for auditions and performances.

Mark is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM). He is also a former Head of Music in three secondary schools.

His professional life encompasses both popular and classical music performance, and music education. Mark has substantial industry experience with various music companies at senior levels, including Novello & Co Ltd, Warner/Chappell Music, Hal Leonard (USA), and Spartan Press.

Read staff profile

Phil Toms

Phil Toms is the Head of Schools for Digital Media, Music & Performing Arts. A versatile musician and dedicated educator, Phil contributes to a range of academic programmes, live performances and student auditions.

After completing his studies, Phil, started a freelance career in instrumental and classroom music teaching. In 2006, Phil joined the School of Music at Colchester Institute teaching a variety of degree modules in Music Education. Following the formation of University Centre Colchester (UCC), Phil was appointed to his current post.

Phil has an eclectic musical background from classical music & jazz to prog-folk. Phil is also the film critic for BBC Essex, appearing on radio on a weekly basis.

Read staff profile

Rachel James

Rachel James is Assistant Head of Schools for Digital Media, Music and Performing Arts. In addition to her administrative responsibilities as Assis-tant Head of School, Rachel lectures in music, film mu-sic, composition, arranging, musical direction and music education.

Rachel has a broad background in teaching, having taught for over 17 years in various establishments. Rachel has taught undergradaute and postgraduate students, as well as guest lectured in Sixth Form colleges and various universities.

At the heart of Rachel’s creative output is a focus on composition. She has worked with EMMY nominated composer Guy Michelmore in West Sussex and is now based in Essex. Rachel has composed music for several feature films, including, Little Happiness, which was nom-inated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Orange Golden Film Awards. Orchestrations include video game James Bond: Goldeneye.

Read staff profile

Tim Pells

Tim Pells is the instrumental studies coordinator at University Centre Colchester and teaches modules/skills in: Guitar; Song Writing; Education Practice and Performance. Tim is a member of the Incorporated Society Musicians (ISM).

Tim is a highly experienced educator who has worked extensively in a number of institutions and in private practice. Tim has worked in music continuously since 1970, first in Canada then since 1978 in the UK.

Following his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he took the post of guitar organiser for the Inner London Education Authority, coordinating guitar teaching in London schools. Since 1984 he has been Head of Guitar at the Centre for Young Musicians (Guildhall School) and a member of the English Guitar Quartet with whom he has toured and recorded internationally.

Read staff profile

Caroline Finlay

Caroline Finlay is a tutor in Piano and Musicianship. Caroline also works as an accompanist for auditions and performances.

Caroline combines work at University Centre Colchester with private practice, as well as specialist tuition in schools locally. She has a number of private piano and flute students.

Caroline studied piano with Martin Hughes and continued post-graduate studies with Paul Hamburger and Victor Morris (English National Opera, ENO) developing her skills as accompanist and repetiteur. She performs regularly throughout East Anglia, including at the Aldeburgh Festival. Caroline accompanies several choirs, and enjoyed performing the piano duet arrangement of Brahms’ Requiem alongside Tim Carey at St James’ Piccadilly, London.

Read staff profile

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Pera Frank, BA (Hons) Popular Music

"The course gave plenty of opportunities for work placements in a range of music venues, enabling us to acquire the skills to prepare for employment within the music industry. I’ve since progressed onto a PGCE at UCC, before entering the music industry as a performing musician."

Polly Haynes, BA (Hons) Popular Music

"I have gone onto being a gigging musician, playing at many highly regarded venues, and supporting multi-platinum selling musicians. I also co -curated events and audio-visual company ‘Pink Shed’. There we encourage and support local artists in the area."