Welcome to Shine Music Studio:

My name is Karen West and I love music. That’s because I love what music can create – joy, confidence, community and much more. My love of music is something that I share with audiences and pass on to my students.

I have been delivering music from my base in the Eden Valley of Cumbria for 20 years. Over that time, I have worked with hundreds of people of all ages, teaching and lecturing in schools and colleges, coaching one to one, directing choirs and ensembles and performing as a soloist at events, concerts and celebrations.


My ethos is that music is to be enjoyed and my teaching style is personalised and encouraging. A hesitant young pianist needs support, kindness and understanding. Adults who are finding their singing voices need to learn about their own instruments and how to develop them. I’m still learning myself and always will be – that’s part of the challenge and joy of music that I love to share.

As well as teaching, I perform and I encourage my students to perform too, together and individually. There’s something very special about being part of a choir or band and bringing together the Upper Eden Community Choir and other groups has been a large part of my musical life for decades. My own repertoire of classical music, show tunes and jazz favourites means that I can play (piano) and sing at a range of occasions and I have been honoured to perform at weddings and ceremonies (as well as concerts) across Cumbria and beyond.

Shine Music Studio is my base in Appleby-in-Westmorland. It’s my second home – lots of colour and light, squashy sofas and cushions, personal items and personality. And, of course, my Bechstein grand piano. I am exploring how best to use the space with others in the community and you can read more about the coaching side of my work at www.karenwestlife.co.uk.

“I knew of Karen West through social media and other friends. She seemed like an approachable and friendly person who knew her stuff and would give me clear feedback on whether or not I could sing. Since I started one-to-one singing lessons, I’ve learnt a huge amount and also learnt how much there is to learn. I thoroughly enjoy each lesson at Shine Studio, concentrating on something completely different.”

Adult singing pupil

“I was initially bought a few sessions of vocal tuition with Karen as a present by my daughter. Although I wanted to start performing, I had absolutely no confidence in my vocal capability, and had no real belief in my ability to perform. Karen helped me enormously, and continues to do so. I may not be able to perform X-Factor style vocal gymnastics, but I can stand in front of an audience and give my best and, hopefully, be entertaining. What Karen has brought out in me also spills into everyday life, and my levels of confidence and self-belief have risen hugely. ”

Adult Student

“Karen is a musically gifted pianist and singer. As a teacher she is caring, thoughtful and inspiring. With her cheerful positivity she can raise the standards of her pupils across all abilities. The Eden Valley Community Choir is an embodiment of Karen  – enthusiastic, inclusive and happy”

Member of the Upper Eden Community Choir

“Karen is a fantastic teacher and our girls love their music lessons. ”

“Not only has she helped nurture so many new musical skills, vocally and on the piano, but makes learning fun by delivering each lesson with great energy and laughter.”

“Karen’s expert tutelage with encouragement and empathy has helped to increase their confidence which has extended from public performances to all aspects of life.”

Parent of school aged students