Photograph by Jeremy Peters, Cambridge Folk Festival, Extinction Rebellion Singing Workshop


Photograph by Eddie Howlett of Paula Downes directing the Meridian Singers, March 2019

Musical Director & Teacher


Following an undergraduate degree in Music and a PGCE in Secondary Music Education, both at Cambridge University, Paula taught Music and Singing for three years at at South Hampstead High School, London. During this time, she was an A Level examiner for Edexcel. 


She moved to Boston, USA in 2005 to join her husband, while he completed his PhD in Musicology at Harvard University, and during her four years there, she worked as Resident Music Tutor at Adams House, Harvard, and as a singing, piano and violin teacher for Artisan Music Studios, for Linneaen Community School, and for the New School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Additionally, she taught "Music Together", an early childhood music program.


On her return to the UK, Paula worked as Head of Lower School Music at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire before moving on to teach Singing and Music at St. John's College School in Cambridge, UK, where she also regularly taught for Stringmoves and was Director of Sine Nomine Youth Choir in Histon.


She moved to Bristol in 2013 and coached the girls' choir of St Mary Redcliffe Church for a year before becoming a singing teacher for Bristol University in September 2014.

Paula is now back in Cambridge where she has shared music and singing at Ace Nursery School; she has run a music club and workshop for St Philip's Primary School; she has coached members of St. Ives Choral Society; and she has run singing workshops at St Helen's Primary School in Bluntisham. She has also performed for Encore Concerts with her professional all-female vocal group, The Cantabrigians; and she took up the role of Musical Director of the Meridian Singers, Bluntisham, in September 2018. She continues to teach for Stringmoves and teaches privately at home. Most recently she led a singing workshop for Extinction Rebellion at the Cambridge Folk Festival and she has taught for Cambridge Holiday Orchestra.


Paula is the creator of the website,, exciting new music education resources to bring us into the 21st Century. Visit the website for videos, worksheets, interactive whiteboard resources, teaching ideas and more, covering music theory, nursery rhymes, Christmas carols, music history, musical instruments and cross-curricular ideas.