Brand Name

Transforming lives through music

We open the door so that any young person can enter and fulfil their potential

About Us

The 51st State Band in concert

The journey so far…

World heart beat has already come a long way

In the year 2000, Sahana Gero MBE started the 51st State Band with just six students. Nine years, plus 130 musicians later, this evolved into the World Heart Beat Music Academy. It took a quantum leap in 2012 with the imaginative renovation of a derelict floor of an industrial unit.

In 2018, enrolment has leapt to over 320 students, there are 18 music programmes led by 37 musicians. We offer 12 genres of music from Asian to vocal through jazz, classical and Gypsy violin and more.

Over 850 students have passed through the academy with an average stay of 4.7 years.

Quality matches quantity. 322 students have passed Trinity and ABRSM examinations, with 100 Distinctions and 148 Merits. Our students have won scholarships to the Royal Academy of Music and to the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston USA.

Some of our top students were chosen to attend GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

Some key features of World Heart Beat

  • Now over 50% of students are from low income/socially challenged backgrounds.
  • World class musicians teach, mentor and inspire students.
  • A diverse and vibrant range of instruments from around the world is on offer.
  • Arts Council England have made us a National Portfolio Organisation.
  • We deliver over 10,000hrs of music training every year.
  • Our students have given over 175 concerts in 55+ different venues.

We’re growing fast

Your support is needed to help us take the next giant step

Help us to grow
Tabla lessons at the World Heart Beat Music Academy

World Heart Beat in numbers…

The figures below demonstrate what we do and our impact on the lives of children, young people and the local community

  • 10,800

    Hrs of Tuition

    Excellent teaching across many genres of music, igniting passion and confidence in young people.

  • 49%

    Free Tuition

    Developing the talent of all young people, regardless of their ability to pay, is at the core of our ethos.

  • 18


    We deliver a broad and exciting range of musical programmes to students of different ages and abilities.

  • 37

    Excellent Tutors

    Our teachers and mentors are top-class musicians, dedicated to inspiring the next generation of young talent.

  • 77%

    Top Exam Results

    Over three quarters of our students have passed Trinity and ABRSM examinations with a Distinction or Merit.

  • 21


    With lessons in a joyful variety of instruments, we embrace world music with no cultural boundaries.

  • 175


    We’re proud to have staged so many wonderful concerts, at 55 venues in the UK and abroad.

  • 0-24

    Age Range

    From babies to young adults, we help set the stage for social interaction and lifelong musical development.

Onwards and upwards…

Your support is needed to develop our state-of-the-art premises

Help make it happen
Students at Word Heart Beat learning the guitar

The Team

Professional & Skilled Leadership

The exceptional people that are attracted to support both the vision and the reality of World Heart Beat make us uniquely successful in both our musical and social contribution to young people, and in our business enterprise.

Their qualities range from the proprietors’ excellence in music tuition, community focus and business acumen, to the remarkable skills of the 37 leading musicians who are our committed teachers. Underpinning these are the expert board of energetic trustees, and the diverse team of dedicated professionals — who include top-level architects, business developers, management specialists, lawyers and accountants.

The World Heart Beat Team

  • Sahana Gero
    Sahana Gero MBE
    Founder & Artistic Director

    A highly accomplished. musician and music teacher, Sahana has performed in over 70 countries. Passionate about music’s capacity to transform lives, she has dedicated her own to creating World Heart Beat Music Academy.

    Trained in clarinet, flute and saxophone, over 25 years Sahana has taught more than 1,500 children to play an instrument. She has been an examiner for Trinity College London for many years and was Head of Woodwind for Wandsworth Music Services prior to devoting her time to World Heart Beat.

    In 2017, her dedication and success were rewarded with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

  • James Gero
    James Gero
    Executive Director

    Sahana’s brother James is an entrepreneur who has diverse experience in infrastructure, technology, energy and business planning. His speciality is in start-up ventures, strategy and vision, and synergising partnerships.

    James worked in private sector education for 10 years. Sharing Sahana’s vision and passion, he has been instrumental in the creation of World Heart Beat, and oversees its daily management and development jointly with her.

  • Sal Sherratt
    Sal Sherratt
    Head of Philanthropy & Partnerships

    Sal is an experienced and innovative arts fundraiser, with experience of revenue and capital projects. She has held senior management positions for over 12 years to include the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Music for Youth.

    Sal is passionate about music and has played trumpet since she was 7 years old. She is very enthusiastic about jazz and plays in a number of ensembles including the London Gay Big Band.

  • Rachel van Walsum
    Rachel van Walsum
    Chair of Trustees

    Rachel van Walsum is Managing Director and Co-founder of Maestro Arts, an interdisciplinary agency providing strategic and comprehensive career management to an elite array of international artists within the worlds of classical music and performing arts. Rachel's mantra is that Music is a crucial gift that should be given to all children as it will last their entire lives.

  • Nick Bush
    Nick Bush

    A change management and customer strategy expert, Nick is passionate about all forms of music and how it opens up opportunities for young people. Nick’s career includes consulting and senior management positions with a number of leading companies. He is currently developing a new consulting and solutions business and, in his spare time, can be found singing in a local community choir.

  • James Joseph
    James Joseph

    An artist manager, James has been influential in the creation of major label jazz artists in the UK, including saxophonists Steve Williamson and Courtney Pine and singers Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson.

    He is a consultant for BBC Worldwide and has co-produced television and radio shows for the BBC and ITV. He is vice-chair of JazzUK and sits on several boards including those of the PRS Foundation, the Mayor of London’s Music Fund, and The National Lottery.

  • Corinne Oulton
    Corinne Oulton

    Corinne has worked with Sahana for over 15 years, sharing her passion in the belief that music is an essential part of education, inspiring and empowering young people.

    Corinne is a partner of Baskerville Design, in South West London, specialising in creating and launching new brands. She has been a Wandsworth resident for 25 years and served as a school governor for over 12 years. In this role she was instrumental in the selection of head-teachers and other senior staff.

  • Zac Quinn
    Zac Quinn

    Having qualified at Goodman Jones Chartered accountants where Zac looked after growing media, property and construction clients, he joined Lehman Brothers in their financial control area to explore the world of finance in Investment banking. Moving eventually to UBS (a Swiss bank), Zac worked around the world as he built out businesses in different markets putting in controls to remediate risks and ensuring integrity of the financial statements and appropriate tax treatments across borders.

    In 2013 Zac moved to Switzerland where he was CFO and Financial Controller for the Swiss Investment Bank. As business partner and Controller, focus was on supporting the strategy of the bank as he set up new company structures and reduced costs through outsourcing, offshoring and robotics to manage the changing regulatory environment.

    After several enjoyable years Zac moved back to London in 2016 to settle down and provide a new life for his family. Zac’s vision was to create an accountancy firm, GQC LTD, that really supports businesses and offers consulting, accountancy, tax and advisors services for entrepreneurs taking them from A (accountancy) to C (consultancy) in a seamless journey.

  • Jayne Sutcliffe
    Jayne Sutcliffe

    Jayne has spent most of her professional career in the fund management industry, specialising in investment into emerging markets. She co-founded Hong Kong based Regent Pacific Group in 1990 where she established, and was responsible for, the Group’s corporate finance activities and managing the groups London office.

    In 2000, she became Managing Director of Charlemagne Capital, a London based emerging markets specialist which was listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in 2006. The group was acquired by Fiera Capital Corporation of Canada in 2016 and she became MD of the group’s European operations.

    In 2018 she decided to retire from a full-time role in the investment management industry.

    Jayne has lived in Wandsworth since 1994 and is Vice Chair of Governors at Emanuel School. She has a Masters degree in Theology from the University of Oxford.

The Professional Support Team

  • Nick Thomlinson
    Nick Thomlinson

    Former Group Chairman and Senior Partner of top international property firm, Knight Frank, Nick advises World Heart Beat on property and development matters relating to its planned new premises.

    Starting at Knight Frank on their graduate scheme, he became Senior Partner in 2004. Initially based in London, Nick moved to Hong Kong in 1984 to head up their operations before returning to open the first agency office in London’s Docklands two years later. In 1995, he set up the firm’s Indian operation in Mumbai. He became head of Global Residential in 2000.

    Since January 2013, Nick has been a Non-Executive Director of Development Securities plc.

  • Terry Mansfield
    Terry Mansfield

    Past president and chief executive of the Hearst Corporation, Terry advised World Heart Beat on publishing and business development.

    Terry worked in print media for over 50 years, and was managing director of National Magazine Company, and owner of style bible Cosmopolitan, Country Living and Harpers and Queen, for 20 of them.

    On his appointment as president he took on a wider role in the business as well as fronting NatMags contract publishing business.

    Sadly, we lost Terry to Covid 19 in March 2020. We thank him, our dear friend and mentor, from the depths of our heart for his immense love, friendship and incredible support. His practical help opened doors and brought constant inspiration to everyone at World Heart Beat. To show our appreciation we have attributed our lockdown performance of Stevie Wonder's Another Star to him.

  • Peter Highland
    Peter Highland

    A company COO, Peter’s passion for music and its benefits for young people is the basis of his deep commitment to World Heart Beat.

    With an MA in English Language and Literature from the St Andrews University, Peter is Chief Operating Officer of Ridgeway Partners. He was formerly COO of Hedge Fund Intelligence, a specialist financial publishing company. Prior to that, he worked in commercial roles at the Financial Times.

  • Tony Martin
    Tony Martin

    An Oxford graduate and past company director, Tony applies his experience in project start-ups, management, sales and marketing, event organisation, and print and online publishing to World Heart Beat’s business development.

    Graduating in 1967, Tony spent his professional life alongside the universities of the world providing marketing services, primarily for international student recruitment. His work took him to over 40 countries. After serving as a director of three specialist companies in this sector during his career – latterly of QS, publishers of the QS World University Rankings - he retired in 2013. Tony has been active in community projects in Wandsworth for over thirty years.

  • John Duckworth
    John Duckworth

    John is MD of Instant in UK & EMEA, a business providing flexible office solutions for companies in the UK and internationally. Married to Celine with four children, he is a busy Wimbledon resident, long suffering Leeds Utd fan, and firm fan of World Heart Beat.

  • Rory Aitkenhead
    Rory Aitkenhead

    Rory Aitkenhead is an ARB & RIBA registered architect with over 10 years of experience in the retail, restaurant, residential, theatre, nightclub, stadium and office industries. In 2014 he joined SODA as lead project architect and contract administrator for their flagship project Walker’s Court in the heart of Soho. Prior to this at Leslie Jones Architecture he worked on a £50M retail redevelopment of Sheffield city centre taking the project from conception to completion and gained planning permission for a mixed-use retail £150M development in Watford North London. Rory is strongly interested in innovative, responsive architecture.

  • John Myers
    John Myers
    Project Manager

    A graduate of London Metropolitan University, John has spent all his working life in construction, managing and delivering professional services for large and complex projects both in the UK and overseas. With previous experience both as a director of a development company, as Company Secretary of one of the UK’s largest international architectural practices and a current director of a property management company, he brings a diverse range of experience and skills to the realisation of World Heart Beat’s new facility at Nine Elms. Away from work, he is a keen sailor and occasional watercolourist.

  • Steve Jones
    Steve Jones
    Construction Engineer

    Managing Director of MDA, Steve is married with two children and lives in Southfields. He is a City Liveryman, a Member of the Feltmakers Company and a Member of the Committee of the Oriental Club in Stratford Place.

  • Allan McKelvie
    Allan McKelvie

    Allan McKelvie is a senior partner of Mckelvie & Co LLP. Chartered Accountants founded in 1979 and helping creative people and companies across the world.

The Change Board

World Heart Beat at Embassy Gardens

Acquiring our new premises and creating a new operation as the music-led Cultural Anchor at EcoWorld Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens, in partnership with Wandsworth Council, involves a process that needs thorough administration.

World Heart Beat has formed a Change Board of key stakeholders that meets regularly and oversees that process. It consists of (in alphabetical order):

Nick Bush

Change Management Expert

Michelle Burton

Development Manager, Ecoworld Ballymore

Jamie Cheetham

Landlord’s Representative, Project & Building Consultancy Ltd.

Steve Diamond

Deputy Economic Development Officer, Wandsworth Borough Council

Simon Garrard

Landlord’s Representative, Project & Building Consultancy Ltd.

James Gero

Executive Director, World Heart Beat

Sahana Gero

Founder and Artistic Director, World Heart Beat

John Myers

World Heart Beat, Project EA

Alex Rinsler

Nine Elms Strategic Lead for Culture, Wandsworth Council

Stevan Tennant

Projects Director, Ballymore

Sal Sherratt

World Heart Beat, Head of Philanthropy & Fundraising

Kathryn Stewart

Nine Elms Head of Programme, Wnadsworth Council

Our Annual Report

If would like to know more about what we have been doing and would like to see our accounts, please download our Annual report or take a look at our charity’s main website.

World Heart Beat, Annual Report 2020
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Want to know more?

There’s so much more we can tell you. If you would like more information or to want to discuss your opportunities face to face…

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    World Heart Beat Music Academy

    58 Kimber Road
    London SW18 4PP

    +44 (0) 20 8870 3042

    Registered charity in England & Wales No.1139579

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