Find below contributor biographies listed in alphabetical order by first name. For details on the sessions they will be presenting, please go to the Session Details page.




Andrea Spain

Andrea is Assistant Director of Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, with responsibility for the Learning and Participation, Junior Trinity and Professional Development programmes. As a producer of performances, festivals, community music and education initiatives, Andrea’s work seeks to improve access to high quality musical experiences and harness the power of music for social change.

Andrea has been responsible for establishing the outreach and widening participation work of the Faculty of Music at Trinity Laban and in 2004 joined the Conservatoire’s professorial staff after completing a PGCE in Teaching & Learning for HE. As Head of Professional Skills she oversaw musical leadership and cultural entrepreneurship in the Faculty’s HE programmes and in recent years her work has focused on growing Trinity Laban’s role in teacher development. 

Her production credits include performances for the Queen and Nelson Mandela and the Learning and Participation programmes Isle of Dogs Music and Animate Orchestra. Her teaching includes ‘Making Art Happen’, a module in cultural entrepreneurship for postgraduate music students. 


Anna Gower 

Anna Gower is Head of Programmes for Musical Futures, and has been Head of Music and Director of Community Music in various schools, most recently Monks Walk school, for 18 years. She has a strong commitment to classroom music and the development of cross phase work to smooth the transition process and improve practice between primary/elementary school and high/secondary school in England and now overseas, working in Canada, the USA and Australia to strengthen and support Musical Futures work as it expands internationally.

As a former Musical Futures Champion Teacher and Director of Programmes for Musical Futures, she is committed to working to engage learners of all ages with music. Her main passion is to drive the development of ideas and resources for supporting music provision for students both inside and outside of the classroom and ways that these can be shared and developed online by teachers wherever they are working.


Ben Sandbrook

Ben Sandbrook has 15 years’ experience running large scale campaigns and change programmes in music and arts education. He has worked with children and young people, schools, local authorities, arts organisations, NGOs, small and big businesses in the UK and globally on issues around achieving individual potential, strategic leadership, progression and nurturing creativity.

He has run national sector strategy and leadership development networks, including the Musical Progressions Roundtable (a network of 300 senior music education leaders) and the Early Years Strategic Roundtable (a network of Early years arts and creativity organisations). He provides strategy, leadership and professional development services to organisations in and around the arts education sector, and has supported 100s of organisations to evaluate and share their effective practice.

Ben set up World Pencil in 2015, focussed on the coming together of arts, education and sustainable development, and has led the development of the Good Questions platform for online social professional development. 


Chris Walters

Chris Walters has worked in music and music education since graduating from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2002. His career has encompassed performing, teaching, journalism and three years as head of music qualifications at Trinity College London. Chris developed Trinity's Certificate for Music Educators and retains an active interest in skills development for music teachers, combining this with performing, writing and publishing in his current role as a freelance consultant.


David Barnard

David Barnard is a freelance consultant and part-time education official for the Musicians’ Union. His clients have included Roland Europe, I Like Music, Music for All, BICMP and a number of music education hubs. He holds a first-class honours degree in music, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Performance Diploma from the Royal College of Music, and a Diploma in Management. He has studied at Middlesex, Leicester and Oxford Universities and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

David’s professional career has included a number of senior positions, including: Head of Education for Roland UK; Course Leader for the ABRSM’s professional development programme; Director of Swindon Music Service; Head of Music Centres for Kingston Music Service and Enfield Arts. He has also worked as a professional trombonist, conductor, lecturer (Middlesex University), publisher and examiner (Guildhall School of Music), and was founder of the Swindon Music Co-operative. David is also a non-executive Director of Musical Futures, Chairman of the Music Industries’ Association education committee, and a trustee of the Ernest Read Music Trust.


Diane Widdison

Diane has over 20 years’ experience of working for music services as an instrumental teacher and manager as well as playing the flute professionally before joining the Musicians’ Union in 2006. As National Organiser for Education and Training at the MU Diane has a remit to develop resources and services for musicians who teach and heads a team of music education specialists who offer advice and guidance to members.

 The MU has over 30,000 members with two thirds working across the whole music education sector.

 Diane is on the board of trustees for Music for Youth and BAPAM (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine).


Fiona McLean-Buechel

Fiona teaches violin and viola at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for the Junior Music
Department in their Main and Stringtime programmes. She is a founder member of National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and an alumnus of St Mary's Music School. On leaving St Mary's she trained at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

She has a passion for music in all forms; Combining a busy career as a performer with writing creative and collaborative national and international performance projects. Whilst on the staff at Junior Guildhall School of Music she became a proactive member of the school’s external examination and development team. She also lectured and was a professor at Colchester Institute, Goldsmith’s College, was a visiting tutor for the National Children’s Orchestra and Head of Strings for London Borough of Bexley.

In 2005 Fiona co founded and was course director for a collaborative venture with the Dartington International Summer School, the Dartington Plus Summer Youth Strings Programme. She subsequently founded and is Creative Director of Southwest Camerata and the registered charity JUTP MUSIC whose work was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society for Education and a cover story for ESTA. Her ensembles are frequent performers at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and make regular concert appearances across the UK. She has been a visiting professor of violin at Dartington College and Cardiff University, lectured for the European String Teachers Association, Cardiff University, South West Sound and U3A. Her string quartet are recording artists featuring regularly in shows for BBC.

Fiona is qualified to deliver the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme and has devised a series of workshops and seminars on the principles of Mindfulness for musicians and delivered a session on Mindfulness for performers and educators at the 2016 Music Education Expo on behalf of the Federation of Festivals.


Francesca Christmas

Francesca works for Trinity College London as Head of Academic Governance for Music, overseeing Trinity’s UK and international music work in both music assessment and teacher training.

Francesca studied as a singer at Trinity College of Music and got her first teaching job in a London Music Service as an instrumental and vocal teacher. Early in her career, the CMS was involved with the pilot of Wider Opportunities, and she has continued to specialize in whole class instrumental and vocal teaching. She left to train as a secondary music teacher, and worked as a music teacher and then Head of Department  for several years in London secondary schools.

In 2007 she took on an Area Leader role with Trinity College London and The Open University, managing the government – funded KS2 Music CPD Programme, which provided CPD for educators working in whole class teaching contexts. She joined The Open University at the same time as an Associate Lecturer on the Music PGCE programme, tutoring students and contributing to course materials.

She then moved to become Head of Teacher Development with Trinity, and then on to overseeing the academic development of Trinity’s music portfolio across the world in her current role.

Francesca has written various book chapters and articles, contributed to several  publications, and speaks at a range of music education conferences worldwide. She is currently working for her PhD at Birmingham City University.


Gawain Hewitt

Gawain Hewitt believes music enables and liberates; individuals, communities and society. The act of making music should be a participatory process that can bring people together and facilitate a unique form of communication.

Gawain’s ideas start with people and/or place and remain at the heart of his creations. From these foundations he seeks to create something that is true and representative of the people, place and ideas with whom he is working. Gawain is a collaborator, constantly seeking connections between art, technology and music: as a consumer, or audience and as a creator, whether composing, building, coding, photographing or teaching.

Gawain makes sound art which include sonic sculptures, sonic pictures and sonic tapestries. He also composes music as well as working with other artists on sound design for theatre and shows. His work has featured at numerous festivals and venues, including Ice Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival, City of London Festival and The Roundhouse. 


Graeme Barclay

Graeme Barclay is Head of Instrumental Music for South Lanarkshire Council. He studied percussion and piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and enjoyed a busy and prolific career as a professional musician and educator prior to commencing his current post in 2011.

As a freelance musician Graeme has performed with all of Scotland’s professional orchestras; many UK touring musicals, and a selection of high profile rock, pop and folk music based projects. As an educator he has held teaching posts within a selection of Scotland’s top independent and state educational establishments also Glasgow University.

Awarded an MSc in Leadership and Management from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2015, Graeme is a highly respected presenter at professional learning events also Higher Education student seminars. He is the current Chairperson of the professional advisory group Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland, and is a past Convenor of the national EIS Music Instructors’ Network (where he initiated Scotland’s first Charter for Instrumental Music Tuition). 


Heather Powell

Originally from North Wales, Heather plays the baritone horn and graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2005.Taught by both Professor Steven Mead and Dr Robert Childs. Heather has performed with many of the UK’s leading brass bands including Foden’s Band and Black Dyke Band and was a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Wales for many years. Following her degree Heather spent a year with a military band in Germany.

In 2006 Heather returned to North Wales and fulfilled a dream to renovate an old Welsh chapel. Heather worked as a brass tutor for William Mathias for 10 years and was their Denbighshire Manager from 2013 to 2015.

Heather now lives in Llandyrnog, is a keen Welsh learner, a specialist foster carer and a mum and foster mum to 4 boys aged 5 to 18. Along with her husband John, Heather is the organiser of the annual ‘Music Mania’ summer school, which is hugely successful and attracted almost 150 children last year. Heather established DMC in 2015 with the support of 9 Directors. Heather is keen to give Denbighshire a brand new music service that offers the very best in quality and standards and is forward thinking and progressive.

Heather is also the Managing Director of the North Wales Music Co-operative.


Horace Trubridge

Horace played clarinet and saxophone semi-professionally from the age of 14 and was a founder member of DARTS at the age of 18. Between 1976 and 1981 DARTS toured internationally and enjoyed chart success including UK top 10 singles and gold and platinum albums. Horace wrote prolifically for the band including the top ten hit “Get It”. During the 1980’s Horace was a busy session musician. Changing track in the late 80’s he became a band manager and promoter, promoting the ICA Rock Weeks.

Horace started work for the British Musicians’ Union as Music Business Advisor in 1990. He became London Official in 1997 and Assistant General Secretary in 2003. Horace oversees all of the MU’s collective bargaining agreements and represents the Union nationally and internationally. He represents the MU on the executive committee of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and on the board of PPL. He is also a professor of the Royal Society of Musicians and a Governor at the BRITS school. 


Jackie Walduck

Jackie Walduck is a composer and vibraphone player, whose work engenders the meeting points between composition and improvisation. She has collaborated and performed with musicians across Europe and in the Middle East, with musicians as diverse as the Philharmonia, Sinfonia Viva, Kala Ramnath, and the Royal Army Band of Oman. Her collaborative film score for The Dress by Maggie Ford was premiered at Cannes Film Festival (2008).

Since 2008 she has led classical improvising ensemble Ignite, enjoying a residency at Wigmore Hall Learning, commissioning over 30 new works for improvising ensemble, and collaborating with Amjad Ali Khan, Jean Toussaint, Orphy Robinson, and the Fire Poet, Phillip Wells.

She has led workshops in improvisation for over 25 years, working for many of the UK’s orchestras and conservatoires, teaching and examining at Trinity Laban, Guildhall and the Royal Academy of Music. She is a lead composer on Sound and Music/BCMG's Listen Imagine Compose project, and led the improvisation strand on Trinity Laban's Teach Through Music. 


Jem Shuttleworth

Reporting to the Chair and Board of Trustees, Jem Shuttleworth is directly responsible for the ongoing strategic leadership and development of Music Mark as a membership organisation, subject association and charity alongside ensuring the highest quality of offer under the broad strategic headings of ‘Influencing’, ‘Supporting’ and ‘Connecting’ for and on behalf of the membership. Jem sits on the ACE Hub Advisory Group, DfE Hub Advisory Group, GLA Mayor’s Music Taskforce, MEC Executive and a number of Working Groups across the music education and education sector.

Jem has worked for a variety of organisations in a number of senior roles including Cameron Mackintosh Foundation, ACE, Twentieth Century Fox, Covent Garden Festival and Ofsted. Having trained as a National Leader in Governance, Jem is currently Chair of Governors at two primary schools, a governor at a secondary special school and works with a number of schools in challenging circumstances to support governors in securing whole school improvements. Jem is a trustee for The Elliot Foundation Academy Trust and Chair of their Standards Committee. 


Kate Atkinson 

Kate is Community & Professional Development Manager at Trinity Laban and has responsibility for overseeing a range of projects and programmes within local communities and supporting artists and musicians developing as music educators. Previously Kate studied the violin in Birmingham and for the last fifteen years has worked in arts project management in London starting with Drake Music Project as London Manager and then latterly with Sound Connections launching MusicLeader London and a range of other workforce development programmes. Kate has a particular interest in community arts in South East London and has been a trustee of several local arts organisations.  


Kerry Boyle

Kerry Boyle is a singing teacher, choral director, music examiner and researcher. Having read Music and English at Keele University, Kerry studied singing as a postgraduate performance student at Trinity College of Music and worked professionally as a performer before specialising in teaching. She is currently pursuing Doctoral studies in Music Education at Canterbury Christ Church University and her thesis concerns the development of professional identity in instrumental teachers.

Kerry’s extensive experience as a singing teacher has involved work as a tutor and coach with individuals and groups in colleges, universities and arts organisations. Specialising in vocal technique for the stage, her students include actors, voice over artists, musical theatre specialists, jazz and opera singers.

Kerry works with various ensembles and choirs as a freelance choral director and arranger and is the director of Canterbury Vocals. Since 2004, she has established various partnerships and twinning projects with regional arts organisations, practitioners, choirs and ensembles in several European countries and coordinates ongoing projects involving choirs from various regions in France and groups in Canterbury.

Kerry is a sessional tutor at Canterbury Christ Church University and London College of Music and is a teacher consultant on the ‘Art of Teaching’ project for the Musician’s Union and 


Marion Friend

Marion Friend is a consultant in arts and education and a life coach, mentor and facilitator with a particular interest in career development, and in supporting individuals to explore and reach their potential. She was Director of Junior Trinity at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for twelve years until July 2014 and previously held senior management posts at the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Young Musician of the Year and Wigmore Hall.

Marion was formerly a trustee of Jessie's Fund music therapy charity, the Mick Jagger Centre, the Dalcroze Society and on the Executive of the Music Education Council. She is currently Chair of Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust and her local Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra and is a member of a music education advisory group at Arts Council England.


Dr. Naomi Norton 

Naomi completed her AHRC-funded doctoral studies, entitled 'Health Promotion in Instrumental and Vocal Lessons: The Teacher's Perspective', at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under the supervision of Professor Ginsborg, Dr Greasley, and Dr McEwan. She previously completed a Master of Music in the Applied Psychology of Music and a Bachelor of Arts (Music), both at the University of Leeds. Research has been the primary element of her musical portfolio but she also enjoys teaching and has performed in a variety of ensembles. As of August 2016 she is working as a Teaching Artist with the Opera North In Harmony project in Leeds. Naomi is also associated with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine ( as a member of the Education and Training Advisory Group and Trainer Network.


Oliver Morris

As Director of Education & Skills at UK Music Oliver runs a range of programmes including: the Music Academic Partnership (HE network), Apprenticeships (both a UK Music administered grant and also coordinating the music industry’s response to the current changes), Skills and Schools events, Rehearsal Space network and careers advice. He also sits on the Creative Industries Council Education & Skills group and the Alliance for IP Education & Research group.

Prior to UK Music he worked in a broad range of educational settings, formal and informal, with a variety of learners for over 15 years. Most recently lecturing in both the Departments of Geography & Earth Sciences and Education at Aberystwyth University and undertaking a PhD on ‘The Educational and Economic Aspirations of Young People in Wales’ his educational experience encompasses widening access to HE programmes, undergraduate tutoring, community education and schools & youth work with a creative focus (as musician, composer and performer). He was also heavily involved in the voluntary sector in his home-county of Ceredigion in mid-Wales both as community worker and trustee with the County Voluntary Council, the Centre for Alternative Technology and his local Communities First partnership. He is currently a trustee with the Centre for Performance Research.


Pete Churchill

Originally trained in Canada, Pete has been based in England since 1985. Having completed almost twenty years teaching at the Guildhall School of Music, he is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London whilst running the jazz choir at Trinity Laban.

Pete’s work as a teacher has always been a part of his journey as a musician – always moving in tandem with his performing and writing career. His reputation for clarity is well known and his deep understanding of his subject is matched only by his ability to communicate its essence at all levels. As an educator and choral director, Pete is very much in demand abroad - teaching regularly in Australia (Perth, Sydney, Melbourne), including a spell as visiting Professor at the Kodaly Summer School at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. He has given Jazz workshops for the ABRSM in the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore) and closer to home he has been a guest lecturer at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Each summer brings regular courses in France, Spain and Italy.

Much of Pete’s time now is taken up with directing his own choir ‘The London Vocal Project’. In addition to high profile performances with Cleo Laine, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler and, most recently Bobby McFerrin, this seminal ensemble of young singer/workshop leaders regularly join Pete on his massive educational projects and they are fast gaining a reputation, under his guidance, as the next generation of gifted educators. They are soon to record Kenny Wheeler’s ‘Mirrors’ suite of poetry settings with Norma Winstone and the great man himself. 


Philip Flood

Philip Flood has been Director at Sound Connections since 2010. He is also a member of the GLA Music Education Steering Taskforce and on the Executive Committee of the Music Education Council. Previously, he was Head of LSO Discovery and prior to this, Education Director for Spitalfields Music and Head of Music and Media at a large London FE college. He is an advisor for the PRS for Music Foundation and has also been a trustee of spnm, now Sound and Music, and the British Arts Festivals Association.


Rachel Nelken

Rachel Nelken has been working in the arts & music industry for 17 years. As Applications Manager for the PRS For Music Foundation from its creation in 1999-2006 she set up many funding schemes and programmes to support emerging musicians and composers. With a lifelong interest in developing young musicians and artists, Rachel has worked for a number of organisations and local authorities across the UK setting up non-mainstream youth music projects for young people, such as the award-winning ArtsTrain project for young creative musicians in Bromley and Bexley which she has led for 8 years.

In tandem with strategic work with the UK’s main music funders – Arts Council, Youth Music and Creative Scotland - over the last few years Rachel has become an established performing arts Producer and in her current role as Senior Producer at the Roundhouse in Camden she leads on their Resident Artist programme which is an advanced development programme supporting semi-professional and professional artists aged 18-25 onto the next steps in a career in the creative industries.


Richard Phoenix 


Richard Phoenix is an artist and musician living and working in London. He has worked with learning disability arts organisations and individual artists for over ten years as a music facilitator and project co-ordinator and has been involved with the UK’s DIY music scene for over 18 years, playing and touring in punk bands and many other things besides. All his work explores his interest in how accessibility and integration can improve things for all.

He currently works with Heart n Soul as their Creative Associate. Predominantly with Heart n Soul's SoundLab project looking at how music technology can create accessible, expressive music making experiences, and with the creative arts project, Do Your Own Thing, for young people with learning disabilities. 

Also the founder and director of the non-profit organisation Constant Flux which was started to help create opportunities for musicians with learning disabilities. It combines his work and interests in two separate areas of music: the learning disabled music scene and the UK’s large DIY music community.


Sam Johnson

Sam has worked at Community Music for the last 10 years. He is Head of Development and responsible for making new partnerships within both the arts world and the wider corporate sector. He teaches on the Creative Music Production & Business foundation degree as well as across Community Music’s extensive youth and NEET programmes and Music Leader Training course. As a signed artist and someone navigating the murky waters of the industry he’s able to give a unique insight into juggling the much talked about ‘portfolio career’.


Sarah Upjohn

Sarah Upjohn qualified as a physiotherapist in 1983 from the Bristol School of Physiotherapy and gained extensive clinical experience in the UK, Canada, Australia and the USA. Between 1994 and 2002 she was a Senior Lecturer on the BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy course at the University of Hertfordshire, obtaining an MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in 1997. She returned to clinical work in 2002, and since 2008 she has worked in the field of Performing Arts Medicine, as an assessing clinician for the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine and as the physiotherapist at The Purcell School for Young Musicians.

In 2011 she began a Doctorate of Education (EdD) at the University of Cambridge where her supervisor is Professor Pam Burnard. Sarah’s EdD research is an Action Research project aimed at increasing awareness of risk factors for playing related injury in young musicians and at changing risk taking behaviour, in order to decrease the incidence of playing related injuries at the school.

Outside of work, studying, and the joys of parenthood, Sarah sings the alto section of the Cambridge Philharmonic Choir and plays Bass Guitar with the Cambridge Community Big Band. 


Tabby Estell

Tabby Estell has worked in music education for over twenty years including managing the pioneering education programme at the London Sinfonietta and as Director of Education and Community at the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Tabby studied music at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College Music and was a teacher in London before moving into orchestral education.

In recent years she has enjoyed an active freelance career working as a music education specialist with a range of different music organisations including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House and Southbank Centre. Tabby is currently Head of Children’s and Young People’s Programmes (Music) at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.


Tina Pinder

Tina has over fifteen years of experience as a music workshop leader specialising in music and health and in particular in working with young people and adults on the autistic spectrum.  She has delivered training on Music & Health at Goldsmiths, University of London, for the MA in Community Music at the University of Limerick and with Sound Connections, ISME, Sing Up and other international music organisations. She previously wrote the SEN activities in the Sing Up Faber Music magazine and song bank.

In community settings Tina focuses on participant led music workshops and utilises improvisation, composition and song-writing to enable the participants to work together and become a team. In educational settings she has worked freelance at a range of schools initially focusing on behavioural therapy but now moving with the times to more psychodynamic centred approaches in both group-work and one to one sessions. Tina worked as the leading SEN Workshop leader for the London Philharmonic Orchestra for ten years – focusing on instrumental skills for those on the autistic spectrum at SEND schools throughout London as well as working freelance in community based recording and band performance skills for young people with autism.

She also delivers vocal workshops in Gospel, World, Pop and Jazz for people with learning, communication and emotional difficulties and has pioneered community music based repertoire linked to Speech & Language Therapy for young people on the autistic spectrum since 2002.


Animate Orchestra

Animate Orchestra offers young musicians in school years 5 to 13 opportunities to play together and create their own music in a ‘Young Person’s Orchestra for the 21st Century’. Members experience the musical teamwork of playing in an orchestra, and bring their own ideas about what an orchestra of the future should look and sound like.

 With specialist tutors and world class musicians as mentors and guides, Animate courses are fun, sociable and musically adventurous. Members are from a wide range of backgrounds and the music created reflects their skills, knowledge and interests.

 For more information about the orchestra and opportunities available to young people, visit:


Connect: Resound

Connect Resound Logo

Connect: Resound is an action research project exploring how digital technologies can be used to deliver music education and enrichment activities to children living in rurally isolated areas. Schools and music organisations are working alongside NYMAZ and our partners UCan Play and the University of Hull to develop new teaching and business models for delivering music education online.  

Following a successful pilot project in North Yorkshire, Connect: Resound has expanded to work with music organisations across the country to deliver and further develop this unique approach to online music education, including North Yorkshire, Durham and Darlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cornwall Music Education Hubs.  The project encompasses online instrumental tuition, live broadcasts of music performances for schools, and a CPD programme for teachers and music leaders, including training in delivering instrumental teaching online, and opportunities for skills development and sharing.


English Folk Dance and Song Society

National Youth Folk Ensemble Logo

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is the national folk arts development organisation for England, existing to champion English traditional folk arts as part of the rich and diverse cultural landscape of the UK. EFDSS’ Education department works to raise the profile and develop the practice of folk music, dance and other arts within education by delivering creative learning projects for children, young people and adults, in formal education and community settings.

Work in schools includes bespoke projects with music education hubs and The Full English, a national digital archive and learning project, through which it worked with schools, cultural organisations and museums across England to bring the hidden treasures of England’s cultural heritage to life. To support teachers, EFDSS’ award-winning Resource Bank provides freely downloadable resources that aim to inspire learning with folk in schools and youth ensembles.

EFDSS’ current work with youth folk music includes the London Youth Folk Ensemble, a mixed ability group of committed young musicians with a passion for playing folk music, and a new National Youth Folk Ensemble funded by Arts Council England.  Launching in October 2016, the National Youth Folk Ensemble will bring together talented young musicians from across England to meet at residential courses; create and perform new arrangements of folk music; and work with leading professional folk artists, including Artistic Director Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead, BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year 2015).  

Heart n Soul's Soundlab

Heart n Soul is an award-winning creative arts company and charity. We believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this power and talent as widely as possible.

SoundLab is Heart n Soul's innovative digital music making project. It is a chance to explore ways of using technology to encourage people with learning disabilities to create sound and music experiences. We have been holding a variety of sessions trying out new digital devices and apps to see what we do (and do not) like. We also take the project to a variety of Heart n Soul events encouraging others to take part and explore digital music making.


Musical Futures

Musical Futures is a tried-and-tested yet innovative approach to music learning, based on a pedagogy that is driven by the musical culture of the participants. It brings real-world music learning processes into schools and other formal settings, engaging and inspiring all and promoting inclusion and diversity. Musical Futures has developed into a national and international network of more than 2,000 teachers and practitioners adapting the approaches in the UK and overseas.

200,000+ young people benefit from Musical Futures every year.

Musical Futures supports primary and secondary schools to transform their music teaching. We share the learning systems, professional development, tools and support needed to embrace an ethos of innovative, inspirational and informal music learning in the classroom and in the community.

Our approach emphasises real-world learning, using methods that are employed by popular musicians and community practitioners outside of formal settings. Musical Futures is about an approach to learning, rather than a specific musical style genre, meaning that it is sustainable and transferable to a range of learning contexts, both within the UK and overseas.


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