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Great Leadership = Great Music Hubs

14th May 2024

Music Mark has teamed up with The Leadership Collective to create a bespoke leadership programme to enable your team to find the best ways of working together, and to create empowered, inclusive and thriving work cultures. The programme was piloted last year with Merton Music Foundation, and their Operations Director, David Rees, has told us more about their experiences on the programme and how it has benefitted their Senior Leadership Team.


We spend so much time dealing with problems, answering queries and living in the day-to-day busy-ness of Hub-life (load the van, unload the van – repeat ad nauseum). If we’re lucky, we get to spend some time each term worrying about supporting and developing our teams – planning INSET sessions or having one-to-one conversations.

But how much time do we as senior leaders spend thinking about our own learning and development?

Merton Music Foundation (MMF) has been travelling at a thousand miles per hour since the Pandemic. We’ve moved premises; re-visioned; developed two new Music Centres; and re-shaped our staffing structures. There has been so much progress in such a short period of time, with EDI being a central area of our development. The Senior Leadership Team is comprised of four people, having grown from a team of three pre-pandemic. As an SLT, we want to be purposeful about our organisational culture and ways of working; to help us sustain the rate of progress kick-started by lockdown.

We first started working with The Leadership Collective (TLC) through Music Mark’s Hub Support Programme. Having attended a couple of TLC’s sessions online, I contacted Rosie Lowe in January 2023 to ask if there was scope for a structured training programme to support our SLT to build its leadership capacity. Rosie discussed the idea with Carmel Cardona from TLC, who came back with a proposed format of two workshops with the whole SLT, interspersed with individual coaching sessions. We went ahead with the programme across Summer 2023 and the following Autumn Term.


Benefits from the course

Participating in the course benefitted each of us in different ways, it was great that the coaching sessions were so tailored to each of our individual needs and priorities. The group workshops helped us to be more open as a team and recognise how much we agreed on in relation to our ambitions for the organisation. There was one exercise we did that helped us to identify each other’s strengths and personality types.

Seeing ourselves as the sum of all these strengths really helped us to think about how we can support each other and our colleagues better. Most importantly, all of the sessions gave us time to step back and meaningfully reflect, both individually and as a group. Quality time to engage in leadership like this is gold dust!

Just like playing an instrument, leadership is a skill that must be learnt and practised. I’d recommend any Hub leadership team to consider how you are supporting yourselves to develop as leaders. The Leadership Development Programme is a great format to start or continue this work – so why not give it a try?



David Rees, Operations Director – Merton Music Foundation

Founded as an independent charity in 1991, Merton Music Foundation (MMF) has been providing high quality music, arts and cultural education programmes to the young people of the London Borough of Merton and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. The Foundation operates four Music Centres and delivers a range of ambitious and high-profile special projects and events. MMF also teaches instrumental and whole-class lessons in over 40 schools locally, delivering over 800 hours of music-making every week.

Click here for more information about the Leadership Development Programme.