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Meet the Team

A staff team works alongside representatives from our membership

Bridget Whyte - Chief Executive

Bridget was appointed CEO of Music Mark in July 2017 after having worked as a consultant in music education for over 15 years.  She started her career working for the Arts Council in the South East before moving to London to work for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Royal Academy of Music. In 1995 she went freelance and apart from a brief return to employment from ‘97 to ‘99 – as Administrator at Surrey Arts – she worked as a consultant for over 20 years prior to taking up this role. Clients included Youth Music, various music services and hubs, and she worked for the Music Manifesto and subsequently the Department for Education (DfE) to set up and support the National Singing Programme – Sing Up. More recently she was an Associate Lecturer in the Music Department at Surrey University for four years. Her last key freelance role was as Strategic Advisor for the British Council’s World Voice Programme, setting up singing programmes in over 20 countries around the globe.

Rosie Lowe - Membership and Events Manager

Rosie’s main roles are to service Music Mark’s membership on a day-to-day basis including coordinating the renewal process; to be responsible for the day-to-day running and administration of the office; managing, with the team, the development and delivery of the Music Mark Annual Conference, events and training, and to support the Chief Executive in her role and contribute to the continuing development of Music Mark as a strategic lead organisation across the music education sector.

Rosie’s professional background combines her interest in Education and Music. After finishing her Music degree, she worked as a Primary Teaching Assistant for a year, before deciding to make a small career change into the Music Education Sector. She took up the position of Marketing and Fundraising Manager at Berkshire Maestros for a year before moving across to one of the Music Centres as Music Centre Manager. After nearly 3 years of running a vibrant centre for young musicians, she made the move to Music Mark to further her career in the Music Education Sector.

Rachel Shirley - Acting Membership and Events Manager

As Finance & Admin Officer, Rachel is the main point of contact for finance, membership and general enquiries. She supports Rosie with membership administration and in running Music Mark events, and is responsible for invoicing and financial record-keeping.

Rachel’s career to date has combined music, admin and events organisation. Having studied music at Edinburgh Napier University, then gaining an Open University degree in Humanities and an MA in Linguistics, she has worked in administration and finance for organisations such as the University of Sheffield and the UK Research Councils. Prior to joining Music Mark, she was Secretary & Events Coordinator for the British Flute Society. Alongside her Music Mark work, she is a freelance musician and flute teacher and organises events (in Sheffield and online), with a focus on musicians’ wellbeing.

Fi Simpson - Communications and Marketing Manager

As Communications and Marketing Manager, Fi is responsible for the communications and marketing strategy of the charity, ensuring the appropriate level of visibility and recognition for the Music Mark brand and managing communications to members and the wider sector. As well as exploring Press and PR opportunities, she also assists in advocacy, planning and delivery.

Fi has worked in various marketing and support roles for arts charities and educational institutions. Immediately prior to working for Music Mark, she worked for spoken word charity Apples and Snakes as their Marketing Officer. Fi has an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing and a masters in Post-1900 Literature, Theories and Culture. She’s taken two shows to the Edinburgh Fringe; Bumpkins (2018) and Let’s Get Tough (2019). Passionate about all children and young people being able to access meaningful creative opportunities, she’s previously worked as a drama tutor and as a creative writing tutor.

Lucy Lorimer - Communications and Marketing Officer

As Communications and Marketing Officer, Lucy is responsible for communicating the work and impact of Music Mark through our social media, website, and online presence. As well as supporting the team with the day to day running of campaigns and events, Lucy coordinates the School Membership process. Having first joined Music Mark as the Finance and Administration assistant in 2019, she also supports with financial administration and the management of the Music Service License.

Before joining Music Mark, Lucy practiced her instrumental repair skills as an Assistant Repair Technician for the Devon Music Education Hub. She previously studied at Bristol University where she developed her passion for the arts. As a lapsed bassoonist, she is now looking forward to enjoying the new musical opportunities on offer via Zoom and beyond.

Matthew Crisp - Admin Assistant

At Music Mark, Matthew will be monitoring the inbox, responding to enquiries from our membership, and keeping online listings of jobs, events, and resources up to date. Matthew will also be supporting the smooth running of Music Mark events such as webinars and the annual conference.

Matthew studied violin at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he developed a passion for participatory music-making and worked on a diverse array of projects, from sharing in the first musical experiences of babies and toddlers sparkling with rhythm as they made sense of the world for the first time, to experimenting and collaborating with elders who provided new perspectives on our society through their music-making. After a move to York to study an MA in Community Music, and after working as a primary teaching assistant through the pandemic, Matthew now combines his role at Music Mark with work as a freelance musician and violin teacher whilst enjoying cooking, walking and wildlife watching in his spare time.

Emma Archer - Wales

Emma is Head of service for Gwent Music, based in South East Wales. She is also Chair of CAGAC- the Association of Welsh Music Services, and is the Welsh representative for the Benedetti Foundation.

Having studied in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy on cello, Emma initially worked in both the baroque and modern field freelancing with the Welsh Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru and  Welsh National Opera. As a passionate educator Emma has focussed on string development across the region, both as a teacher and conductor.

Alison Bell - East of England

Alison Corfield is currently the Head of Norfolk Music Service and leads Norfolk Music Hub after having spent the last 16 years working in a Music Service capacity, seemingly working her way down the country! Alison attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama’s junior department before embarking on a Music degree at the University of Glasgow where she obtained the Muriel Thorne Hague memorial prize for outstanding classwork and performance. Alison then went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music as a postgraduate where she was awarded the Principal’s Award for contemporary music.

Alison has an interest in a wide variety of music-making due to being a multi-instrumentalist: anything from playing viola at the Millennium Dome (no jokes!) to performing live on stage with Take That! Alison started her career as a supply instrumental teacher for Dumfries and Galloway Council, securing a permanent contract with East Ayrshire Council a few months later where she had herself benefited from lessons and ensemble opportunities as a youngster. Alison then went on to teach and manage a centre for Manchester Music Service for a number of years before becoming Assistant Head of Herefordshire Music Service in 2009 and Area Manager for Lincolnshire Music Service in 2012. Alison had always wanted to be a Head of Service, having been inspired as a child by Andrew Keachie back in Scotland, and in 2016 took the helm in Norfolk. Alison has an outstanding team of peripatetic teachers and a large network of supportive partners who are helping her to shape the future of Music Education in Norfolk and is thrilled to now be joining Music Mark on the Advisory Committee.

In her spare time Alison enjoys spending time on the beautiful North Norfolk coast searching for fossils and visiting theme parks!

Gerard Booth - North West

Gerard Booth has been Head of the Oldham Music Service and Director of Music for Oldham since 2010.  He studied at the RNCM with Stuart Roebuck, Andy Duncan and Brian Kingsley.  Gerard’s performing experience includes playing professionally with the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and East of England Orchestras.  He still regularly performs with a various semi-pro orchestras.

Gerard has also appeared and been a member of many of the country’s top brass bands, including Grimethorpe, Brighouse and Rastrick, Leyland and Foden’s bands as well as being a member ofthe world famous ‘James Shepherd Versatile Brass’ group for over ten years.  Gerard also adjudicates regularly for the National Concert Band Festival and other music competitions.

He has acquired a breadth of experience both as an educator and performing musician and continues to work on a daily basis with young people.  At Oldham Music Service he is responsible for overseeing almost 50 different ensembles which rehearse on a weekly basis at the Music Centre and in community locations and which serve almost 1,000 people.  In addition to this, Music Service staff deliver high quality musical opportunities to over 10,000 young people in Oldham schools every week during term time.  Gerard continues to relish conducting the Oldham Youth Orchestra which was privileged to be selected to perform at the Schools’ Prom in the Royal Albert Hall in 2019.

Ian Burton - East Midlands (MEHEM)

As CEO, Ian has grown Nottingham Music Service from serving 650 to more than 8300 young people, now matching the city’s diverse profile. A nationally respected conductor, composer, arranger, examiner and author, he champions diverse, inclusive musical education, breaking down barriers between different musical genres, styles and ways of working.

Paul Guenault - South East

Paul is the Director of Buckinghamshire Music Trust and has been in this role since October 2014. Before that he spent 23 years in secondary education in various North London boroughs, starting as a music teacher and finishing as headteacher.

He continues to play occasionally as a horn player and pianist and to create music as a composer and arranger.

Mark Steele

Mark Steele - West Midlands

Mark Steele

Sophie Lewis - NYMO

Sophie joined NCO in 2018 as Managing Director to oversee a period of substantial organisational change and development.  NCO is a national orchestral learning programme for over 700 children each year aged 7 to 14 years old from across the UK.  Sophie is responsible for the strategic development and overall management of the charity.

Before this, Sophie spent ten years as Chief Executive of Sinfonia Cymru in Wales, a chamber orchestra dedicated to supporting young professional musicians. During her tenure, the orchestra became a revenue funded organisation by the Arts Council of Wales. For this achievement, Sophie was awarded the inaugural Orchestra Manager of the Year Award by the Association of British Orchestras in 2012. Sophie has held previous roles at Welsh National Opera, Arts Council England and English National Opera and been a Director of the Association of British Orchestras and Trustee of Presteigne Festival as well as an international jury member for Classical Next.

Ian Naylor - Yorkshire & Humberside

Ian is an experienced music educator and conductor who believes that all young people should be given the opportunity to excel as musicians. Before becoming Head of Music Education his portfolio career included working extensively as a cello teacher, Head of Sheffield Music School, freelance cellist and orchestral director. Ian is a multi-award winning director of youth orchestras. With the City of Sheffield Senior Orchestra and the Peak District String Orchestra he has won the Classic FM String and Chamber Orchestra award (2009), the ABRSM Youth Orchestra of the Year award (2011) and most recently the Innovation Awards at the National Festival of Music for Youth in 2014 and 2015. In November 2016 Ian made his conducting début at the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Ian has also conducted Derbyshire County Youth Orchestra, Sheffield Symphonic Strings and orchestras at the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield. He holds a Masters in Conducting, from the University of Sheffield and studied the cello at the University of Manchester.

Dan Somogyi - South West

After a short career in academia as a Cold War historian, Dan Somogyi has worked in the music sector since 1999, first at Jazzeast, the jazz/world music development agency for the East of England, then at SoundStorm, the award-winning music education agency based in Bournemouth in the South West. Dan set up SoundStorm with the late, great jazz drummer Steve Harris in 2002. SoundStorm’s mission was to shake up the music education offer in the Bournemouth/Poole conurbation, with a particular emphasis upon inclusion and contemporary music genres. SoundStorm also supported and established community cultural initiatives, including Bournemouth Modern Jazz Club, Club du Monde world music club, Safehouse Musicians’ Collective, Boscombe Arts Festival and more.

SoundStorm’s education projects rapidly gained a reputation for innovation and quality, and in 2012, the agency became Bournemouth and Poole’s chosen lead partner for the conurbation’s Music Education Hubs, at the same time taking Wave Arts Education Agency under its wing. It has since 3 times won the Major Trophy at the Music Education Council Awards. In April 2019, the Hub expanded to take on Christchurch schools.

Away from SoundStorm, Dan sits on a number of UK music advisory committees and co-wrote the Jazz Services/Arts Council published “Guide for Music Promoters”. Dan has since 2013 chaired the WOMEX World Music Education Network, in Santiago de Compostela, Budapest, Katowice and Las Palmas. He has also programmed music festivals, concert series and, since 2010, the Studio Jazz series for Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, the largest multi-arts centre in the UK outside London. Dan is also a musician himself, playing for the acclaimed African/world jazz fusion band, Thokozile; and the English-Scottish Gaelic collaboration, Far Flung Collective. The latter’s debut album, Far Flung Corners, was launched at Celtic Connections 2017 and received rave reviews, Songlines describing it as ‘….a truly beautiful piece of work … a beguiling, gorgeous and delightful release’.

Michael Summers

Michael Summers - North East

Head of Durham Music Service

Michael Summers

Stuart Whatmore - London

Stuart has been Head of the Tri-borough Music Hub since 2014 and is committed to developing high-quality music education for all pupils across all school settings. With a background as a professional musician and as a qualified teacher, Stuart has brought both these areas of experience together to focus on all pupils accessing first-rate and outstanding music education.

Stuart has developed a reputation for inspiring children and young people to make music. He is also passionate about providing an environment in which music education professionals can develop their skill set to ensure that all children benefit from a consistent and high-quality music education in a cycle of good practice. This approach has led to him creating sustainable progression routes in music for young people and has laid the foundations for many initiatives which involve a broadening of access to music.

In his current job Stuart works closely with the two key strategic partners – Royal Albert Hall and Royal College of Music; as well as having developed links with numerous national organisations. Partnership working is a key driver to widen access and equity to opportunities. Stuart firmly believes in the importance of developing opportunities in the Early Years Foundation Stage and strengthening the links of Early Years pedagogy into mainstream music education.


James Dickinson

James Dickinson - Chair

James Dickinson began learning the French horn with the Hull Music Service and subsequently played in National Youth Orchestra as well as attended the Junior Department of the RCM. He read music at Oxford University (Lady Margaret Hall) and then worked as an orchestral manager and taught brass. After a spell as a mastering studio manager he left music and became marketing manager of two IT companies before becoming Projects & Activities Manager for Hertfordshire Music Service in 2003. He succeeded John Witchell as Head of Hertfordshire Music Service in 2007. Hertfordshire was awarded three Diplomas of Merit from the National Music Council under his leadership.

James was FMS then Music Mark Eastern Regional Convenor 2012-16 and was elected as a Music Mark trustee in 2016 and succeeded Graham Smith as Chair in 2017.  In October 2018, life came full circle when James succeeded Chris Maynard as Head of Hull Music Service, Lead Partner for Hull Music Hub. Based in the purpose build Albemarle Music Centre in the heart of the City, he and his team are committed to “putting music at the heart of Hull.” He played solo horn with Amersham Band until his move north. He is a Trustee of Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Yorkshire Young Musicians.

James Dickinson
David Little headshot

David Little - Treasurer

David Little studied Bass Trombone and conducting at the University of Huddersfield with Leslie Storey and Neville Roberts (Halle) before commencing his work with Wigan Music Service in 1996. Starting with a beginner ensemble of just four cornet players, David led the development of Wigan’s brass department which now operates three full size brass bands and provides young brass musicians for the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, its jazz training ensembles and the Wigan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Many of David’s pupils have gone on to studying at Conservatoire level and some are now in-demand ‘name’ players in the professional performance arena.

David is now Head of Music Service for Wigan Council and takes a prominent role in the management and operations of the Greater Manchester Music Hub. David still finds time to direct the award winning Wigan Youth Brass Band and since 2011 the famous Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. David continues to work as a freelance bass trombonist and his career has included appearances with James Morrison, Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, Pete and Conti Condoli, Gordon Goodwin, Eric Marienthal and Wayne Bergeron. David has worked regularly with many of the UK’s touring big bands and now enjoys working closer to home with the Lancashire based Intrada Brass Ensemble.

David Little headshot

Peter Bolton

Peter has been the chief executive of Kent Music since 2008, a thriving lead partner of the music education hub for Kent, the largest county in the country.

In additional to his music education career, Peter will bring a wide range of experience to Music Mark drawn from 23 years working in arts organisations in this country and abroad.

Posts include manager of the Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, artistic director of Norfolk & Norwich Festival and running his own business Ovation which mixed producing international quality events and festivals with consultancy projects.

Yogesh Dattani

Yogesh is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Ealing Music Service and the Music Education Hub for Ealing and the development of effective and sustainable partnerships with a range of providers for the benefit of children and young people in Ealing.

His previous roles include over 20 years of teaching music in a range of contexts, including instrumental provision in schools, local authority music services & community organisations and management of an all through school-based music department.

Yogesh has been a Governor at 2 primary schools and is currently Vice President for Education at Watford Speakers, a local Toastmasters International club which supports members to become better speakers and leaders.

Yogesh has developed teaching strategies and resources for the teaching and learning of Indian music, which combine the very best of current pedagogical methods to keep children motivated whilst making sound progress from the start. Colleagues in the UK and Europe have benefitted from Yogesh’s workshops at national events, such as Federation of Music Services, National Association of Music Educators and Music Mark annual conferences, as well as bespoke training for music service staff in Hammersmith & Fulham, Southampton, Wiltshire, Harrow, Milton Keynes and Leicestershire.

Areas of expertise: music service leadership & management, partnership development, change management, South Asian music and fundraising.

Martin Fautley

Professor Martin Fautley

Professor Martin Fautley has a long history of research in the area of music education. He has written ten books, published over fifty papers, articles, and book chapters, and presented over one hundred conference papers, research presentations, and keynote addresses on his work.

Martin Fautley

Jan Ford

As Senior Creative Producer with Orchestras Live much of Jan’s work focusses on young people, especially those in challenging circumstances, to help access high quality music and to participate, learn and enjoy music with professional orchestras, musicians, music leaders and composers. She is currently producing a range of projects with Music Education Hubs in England that address social, economic and geographic inequality, provision of music for CYP with additional needs, young people’s voice, curriculum development, ensemble music making, composition and digital delivery. Owner of clarinet and saxophone currently languishing in a cupboard waiting for attention and some new reeds.

Jennifer McKie

Jennifer is the Head of Service for Lincolnshire Music Service which is the lead organisation for Lincolnshire Music Education hub. The Hub was awarded the Music Education Council Major Prize in 2019. Prior to this, she led the Hammersmith & Fulham Music Service for 6 years, working as an Advanced Skills Teacher.

Jennifer graduated with distinction from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Arthur Bliss Prize for singing.

In 2019, Jennifer was awarded the Clore Fellowship demonstrating enriched and transformative cultural practice and engagement.

Peter Smalley

Peter Smalley is the Chief Executive Officer of the Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust, an independent charitable company which fulfils the functions of the former Local Authority Music Service and leads the Northamptonshire Music Education Hub and Rutland Music Education Hub.

Trained at the University of Birmingham, he has had a lifetime of experience in music education, initially in the classroom and then as an instrumental teacher for Staffordshire. In 1993 he moved to Northamptonshire as Head of Brass, serving for 19 years as one of the deputies to Peter Dunkley. In 2012 he became the CEO of the new charity.

Originally a trumpet player, he has experience as a performer, arranger and composer but more recently has focused on conducting. Since 2000 he has been the musical director of the Northamptonshire County Youth Concert Band appearing with them on many national and international stages. As a teacher he has worked on the development of brass pedagogy on a local and national scale: developing local schemes of work, teaching and assessment materials, contributing to the development of major teaching schemes, publications and examination syllabi, as well as being a member of the original Common Approach brass team.

He is a passionate believer in the transformative power of music and the arts for children and young people and the right of all children to benefit from exposure to them. Having been involved with Music Mark since its inception, and FMS since 1992, he understands the need for a collective voice to campaign and advocate for the Music Education sector: supporting colleagues, influencing policy makers and connecting with partners across the industry. “The combined voice of the whole sector is more powerful than any of us individually can hope to be and Music Mark is the vehicle to ensure that voice is heard.”

Charles Hazlewood

Charles Hazlewood - Our Patron

“I was thrilled to be invited to be the first Patron of Music Mark and which I accept with delight. It is a privilege to be a part of this new organisation which builds upon the illustrious pasts of the Federation of Music Services and the National Association of Music Educators and looks forward with vision, ambition and a huge range of talent and skill amongst its membership.

A great music education, up-close and personal, is not a luxury for the few, it’s a birth-right for all! Whether its an opportunity to play a musical instrument or sing or compose or improvise or play in a band or an orchestra (or hopefully all of those and more) music is sovereign amongst all subjects in being able to spark young people’s imagination, unleash their creativity, stimulate their social conscience and galvanise their sense of community and belonging.

The aims of The UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark are a perfect match with my own personal aspirations as a musician, conductor and parent, for all children and young people, whatever their circumstances, to experience the very best music education and I wish the organisation all success in its endeavours in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles.”

About Charles

British conductor Charles Hazlewood occupies a unique position in musical life. His fresh performances of classical music shake up the traditional settings of the form — in one he’ll engage in a conversation with the audience, while in another he’ll blend film or sculpture into a piece – but his goal is always the same: exposing the deep, always-modern joy of orchestral music.

He conducts some of the world’s great orchestras, has had a sell-out show in the West End, won the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear with his South African opera company, has collaborated with some of the top names in the pop music industry, has authored and presented music on BBC television and radio, established the first orchestral alternative to Glastonbury festival and founded the world’s first paraorchestra. His primary and tireless mission is to bring orchestral music alive for a new audience.

Learn more about Charles at his website

Charles Hazlewood