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Meet the Team

A staff team works alongside representatives from our membership

Bridget Whyte - Chief Executive

Bridget Whyte was appointed as CEO in 2017 having previously worked as a freelance consultant for various organisations including the Department for Education, Arts Council England, Sing Up, Youth Music and the British Council.  In recent years much of her work has been advocating for singing as an important part of education firstly through the setting up and then supporting at a senior level the English National Singing Programme – Sing Up, and then working for over four years to set up singing programmes to support educational learning across the world for the British Council.

“I’ve had the privilege of talking to musicians, teachers and young people in over 20 countries across the world throughout my career.  Each of those conversations has reinforced my belief in the power of music to transform lives and bring peoples together” 

Rosie Lowe - Membership and Events Manager (On Maternity Leave)

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.

Matthew Crisp - Admin Assistant

Matthew monitors the info@musicmark.org.uk inbox, responding to enquiries from our membership, and keeping online listings of jobs, events, and resources up to date. Matthew also provides administrative support to the Music Mark team and assists in the smooth running of 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 collaborating with elders providing 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 during the pandemic, Matthew now combines his role at Music Mark with work as a freelance musician and violin teacher.

“My favourite piece of music is Nina Simone’s ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’. I could listen to her 1976 live from Montreux recording of the song on repeat, the piano meandering, the drums ticking away, ‘soar to the sun and look down at the sea’, and Simone fighting for justice.”

Fi Simpson - Communications and Marketing Manager

Fi joined Music Mark as Communications and Marketing Manager in 2019 and is responsible for the communications and marketing strategy of the charity, running key campaigns and ensuring Music Mark is an effective voice for its membership advocating for the importance of Music Education. Alongside Marketing Officer Lucy she works on keeping in touch with the membership, the wider sector and new audiences via newsletters, the website and social media and on promoting the annual Music Mark conference. Immediately prior to working for Music Mark, she worked for spoken word charity Apples and Snakes as their Marketing Officer.

“My musical high point was entering a singing competition and getting the feedback ‘you sang a lot of notes, unfortunately none of them came together to form a key’ and promptly forming a punk/ grunge band called Bedlam”

Lucy Lorimer - Communications and Marketing Officer

As Communications and Marketing Officer, Lucy works alongside Fi to communicate the work and impact of Music Mark through our social media, website content, and newsletters. As well as supporting the team with the day to day running of campaigns and events, Lucy works with Music Mark members and Industry Partners to help promote their work. With experience in writing and design, highlights at Music Mark have included coordinating the national advocacy campaign ‘Get Playing’ and designing Music Mark’s Annual Reviews. Prior to joining Music Mark, Lucy worked at the Devon Music Education Hub as an Assistant Repair Technician, happily spending her days cleaning stuck trumpet valves and counting ukuleles.

“One of my favourite musical moments was when I first had a go on the bassoon. Having played the flute before, getting to play such low notes was a novelty and fortunately I was able to hire one through the local music service in Devon. A few years later when I worked at that music service, I came across the same bassoon that I’d learned on – it was like seeing a friend!” 

Aled Marshman

Aled Marshman - Wales

Aled Marshman
Phil Needham

Phil Needham

Phil Needham

Gerard Booth - North West Advisory Committee Member – Director of Music and Head of Oldham Music Service

Gerard Booth has been Head of the Oldham Music Service 2010.  After graduating from the RNCM he developed a career blending teaching alongside performing with ensembles such as the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic as well as various chamber groups including the world famous ‘James Shepherd Versatile Brass’ group for over ten years.  Gerard adjudicates regularly for the National Concert Band Festival and other music competitions and still regularly performs with various bands and orchestras.

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.

My favourite piece of music is ‘An Alpine Symphony’ by Richard Strauss.  I could give a long-winded answer about the complexity of the harmonic writing and the brilliance of the orchestration, but the fact is that it’s just epic and the sound of a 100 piece plus orchestra at ‘full tilt’ always takes my breath away.  For me, this emotional and almost visceral response is what still inspires me to make music.”

Ian Burton - East Midlands (MEHEM) Advisory Committee Member – CEO of Nottingham Music Service

Ian has grown Nottingham Music Service over the last decade from serving 650 to more than 8000 young people, who now fully match the city’s diverse profile. 

 

He has previously held posts in many areas of music education. He’s a member of several national music development groups and has been a principal examiner in composing for A-level music and a subject adviser for GCSE music. Ian is author of several music education books published by Rhinegold. He has also been an Ofsted inspector. 

 

He is active as a conductor/composer/arranger and has founded several orchestras that aim to break down barriers between different musical genres, styles and ways of working.

 

“My favourite piece of music tends to be whatever I am listening to at the moment, especially when it is something I am arranging: I find that the process of getting deep inside a piece in order to rethink it for another medium nearly always deepens my love for the music.”

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 - Advisory Committee member for West Midlands – Coventry Music Lead

Mark has been the Lead for Coventry Music since September 2017, having previously worked in Sheffield and Wakefield Music Service/Hubs and at the charity Orchestra’s for All. Mark has developed the redesigned Hub in Coventry to work with a broader and more diverse group of young people including work in all alternative provision sites in the city, including transformative music programmes enabling young people to return to mainstream settings through the power of music. Music being made accessible for all young people on their terms is core to his belief as an educator and what he strives to do every day.

“My favourite piece of music is Graffiti by Maximo Park – a band that me and my now wife bonded over at Uni.”

Sophie Lewis - National Youth Music Organisation Committee Member – Chief Executive National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain

Sophie joined NCO in 2018 as Chief Executive 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. Her successful leadership was acknowledged in 2012 when she won  the inaugural Orchestra Manager of the Year Award by the Association of British Orchestras.  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 (ABO) and Trustee of Presteigne Festival as well as an international jury member for Classical Next. A regular panellist at industry events, Sophie also regularly acts as a mentor as part of leadership programmes run by the ABO and British Council.

“My favourite piece of music is Appalachian Spring by Copland because it makes me smile and cry (in a good way and not at the same time!). Also, it reminds me of my year out working at a dude ranch in Michigan – crazy, happy times!”

Ben Stevens

Ben Stevens

Ben Stevens

Kath Page - Advisory Committee member for the South West - Manager of Southampton and IOW Music Hubs

Kath trained as a secondary music teacher after completing a music degree at Exeter University. Kath worked in many schools across the Southwest region, winning the Teacher of the Year in 2002 before stepping out of the classroom and into advisory roles.. She was the secondary music consultant in Hampshire before joining the Southampton Schools Inspectorate in 2008. Alongside this role Kath went on to become an Artsmark assessor and KS2 strategy trainer. Kath now leads two music hubs and is a lecturer at Winchester University for Music Education

“The musician I would most like to perform with is Elton John – and I almost managed it once! I grew up with his music, and being from Watford, and from a family of football fans I heard about him all the time!”

 

Stuart Whatmore - Advisory Committee member for London - Head of Tri-Borough Music Hub

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.

“Music has been the driving force in my life. It has brought opportunity, challenge, life-long friendships and experiences, and an avenue for expression in many forms. Without having had the experiences I was afforded when I was young, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now and I wouldn’t be the person who I am today”.

 

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

Peter Smalley - Vice Chair

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.”

Peter Bolton - Treasurer

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 - EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Lead

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.

Emma Calvert

Emma was appointed Head of Service for East Riding Schools’ Music Service in 2018 having worked both in music services and the classroom for 18 years. Having spent her career as a secondary classroom teacher and pastoral head, instrumentalist and within music services both as a teacher and leader, she is able to bring a range of skills and experience to her current role.

Emma is a passionate exponent of the importance of music in children and young people’s lives and the right for all to have access to high-quality musical education, activities and experience.

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.

David Little headshot

David Little

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

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.

Thom Meredith

From a young age, Thom has been immersed in music as a singer and instrumentalist. He attended a comprehensive school in Leeds before obtaining a Music degree from Oxford University, then a PGCE from Leeds.

After 11 exciting years teaching in both secondary and in special schools, Thom was appointed Vice Principal and later Principal of Musica Kirklees. When restrictions allow, he maintains an active role as a solo singer, conductor, workshop leader and course tutor as well as championing making-making in Kirklees.

Thom has previously been a Reginal Convenor for Music Mark, and is now pleased to serve as a Trustee.

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, winner of the J.M. Barrie Award, is a former lecturer at The University of Birmingham and the mother of seven children. She is also winner of The Royal Philharmonic Society Story-Telling Award for her memoir, ‘House of Music, Raising the Kanneh-Masons’, published by Oneworld in 2020.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, her third eldest was the first black musician to win BBC Young Musician in 2016 and performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Two of his siblings are also former BBC Young Musician category finalists and the eldest, pianist Isata, has also presented for the Proms. Collectively, the Kanneh-Masons have performed at the 2018 BAFTA Ceremony, the 2021 BBC Proms, released an album, Carnival, with Decca Classics and played in concert halls across the world. During the lockdown months, the Kanneh-Masons garnered huge audiences for their popular Facebook live performances from their family home in Nottingham. These precious moments of family life and music have been beautifully captured in three BBC documentaries;  ‘Young, Gifted and Classical, The Making of a Maestro’ in 2016; the 2020 Imagine documentary, ‘This House is Full of Music’, and the most recent, ‘A Musical Family Christmas with the Kanneh-Masons’.

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