Get to know our speakers

We are delighted to introduce you to our diverse, skilled and experienced speakers who are presenting as part of the Connect: Resound Learning Festival.  More information about our workshop leaders and panellists will be added in the coming days.


John Holmes is Chief Examiner and an Executive Director of ABRSM. He has strategic leadership of the ABRSM examining community of around 700 examiners and a department of 20 staff who manage the examining standards, quality and approach of ABRSM assessment. A teacher himself with over 30 years’ experience, John is committed to supporting progress in music teaching and learning worldwide, setting the musical and educational direction of ABRSM’s professional development offer for music teachers.

Sarah Walker works as a Regional Development Executive for ABRSM in the South West and West Midlands. In her varied role, Sarah works with music organisations, schools and Music Hubs & Services to develop closer links with ABRSM in order to support teachers, pupils and ultimately, the progression of musical achievement in the region. Previously, Sarah worked for ten years as a Music Subject Leader in a large state primary school where she established a 50-piece school orchestra. Based in Bath, in her spare time, Sarah enjoys playing the piano and saxophone with a local community orchestra.

Naveen Arles BCA FRSA will be representing MTB. Nav is an energetic, inspirational vocal leader and animateur who founded MDBrunch. Nav’s ability to motivate people to try music and train any group of people means he equally delivers workshops in senior management training courses, with wellbeing support groups and in prisons.  His choirs have toured with Hugh Jackman, Take That, Lulu; performed with George Ezra, Alexandra Burke, Freya Ridings, on all TV channels, for HRH Prince Charles and welcomed the guests for Michelle Obama’s exclusive UK book launch.  Nav’s experience and social justice work has led him to both be invited onto the council of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) and to join a 10 person consultancy panel to advise Hal Leonard Europe on their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies.’

Jean McCreery, from Trinity, has been examining since 2000 and during this time as an examiner has travelled extensively throughout the UK and Europe as well as India, Sri Lanka and Japan. She also works as Regional Consultant for the SE England for the Business Development team for UK & Ireland. She studied recorder and piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Royal College of Music and spent many years playing professionally in both small ensembles and baroque orchestras. She has also has her own teaching practice, specialising in recorder and piano. 

Natalie Christopher joined Trinity‘s Music Academic and Teacher Development departments before joining the UK & Ireland Sector Support team early last year. Her role is to provide a range of support to customers taking their music exams and to collaborate with partner organisations. In addition to this, Natalie has also managed Trinity’s Certificate for Music Educators qualification for the last five years, giving her the opportunity to work with some really inspiring organisations and music educators. She learnt the violin and piano throughout school before studying Music at Oxford Brookes University. She has worked in music education for a number of years, including at Kent Music where she coordinated the music centres and ensemble activity across East Kent, and organised the annual Thanet Rotary Schools Prom.

Nick Howdle is Leader of Wiltshire Music Connect, the Music Education Hub for Wiltshire and has also been Chair of the Wiltshire & Swindon Cultural Education Partnership. His professional experience over the last 20 years has covered a broad range of organisations and settings within and beyond the arts & music. Prior to Wiltshire, Nick worked in London with Sound Connections and then Youth Music. He served on the Music Manifesto Partnership & Advocacy Group (helping shape the National Plan), Music Education Council (MEC) Executive and the Mayor of London’s Music Education Steering Group. He’s backed this extensive experience up by undertaking CPD on an ongoing basis including training in facilitation. mentoring and effective campaigning. He is also, in no particular order, a parent, guitarist, singer and songwriter.

Sophie Amstell leads on schools and curriculum development for Wiltshire Music Connect. Sophie has worked in the arts learning sector for almost 20 years for organisations including Salisbury Festival, Hampshire Dance, Youth Dance England and Brighton Dome & Festival. She has also worked in a number of schools as an adviser and has taught BTEC Performing Arts. When she’s not working for Wiltshire Music Connect she is busy being a mum, non-executive director for a dance company and a school governor. 

Emily Foulkes  is a Singing for Health practitioner, researcher and trainer as well as a singer and choir leader. She has Degree in Performing Arts and an MA in Voice Pedagogy with a specialism in Singing for Mental Health, Pain Management and Trauma Informed Practice. She is a trainer for Trauma Informed Schools UK and is the Director of Music for Good, a music for well-being charity based in Cornwall. Emily is a Senior Lecturer on the MA in Voice Pedagogy for Voice Workshop Ltd. In Cornwall, Emily is a practitioner for the Music Education Hub, Primary Healthcare (Social Prescribing) and for the hospital.


Matthew Annable is a Guitar Teacher based in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Over the past year he has adapted to online teaching and established innovative online Guitar and Ukulele Clubs, with a great interest on how to make online music learning as accessible and successful as possible for people of different abilities and backgrounds. Matthew also has a wealth of experience working with schools and Music Hubs doing small group and ensemble work. His qualifications include a Diploma in Classical Guitar from London College of Music and a First Class degree in Music Production from Leeds College of Music.

Evolve Music is a grassroots community music charity based in the South West. Using sound exploration and improvisation they co-create music with communities and support the development of music leaders and the wider community music sector. Co-creation is at the centre of their work and they wholeheartedly believe that everyone has an innate musical ability.  Through a hands-on creative process, their professional music leaders use games and exercises to extract ideas and skills from a group, enabling them to make music and explore a range of instruments. They don’t focus on reading music or perfecting instrumental skills, but support, facilitate and guide people to freely explore sound and enable them to create original pieces of music in a collaborative and organic way using improvisation. Their work is fully inclusive and enables everyone to get stuck in, have fun, and express themselves individually, as well as part of a group.

Jaka Śkapin is a Slovenian artist, composer and improviser who is releasing a fully collaboratively improvised a cappella album in June 2021. He is also the co-creator of Bodies of Sound (collaboratively improvised voice, movement and camera), musical director of Dancing with Parkinson’s (Danielle Teale Dance), and a facilitator for the Daily 10 & 6, which provides daily 20min vocal improvisation sessions for the UK and international singing community.   


Lottie Brook is the Learning & Participation Officer at National Centre for Early Music. The NCEM promotes public understanding and enjoyment of early music through historically informed performances, festivals and digital technology, supported by a clearly focused learning and participation programme, promoted locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The NCEM is a significant regional venue for music and creative learning, offering high quality concerts across a range of musical genres, engaging with a wide, cultural diverse artistic and audience base, to ensure that individuals from all walks of life have the opportunity to positively engage with music making. Music4U is their Youth Music funded programme which provides a wide range of musical activities for children and young people in challenging circumstances across the East Riding, York and Hull. One particular strand of this worK is I Can Play which provides activities for D/deaf children and young people through workshops, one to one sessions and now digital resources.

Sarah Sharman has worked with Leicester-Shire Schools Music Service since June 2020, creating and curating a range of online performance opportunities for ensembles. LSMS have sought to inspire students with diverse virtual learning programmes to ensure that young people continue to be engaged with music and that high quality music provision has continued despite the pandemic. Prior to 2020, Sarah has worked for OneStage Specialist Concert Tours  setting up concerts and festivals across Europe, as Residency Producer for the Sistema European Youth Orchestra and for the Ingenium Trust.  Sarah plays piano and violin and has a degree in Modern Languages.

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) will be sharing their way of thinking and giving an insight into the Stay At Home Choir. NYCGB inspires and empowers young people throughout the UK with the life-changing experience of singing together. Founded in 1983, it comprises five choirs of over 850 young people aged 9-27 – who join together for intensive rehearsal experiences, musicianship training and high-profile performances – and two training programmes for emerging professional artists: NYCGB Fellowship and Young Composers Scheme. The Stay At Home Choir is an online music-making platform founded by Tori Longdon and Jamie Wright. They produce virtual choirs which have allowed more than 27,000 amateur singers from around the world to meet and collaborate with their favourite artists over the internet. Recent projects have included collaborations with Gareth Malone, The King’s Singers, Voces8, The Swingles, John Rutter, Sir Karl Jenkins, conductor Marin Alsop, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Their projects culminate in  huge virtual videos made of members recordings from home.

Ben O’Sullivan is Creative Director at The Music Works. Ben has spent over 20 years in music education, designing, fundraising for and leading on programs in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and most recently Gloucestershire. In 2011 Ben co-founded The Songwriting Charity, helping thousands of young people write songs from scratch in a day. In 2018 he joined The Music Works as Creative Director for Education. The Music Works partners with 50 schools a year and around 3000 young people. In 2021, led by their Youth Advisory Board, they launched the first fully inclusive music studio in the county; designed by young people for young people to further increase access to music for those most fed up with how music and music education is traditionally perceived and delivered. Throughout the lockdowns The Music Works continued to reach many hundreds of young people through one-to-one mentoring, small group songwriting and music production and large ensemble songwriting programs such as the programme that culminated in the release of Every Rainbow Drawn.

Andrea Wright is a Chartered Physiotherapist, Somatic Educator and Integrative therapist, bringing over 20 years of experience working in the health and wellbeing industry. Naturally curious, Andrea’s work explores the bodymind connection using embodied, creative methods enabling her clients to develop skilful tools to manage their mental and physical wellbeing. Her previous experience in the public, corporate and private settings as an ergonomist and musculoskeletal clinician, has given her a breadth of expertise working with a variety of population groups in and out of the workplace. Her psychological and trauma informed practice provides a holistic approach underpinning in her work with individuals and groups with complex health needs and those from underserved groups. She is the founder of Black Swan Wellness to Work Initiative; an employability project supporting Black people with mental health and chronic pain and their carers in Lambeth to increase their income potential.


Benjamin Redman is a musician and an instrumental music teacher in a local authority in Scotland. He trained as a percussionist and has performed internationally in a wide variety of styles and genres, including orchestras, jazz ensembles, and traditional/folk music. Benjamin is also a doctoral researcher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His research interests include the use of videoconferencing and LoLa technology in instrumental music teaching. He has presented his research at national and international conferences, including conservatoires in Copenhagen (2017), Milan (2018), and Oslo (2019). He was co-editor of the Scottish Journal of Performance from 2016–2018. 

Jonathan Savage is Managing Director of UCan Play, a not-for-profit sales and consultancy company supporting music education across the United Kingdom. He was Reader in Education at Manchester Metropolitan University for the past 20 years, educating over 1000 postgraduate music teachers. Jonathan has chaired the Expert Subject Panel for Music for the Department for Education and also led the implementation of the previous two iterations of National Curriculum for Music across England. Jonathan has worked as an education consultant for the Musicians’ Union, the BBC (including CBeebies and GCSE Bitesize), NYMAZ, the Greater Manchester Music Hub, Steinway & Sons, Roland UK. He is a published author with Routledge, Sage and the Open University Press, having written 17 books, edited many others and also written extensively for academic journals all over the world. He is a regular speaker on issues regarding music education and the arts on national radio.

David Barnard is an Education Official for the Musicians’ Union and a freelance consultant specialising in music education. His clients have included Roland Europe, I Like Music, Music for All plus music education hubs and co-operatives. 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 Diplomas in Management and Employment Law. He 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: Director 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 co-founder and Chairman of Resonance – a new higher education provider specialising in music and education, and is a trustee of the Ernest Read Music Trust.

Emily Foulkes  is a Singing for Health practitioner, researcher and trainer as well as a singer and choir leader. She has Degree in Performing Arts and an MA in Voice Pedagogy with a specialism in Singing for Mental Health, Pain Management and Trauma Informed Practice. She is a trainer for Trauma Informed Schools UK and is the Director of Music for Good, a music for well-being charity based in Cornwall. Emily is a Senior Lecturer on the MA in Voice Pedagogy for Voice Workshop Ltd. In Cornwall, Emily is a practitioner for the Music Education Hub, Primary Healthcare (Social Prescribing) and for the hospital.

Pete Moser is a composer, performer, producer and facilitator and was the founder and Artistic Director of More Music. He has written scores for theatre, opera and dance projects as well as songs for occasions and large-scale choral and orchestral pieces. Pete is a multi-instrumentalist and teaches percussion, voice, brass and songwriting as well as the art of running workshops.  He co-edited and wrote chapters in ‘Community Music : A Handbook’, which is aimed at inspiring and empowering music leaders. Over 25 years, his work at More Music saw programmes involve thousands people of all ages in creative music making and performance. He is committed to creating opportunities for people from across the social spectrum to access music making that can transform their lives and has worked with Youth Music to change the way that Music Education Hubs approach music making. Pete was the Co Chair for the ISME Community Music Activity Seminar in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2018 and Co Chair of the APCMN Online Gatherings in 2020. He is also the Fastest-One-Man-Band-In-The-World.


Patrick Nicholls is a musician and music education specialist with over thirty years experience of teaching, composing and performing. He has provided training workshops for schools, conferences, post-graduate teacher training, percussion and vocal workshops, curriculum music tuition (KS1/2/3), piano tuition and specialist music tuition for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). He has been a workshop leader and composer for the Bayliss Programme at the English National Opera, written and conducted cantatas for large scale children’s performances, rehearsed choirs for performances with the BBC Concert Orchestra, led and composed music for community performances at the South Bank, London and worked as an educational consultant for the Royal Marine School of Music co-leading interactive workshops for audiences of up to 600 children. Patrick has also worked professionally as a jazz pianist, performing at the South Bank Centre, the Vortex Jazz Club and Donmar Warehouse and as a workshop leader for percussion, voice and jazz performance.He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Teach Portsmouth Awards in 2019 and has an MA in Film Composition from Kingston University.

Alan Cameron is a Scottish composer, teacher and former Music Advisor with two local authorities and is currently working as an Education Advisor with online recording studio Soundtrap, a Spotify company. In Scotland’s largest Music Service, City of Glasgow, Alan’s responsibilities included organising and leading curriculum development for primary music specialists, secondary music classroom teachers and instrumental staff. He managed and led the Glasgow Schools Symphony Orchestra residential courses and concerts. In Dumfries & Galloway, Alan introduced an innovative distance learning programme for instrumental music teaching via Polycom Video Conferencing, four years before the availability of broadband for schools. In 2006, Alan worked in partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra to deliver distance learning masterclasses to remote primary schools. Alan engaged the UK’s first ever virtual tutor, Grant Golding, in teaching brass instruments via video-link in 2005. The initial pilot programme was deemed a great success by the evaluation team at Warwick University and Alan shared this work at conferences across the world. He has also composed music for various purposes, including the theme tune for the BBC TV news programme ‘Reporting Scotland’.

Harriet Clifford is the recently-appointed editor of Music Teacher magazine. She studied English Literature at the University of York, and is dedicated to supporting music educators to provide every child and young person with access to a high quality music education. Harriet is also a freelance journalist writing about the arts, education, mental health, and wider issues that affect young people.

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