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Nick Howdle and Sophie Amstell of Wiltshire Music Connect

[PODCAST] [3] Breaking the mould: Wiltshire Music Connect’s community development model for a music education hub

In this episode, I’m talking with Nick Howdle and Sophie Amstell of Wiltshire Music Connect, which is a music education hub. Hubs are partnerships of organisations in England, such as local authorities, schools, voluntary and other organisations who receive government funding to create joined-up music education provision in their local area. They’re required to fulfil a number of roles set out for them are part of the government’s national plan for music education to 2020.

The Hub works in quite a different way from other hubs because it has a small, fleet-of-foot team which doesn’t actually deliver music lessons or programmes, but devolves this to a range of music tutors and organisations, and supports local clusters with CPD, networking, and identifying needs.

Listen below or on your podcast app via iTunes, or on Spotify.

What’s in this episode?

We talk about:

  • the model for music education in Wiltshire, what it looks like, why it was set up in this way, and its community development influences
  • how it collaborates with local music tutors, schools, and music education organisations
  • what implications the model has for delivering the core and extension roles that are required by government:
    o whole class instrumental tuition for schools,
    o groups and ensembles and performance opportunities,
    o progression routes,
    o singing strategy,
    o and extension roles which are CPD for school staff, instrument loan service and large scale and high quality musical experiences with professional musicians and venues.
  • how it maintains quality and access
  • how has involved stakeholders in developing communications
  • and we finish with Nick’s tips for other hubs interested in learning from Wiltshire’s approach, and Sophie’s wishes for the future of music education

Apologies for the quality of sound in this episode.

Links for this episode

[VIDEO] About music education hubs

[WEB PAGE] About music education hubs

Wiltshire Music Connect website 

[CASE STUDY PDF] Breaking the mould: new models for First Access in Wiltshire – overview 

[WEB PAGE] First Access case studies

[WEB PAGE] Why music? Leaflets for parents and carers – Primary year 3, Primary year 6/transition and Secondary year 7; GCSE choices, A-level choices and Careers

[WEB PAGE] Why music? Leaflets for schools – Primary – any school can be a musical school, Primary/Secondary – your pupils and music at transition; Secondary – act now and together we can stand up for music in schools; guides for parents and carers, see above.


Read the Music for education and wellbeing podcast [3] TRANSCRIPT: Nick Howdle and Sophie Amstell Wiltshire Music Connect 


About the Music for education & wellbeing podcast

Listen in each month to get ideas, inspiration and practical advice from people involved in music education, community music, music therapy and more. Learn how you can break down barriers to music, through communications, advocacy and inclusive practice.

The music for the podcast was created by Otis Hynds, a young person working with Noise Solution. Noise Solution delivers one-to-one music mentoring programs with people facing challenging circumstances.



As a thank you, you’ll also get six tip sheets, templates and checklists for: social media, communications strategy, getting more traffic to your website, copywriting, blogging and annual reports. You’ll also hear each time a podcast episode is published, and receive an occasional digest of my blogs, plus tips, advice and signposting to useful information and resources.

Need some help with a particular aspect of your communications, or your communications strategy? Contact me.


  1. Music for education and wellbeing podcast: Wiltshire Music Connect’s community development model for a music education hub – Music Education Works on 28th May 2019 at 3:34 pm

    […] this new podcast, Anita Holford, co-editor of Music Education Works, is talking with Nick Howdle and Sophie Amstell […]

  2. Music for Education & Wellbeing podcast [4] YOUNG PEOPLE, MUSIC MENTORING AND DIGITAL STORIES – SIMON GLENISTER, NOISE SOLUTION – Music Education Works on 12th July 2019 at 3:25 pm

    […] this new podcast, Anita Holford, co-editor of Music Education Works, is talking with Simon Glenister, Director of […]

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