Meet our ITP Facilitators

Earlier this spring, we relaunched our acclaimed Identifying Musical Talent and Potential (ITP) training, offering free training to Music Education Hubs in England. Funded by Arts Council England through their Hub Support Programme, this new phase will see AYM reach over 1000 teachers, exploring the skills they need to spot the next generation of musical talent. With the first training sessions starting next month it’s time to introduce our new Associate Facilitators – ten creative and curious musicians with a wealth of experience as performers, educators and community practitioners. They’ll be working with our Programme Producer Naomi Wellings and Lead Facilitators Hugh Nankivell and Neil Phillips to run ITP sessions with Hubs from June onwards. You can book your free session today here.

Meet the team

Sue Baker

Music has always played a major part in Sue’s life and Music has always played a major part in Sue’s life. Since graduating from Trinity College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Sue has had the privilege to work as a professional violinist and a music educator. She has been actively involved in music services and hubs across the country for many years and thrives on meeting the challenges music education constantly faces. Sue led the Music and Performing Arts Service in North East Lincolnshire for 10 years and now enjoys freelancing as a music consultant and teacher in a variety of schools and settings, especially focusing on SEND music intervention programmes. She is very much looking forward to her new role as one of the AYM’s Associate Facilitators. 

Natasha Gawlinski 

Natasha has been working in music education for over 20 years. Originally trained in teaching Key Stage 2 and 3 music she then went on to work in both secondary and primary schools teaching and coordinating music across whole schools. She has also worked for many years teaching woodwind and is currently one of the lead saxophone teachers working for Create Music in Brighton and Hove whilst studying part time for a Masters in the Teaching Musician at Trinity Laban. Natasha also plays saxophone in local big bands and a saxophone quartet.

“I feel really excited to be part of the team of facilitators due to be delivering the IMTP training. It is an amazing opportunity to promote AYM’s philosophy and incredible training programme across the country and hopefully enable so many more children to access musical opportunities within their areas.”

Beth Gifford

Beth is a passionate educator, performer and multi-instrumentalist specialising in group music teaching and English folk dance music. She studied Viola at Birmingham Conservatoire and was a member of the first cohort on Music Master’s and BCU’s PGCEi in group instrumental teaching.

Currently working for Camden Music Service and the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), Beth believes strongly that music should be accessible to all and endeavours to support young musicians in their journey wherever possible e.g. she’s run CPD sessions for EFDSS and Music Mark on folk music for beginner instrumentalists. Participating in AYM’s Identifying Musical Talent and Potential training changed Beth’s perspective as a teacher, giving her the confidence to encourage musical experimentation from her students and help them access more opportunities. Beth is delighted to now be facilitating this fantastic training and to continue her own learning and growth as an educator with AYM.

Jon Kille

Jon has been a music educator for 40 years, beginning his career as a teacher in primary/middle schools and subsequently as head of a music service overseas. He has worked as musician-in-residence in schools all over the world from Italy to the Falkland Islands to Brunei with the common aim of making music accessible to all.  Specialising in creating and delivering whole class instrumental programmes and workshops, Jon thrives on demonstrating the musical energy that can be created by groups of children and students of all ages who are well taught by well-taught teachers.  Becoming one of the Facilitators for the AYM ITMP programme will enable Jon to continue to share his passion for making access to music education fairer for all and he is looking forward to working closely with the energetic AYM team.  

Ben McCabe

Ben plays drums, french horn and sings in numerous bands across rock, folk, jazz, electronica and global music. He has played festivals and had airplay with Deep Cabaret, Natural Causes, Kollega and Paddy Garrigan and the Stroller Priests and also plays with ceilidh band Striding Edge one of Cumbria’s most in demand function bands. 

He is the musical director of Off The Rails creative jazz orchestra, now in its 25th year, founded Orbit Jazz Workshop and leads More Music’s Baybeat Streetband, a vibrant intergenerational community band.

At More Music community music and education charity he delivers creative music making workshops, heads up the early years programme and is the project manager for family friendly festivals in Morecambe including Catch The Wind Kite Festival.

Ben is looking forward to working with Awards for Young Musicians as an Associate Facilitator on the Identifying Musical Talent and Potential Programme. Having had such fantastic opportunities at school he is really glad to have this chance to learn more deeply about the eight facets of musical potential that the team have identified, and to help teachers and music leaders recognise them.

Helen Mead

Helen has been a primary teacher and music specialist for over 20 years. She’s worked for music hubs as a peripatetic instrumental teacher and music curriculum teacher and for the past 11 years she has been based in a vibrant, inner-city primary school in Southampton. Helen is passionate about the importance and impact of music on the lives of every child regardless of their circumstance and loves seeing the joy that music brings to the children she teaches. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, two children and two dogs. Helen is really excited to be involved in the ITMP programme. She is looking forward to empowering  teachers to see the musical potential in their pupils and to share her stories of the impact of music in the classroom.

Clare Portman

Clare’s passion for music grew from a very young age. At three she began to pick out familiar TV theme tunes on the keyboard, and at seven she started writing her own songs. Going on to learn the violin and guitar in her early teens, Clare’s enthusiasm grew further when she studied music at Dartington College of Arts in Devon. She moved to London after graduation, joined several bands, and enjoyed playing gigs all over the country to a variety of audiences.

Clare studied for a PGCE at Goldsmiths College, London, becoming a primary school teacher with a view to eventually teaching music in primary schools. She was a class teacher in a south London school for three years before the opportunity to teach music came up with her local music hub. Within a year she was teaching music exclusively and leading a team of peripatetic tutors. Clare has taught music in several primary schools over the last seven years, and finds it the most rewarding of jobs, especially working with children at primary level.

Clare currently lives in the West Midlands. A freelance musician and music teacher she’s also a singer-songwriter and performs across the Midlands. Clare is very excited to be working with AYM, and ultimately helping many more young musicians gain access to high-quality music lessons.

David Ross

David has over a decade of experience as a music educator, working in primary, secondary, whole class, specialist instrumental and ensemble settings. He is passionate that high quality music education should be available to all and that every young person should be supported to explore their full musical potential. Working as both a teacher and Coordinator for AYM’s Furthering Talent programme with Sheffield Music Hub for more than three years has allowed him to work closely with families, schools and teaching colleagues to break down barriers to access for those who need it the most. David is looking forward to connecting with Music Hub colleagues across the country as a part of the ITMP team.

Rachel Thomas

Rachel is based in Leicestershire where she holds a variety of musical roles including teaching, performing and working as an examiner for Trinity College London. She has recently become Central Bands and Orchestras Lead for Leicestershire Music and is looking forward to enabling more young people in the county to participate in ensemble playing.

After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on French horn, Rachel performed with many leading orchestras in Britain and Europe including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House Orchestra, Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Welsh National Opera Orchestra and the European Sinfonietta. She worked extensively with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra including a world premiere performance for 5 solo horns and orchestra at the BBC Proms in 2003.

Rachel has always taken a keen interest in developing musical talent in children – from leading music education workshops in London’s inner-city schools to performing and teaching music to children from many varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds in Hong Kong. She loves to travel and has a particular fondness for the countries and food of South East Asia.

” I am delighted to be involved with AYM’s ITMP programme. Discovering musical potential in young people and working with them to develop their talent is a hugely satisfying and fulfilling experience, and I am really looking forward to getting started!

Awards for Young Musician’s acclaimed Identifying Musical Talent and Potential (ITP) training is now available to Music Education Hubs through Arts Council England’s Hub Support Programme.

This in-person or online training is delivered by AYM’s Facilitators, using creative musical activities to help teachers identify potential in young people in a wide range of formal and informal educational contexts. AYM’s 8 Facets of Musical Potential are explored using specially created film resources. These films also show how some commonly used group musical activities can challenge teachers’ perspectives of what they are actually learning about the young people participating. 

ITP training is suitable for peripatetic music staff, classroom teachers and music specialists. It tackles one of the biggest obstacles to talented young people’s musical progress: many teachers have limited experience of how to identify musical potential in the first place. Primary school class teachers generally have very little musical training, so their limited confidence can be a stumbling block; this inevitably affects their ability to identify young people’s musical potential in their classes. Alongside this, instrumental teachers working as part of the wider Music Education Hub partnerships can focus too much on instrumental proficiency, which can get in the way of them spotting early potential in a child who has never had the opportunity to play an instrument.   

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