Meet Our Team

Our core team is as follows:

Nick Howdle

Leader f/t – Usual working days: Mon-Fri

Nick has overall responsibility for Wiltshire Music Connect, the achievement of its outcomes and compliance with funding requirements.

Prior to leading Wiltshire Music Connect, Nick spent two years as Manager of Wiltshire Music Service.

His professional experience over the last 20 years has covered a broad range of organisations and settings within and beyond the arts & music including the regeneration of former mining communities in S Yorkshire. He’s backed this extensive experience up by undertaking CPD on an ongoing basis including training in facilitation and effective campaigning.

Nick is a former Director of Programmes at Youth Music, former Director of Sound Connections. He worked with Darren Henley and Marc Jaffrey on the  Music Manifesto Partnership & Advocacy Group,  and also sat on the Mayor of London’s Music Education Steering Group. He contributed key thinking to the National Plan for Music Education.

Nick is a guitarist, singer, songwriter / performer and parent.


Martin Stewart

Development Manager p/t  – Usual working days: Mon-Weds

Leading on

  • First Access (inc subsidies and First Access Champions)
  • Progression (inc. tuition subsidies and some ensembles / groups)
  • CPD within these areas
  • Communications with Associates

Martin leads on all aspects of First Access in Wiltshire, and is ambitious that every pupil has the opportunity to get involved in music making.  As part of progression, Martin oversees subsidy for instrumental tuition. Additionally, Martin’s role extends to managing the Hub’s working relationships with new music making providers to develop ensembles across the county to broaden the offer to children and young people.

As an Associate too, Martin teaches Guitar, Bass and Drum Kit, and has worked with Secondary, Primary, 6th form and Special Schools – specialising in teaching modern musical genres, and music making. Martin also runs Rock and Music Tech projects for young people throughout the year.

He has vast experience of working with pupils with SEND, and has worked successfully with schools in the past to ensure all barriers are minimised to allow these pupils to thrive musically. As an Education Welfare Officer for Bath and North East Somerset, he supported children, families and schools in improving whole school outcomes for pupils.

Martin is an active musician in the south west.

Ruth Jones 

Development Manager p/t – Usual working days: Mon – Weds.

Leading on

  • Singing strategy
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability
  • Communication with young people, parents and carers

When she was 12 Ruth wanted to have her own TV show, and own a pony. Instead she became an arts education specialist with particular experience and expertise in arts and young people at risk, and national, regional and local policy development. No pony. After working for local authority youth services she continued to develop her career as Regional, and then National Director of Artswork, the national youth arts development agency, and later Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon, before leaving to set up and run her own national youth arts consultancy & training company as well as a Community Interest Company to run projects closer to home.

She is an experienced trainer, speaker and conference manager and is the author of Get Sorted the guide to youth arts project planning and fundraising. She has mentored many freelance musicians and music leaders, and provided support to a range of small and medium organisations on organisational development, fundraising, and board development. She was co-founder of Salisbury “singing for non-singers” which later became Salisbury Community Choir and is involved in supporting local community music events

When she’s not working for Music Connect she works for Trinity College London as their national associate for Music and Arts Award and Senior Trainer. Ruth is a practising musician, spent much of her youth playing clarinet in youth orchestras, chamber groups, and punk/indie pop bands, and still regularly plays live gigs with her band, playing bass guitar and singing.

One of her favourite pieces of music: Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell.

Sophie Amstell 

Development Manager p/t – Usual working days: Tues, Weds & Fri.

Sophie leads on schools and curriculum development.

Sophie has worked in the arts learning sector for more than 15 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, a trustee of a dance company and a school governor. She has also been known to take part in the occasional ballet class.

Victoria Moore

Administrator –  Usual working days: Mon -Fri.

Victoria is our Administrator and oversees our marketing and communications strategy as well as general data management, dealing with day to day enquiries, and supporting the stakeholder board.

She enjoys textile design and crafts, including creating her own work as well as visiting exhibitions.