Supporting and Sustaining
musical progression for all


The Music Commission panel comprises of key people within the music and music education sector who have expertise, experience and insights into how music is taught and learned

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Chair

Sir Nicholas became Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in October 2007. He was Director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007. As a music critic has written for the New Yorker, The Times and Observer, and was Editor of Early Music between 1983 an 1992.

He was appointed Controller of BBC Radio 3 in 1992, and was responsible for the award-winning seasons Fairest Isle and Sounding the Century. He then oversaw the BBC's programming for the millennium and ran the BBC's Live Events and TV Classical Music departments, which mounted the Queen's Jubilee concerts of 2002. He has continued to write and lecture on the arts, publishing books on Mozart, Simon Rattle, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and early music. He is a board member of Sage Gateshead. He was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours and in 2011 received the British Academy President’s medal for outstanding service to the arts and humanities.

Carolyn Baxendale

Carolyn graduated with a Masters in Music from the University of Manchester in 1984 and has followed this with a career in music education. After teaching music in the primary and secondary sector Carolyn joined Bolton Music Service in 1999, as an Advanced Skills teacher. Since taking up the post of Head of Bolton Music Service in 2007 she has focused on increasing the impact of the service with local schools and other stakeholders, working with a wider range of partners and creating a secure profile for music education, both locally and further afield. Bolton Music Service is now the lead partner in the Greater Manchester Music Hub.

Carolyn is Head of Bolton Music Service and leads the GM Music Hub. She is currently a board member at the RNCM, Chetham’s School of Music and the new charity Trust Music. She contributes to the national music education landscape through her work as a member of the ABRSM Music Education Advisory Board and as a trustee of Music Mark. Her musical expertise lies in choral training and direction and she currently directs a number of local youth and adult choirs.

Claire Whitaker

Claire Whitaker OBE is a Director of live music producers, Serious and the EFG London Jazz Festival. Her track record as a cultural producer, having created work all over the UK, as well as Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, is matched by her skills in strategy, business planning, finance, governance, communications, entrepreneurship, diversity and partnership working. She is committed to nurturing, supporting and developing talent and passionate about enabling wide and diverse audiences to experience music, arts and culture. Claire is currently Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and a Fellow of the Marketing Society.

Abel Selaocoe

South African cellist Abel Selaocoe made his debut at the Bridgewater Hall, showcasing Tim Garland’s Cello and Saxophone Double Concerto. Abel has also worked extensively as a soloist in South Africa, performing concertos with Johannesburg and Kwazulu-Natal Orchestras. He is currently a finalist of the RNCM Gold Medal Competition – the highest platform the conservatoire offers to soloists.

Abel is an artist keen to explore new boundaries of the cello, he regularly collaborates with jazz, World and African musicians. His love of improvisation and world music led him to co-founding Project Jam Sandwich, a global folk fusion quintet whose success has led them to performing in festivals all over the UK, from the BBC Proms to Ulverston International Festival, as well as several broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.

Received the following awards: The John Hosier Trust Award (Sir Simon Rattle as Patron), Howarth Trust Scholarship, Help Musicians Suggia Gift and Karl Motesiczky Scholarship.

Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education and Doctorate of Education Manager, University of Cambridge

Pamela Burnard

Pamela Burnard is Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education where she is manager of the Professional Doctorate programme with a mandate to develop best practice for training and education in innovative contemporary and traditional approaches to practice-based, participatory, and arts-based research (

She is a conservatoire-trained musician, an academic, researcher, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Homerton College and The Arts in Society Research Network. She is founder-convenor of CIAN, an intercultural arts network ( and the biennial international BIBACC conference ( She is a re-elected board member of the National Association of Music in Higher Education (NAMHE). She also sits on the Creative Industries Federation HE/FE working party and was twice elected to the Board of Directors for ISME (2002-2006).

Known internationally for her research on diverse creativities in music of all kinds, with 17 books authored/co-authored/edited and 100 published articles and book chapters, her work addresses crucial issues concerning music (and the arts) in contemporary society. Professor Burnard is dedicated to advancing instrumental and vocal music teaching and learning, teaching music creatively and teaching for diverse musical creativities and their assessment. She is an ardent advocate of practice-based research, arts-informed and a/r/t/ographic inquiry. In this field her ambition is to re- envisage how musical creativities can be developed through innovative practices and key evaluation criteria.

Paul Roberts OBE

Paul held Director of Education posts in Nottingham and London, was a Director of Capita Strategic Education Services before joining the IDeA (the Improvement and Development Agency for local government) where he was Director of Strategy and subsequently Managing Director.

In parallel to his career in education and local government Paul was adviser to UK government Ministers on the development of cultural education for young people. He was author of the DfE/DCMS-commissioned report “Nurturing Creativity in Young People”.

He is currently Chair of the Innovation Unit, Chair of Nottingham Music Education Hub, vice-Chair at Nottingham Contemporary, deputy-Chair at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, a member of the DfE Music Education Hub Advisory Board and a member of the Arts Council steering group for In Harmony. He was a commissioner for the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, served on a range of committees at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and has been a Board member of the Greenwood Academy Trust. He is adviser to the Arts Council on their development of national peer learning networks for Music Education Hubs and Cultural Education Partnerships.

Paul’s recent writing includes contribution to “Organisational Innovation in Public Services” and joint authorship of “The Virtuous Circle – why creativity and cultural education count.” Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to Education and the Creative Industries.

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan leads Nesta's creative and digital economy policy and research.

His recent work includes co-authoring the Next Gen skills review of the video games and visual effects industries, which has led to wholesale reforms of the school ICT and computing curriculum in England, and the Manifesto for the Creative Economy, which sets out ten recommendations by which governments can help the creative economy grow.

Hasan has a particular interest in data and experimental research methods: in 2010, he designed and piloted in Manchester Creative Credits, a business support scheme structured as a randomised controlled trial; in 2011, he devised the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts which has been piloted in England, Scotland and Wales, and rolled out in a three-year partnership with Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Prior to Nesta, Hasan worked as Executive Director and Senior International Economist at Lehman Brothers, and as Deputy Chief Economist at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He has eight years’ experience as an economist at the Bank of England. Hasan has published widely in academic journals and policy publications on topics ranging from technological progress and economic growth to the economics of the creative and cultural sector.

He has also consulted for a number of organisations, including the European Commission, Film London and the British Film Institute. 

Hasan has a BA in Economics from Cambridge and an MPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford. He is also Adjunct Professor of Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology, and in 2013 was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton for his work on economic policy for the creative industries. In the 2015 New Years Honours he was awarded an MBE for services to the creative industries.

Hasan is a founding member of the government’s Creative Industries Council.

Sam Jackson

Sam Jackson is a senior member of the team at Global, the media and entertainment company, where he holds the position of Managing Editor, Classic FM and Smooth Radio.  He is responsible for the stations’ on-air output, and has held this role for Classic FM since 2011.  He took on additional responsibility for Smooth Radio in 2016.

Sam’s role includes oversight of music policy, programming of the Classic FM Live concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and work across the two brands’ range of books, downloads and album releases. During his time as Managing Editor, Classic FM has been named both UK Radio Brand of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards and Best Classical Format at the New York International Radio Festival.

Sam has worked at Classic FM since 2004.  He spent three years as the station’s Executive Producer and Head of Music, and caught the radio bug whilst at university, where he undertook a placement at BBC Radio York.  As a student, Sam was also a member of the inaugural Classic FM Consumer Panel, chaired by the former Culture Secretary, Chris Smith.  He was twice chosen for The Radio Academy’s 30 Under 30 and, in 2012, was the only person working in radio to be named in the Music Week 30 Under 30. For five years, Sam also moonlighted as a presenter on FUN Kids, where he got to talk to an audience of seven year olds about Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.

Sam sits on the boards of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, YCAT, and The Grange Festival.  He is the author of several books on classical music, and also writes about life as a father of four young children.  His parenting book, Diary of a Desperate Dad, is published by Elliott and Thompson. 


The Music Commission is supported by an academic partner and a research reference group. It aims to publish periodic research reports and will publish its final report in summer 2018. The Music Commission will also make available the minutes of its meetings and other documents related to its work. You will be able to access and download Music Commission research, publications and documents here.

Take Part

The Music Commission wants to hear from you. In this section you can take part in a survey giving you the opportunity to shape the views and work of the Music Commission.


Take part in the Music Commission Survey - available from October 2017.


Make a submission to the Music Commission. Access our guidance for submissions here


Let us know about your work. You can send research, photographs and other resources to:
Include your name and contact details so we can get back to you if we need to.


In this section you can find resources that you may find useful. Here we showcase good practice, provide links to research and documents that may stimulate debate and ideas to support and sustain musical learning. Our first featured report is called Making Music, a ground-breaking 2014 study commissioned by ABRSM, offering insights into the teaching, learning and playing of instruments in the UK today.


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