Nigel M Taylor is an honours graduate of Durham University and was awarded his Master’s degree with distinction from the University of Manchester. He holds a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and is a member of the UK’s Music Education Council, of Music Mark, and of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Nigel began learning the piano at the age of 5 and was soon performing concerts and accompanying hymns at his local church. He moved to Australia when he was almost 11 but barely touched a piano for the next two years. On returning to Bolton he began studies with Barbara Holt, and went on to win a number of prestigious music festival piano prizes. He became a noted accompanist and sought-after piano teacher. He studied organ, double bass and percussion, playing in Bolton Youth Orchestra and other youth and amateur orchestras in the north of England.
Nigel began his full-time career as a secondary music teacher in Bolton, appointed to the school in which he was a former pupil. After two years he was promoted to be head of music and drama in a large Wigan high school.
Three years later he was appointed as Head of Bolton Music Service. There, he led the huge expansion of instrumental and vocal teaching services to schools and pupils in the borough. He directed a newly-energised Bolton Music Centre and conducted its youth orchestra and youth concert band, both of which gained national awards at the National Festival of Music for Youth; the youth concert band going on to gain acclaim and prizes at the National Wind Band Festival, Schools’ Prom, European Wind Band Festival and the World Music Contest. Nigel won the first ever Boosey & Hawkes “Outstanding Conductor” prize. He co-founded the International Youth Philharmonic Orchestra: a partnership between Bolton and its twin towns – Paderborn in Germany and Le Mans in France. During this time he was founder-conductor of Bolton Symphony Orchestra, Corus Brass Ensemble and Harmonie ’84 Wind Orchestra.
Nigel became Shropshire’s County Music Adviser at the age of 33, one of the youngest Local Education Authority (LEA) advisers ever appointed in England. For seven years he led the provision of professional development, training and support for teachers in the county’s 300+ primary and secondary schools and he oversaw the substantial growth of the county’s music service, forging new partnerships with regional and national music organisations.
Nigel joined Staffordshire County Council, initially as its Inspector for Music and Performing Arts, and going on to enjoy sixteen years of professional growth and development. He became Head of Staffordshire Performing Arts (SPA), the county’s music service which, under his leadership, was twice judged as “Outstanding” in external reviews; it also won the Diploma of Merit from the National Music Council.
As continuing head of SPA he went on to hold concurrent roles: firstly as Deputy Head of QLS (Staffordshire’s school improvement service). He was then promoted to be Assistant Director of Education & Lifelong Learning, where he headed the County Council’s cultural development division, leading on cultural education policy and overseeing the work of the Arts & Museums Services, the Archives Service, and SPA.
Nigel led the partnership which founded “Make Some Noise”, one of the original Youth Music Action Zones in England. He chaired its management board for eight years and oversaw its subsequent transformation into an independent charity. He formed the Staffordshire Music Partnership, as a precursor to the creation of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Music Education Hub, one of the 2012 cohort of government-funded hubs in England. Nigel led the planning with two hubs and two professional orchestras that established “In Harmony Telford & Stoke-on-Trent” and he chaired its management group. His negotiations between Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire and Telford laid the foundations for the development of the North-West Midlands Music Education Hub.
Whilst in Shropshire and Staffordshire Nigel worked as an Ofsted inspector. He served on more than 80 school inspections in England over a ten-year period, leading on music, and whole-school teaching & learning, and SMSC provision.
After serving as the West Midlands regional representative of the national Federation of Music Services (FMS), Nigel was elected as Chair of FMS. He led the negotiations between FMS and the National Association of Music Educators to merge and form “Music Mark “. Nigel was elected as Chair of its Board and simultaneously joined the national executive of the Music Education Council. He has advised government on music education matters, sitting on a number of Department for Education committees for the National Curriculum and for Music Education Hubs.
Nigel was an adviser to the Royal Northern College of Music for several years and also a board member of Keele University’s postgraduate institute. He has been a director/trustee of Manchester Camerata.
As well as his current work as a freelance music education consultant, Nigel enjoys a reputation as an inspiring conductor, most well-known for his innovative work with youth orchestras, bands and choirs. He has commissioned and premiered a number of works by composers such as David Bedford, Edward Gregson, Joseph Horovitz, David Stanhope, Carl Vine and Guy Woolfenden and is committed to programming new repertoire alongside the more familiar. He continues to perform here and abroad.
Nigel has been a regular adjudicator at local and national music festivals including panels of the National Festival of Music for Youth and the National Wind Band Festival.
A proud father of two grown-up sons, Nigel is an avid cook, wine aficionado and traveller, here and in Europe, especially Germany.
Nigel has a profile on LinkedIn.