Nigel M Taylor is an honours graduate of Durham University and gained 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, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and Music Mark.
Nigel began learning the piano at the age of 5, soon performing concerts and accompanying hymns at his local church. He moved to Australia aged 11, barely touching a piano for the next two years. Returning to Bolton, he began intensive studies with Barbara Holt. He went on to win a number of piano prizes and became a sought-after teacher and noted accompanist. He studied organ, double bass and percussion, becoming a member of Bolton Youth Orchestra and playing with other youth and amateur orchestras.
Nigel began his career as a secondary music teacher in Bolton – at the school in which he was a former pupil. After two years he was promoted to be head of music at a high school in Wigan.
Three years later he was appointed Head of Bolton Music Service. There, he led the 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 won national awards at the National Festival of Music for Youth. Nigel led the youth concert band to further acclaim and awards at the National Wind Band Festival, the Schools’ Prom, the European Wind Band Festival and the World Music Contest, and he won the first ever Boosey & Hawkes “Outstanding Conductor” prize.
During this period, he co-founded the International Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (a partnership between Bolton and its two twin towns – Paderborn, Germany and Le Mans, France) and was founder-conductor of Bolton Symphony Orchestra, Harmonie ’84 Wind Orchestra, and Corus Brass Ensemble.
Nigel became Shropshire’s County Music Adviser aged 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 oversaw the growth of the county’s music service, forging new partnerships with regional and national music organisations.
Nigel then joined Staffordshire County Council, as its Inspector for Music and Performing Arts. He became Head of Staffordshire Performing Arts (SPA), the county’s music service, which was twice judged as “Outstanding” in external reviews. It also won the Diploma of Merit from the National Music Council.
Continuing as head of SPA, he went on to hold concurrent roles: firstly as Deputy Head of QLS (Staffordshire’s school improvement service), and 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.
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.
Nigel led the partnership between SPA, City Music Service Stoke, New Vic Theatre, Planet Sound and Beavers Arts which founded “Make Some Noise” in 2001. It was one of the original Youth Music Action Zones in England (and in essence, a “music education hub” – a decade before the concept was established nationally). He chaired its management board and then oversaw its development into an independent charity. He went on to form the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Music Education Hub, one of the 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 work with other senior colleagues in Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire and Telford laid the foundations for the development of the North-West Midlands Music Education Hub.
After serving as the West Midlands regional representative of the national Federation of Music Services (FMS), Nigel was elected its Chair. He oversaw the negotiations between FMS and the National Association of Music Educators to merge, forming a new organisation, “Music Mark “. Nigel was elected as Chair of its Board and simultaneously joined the national executive of the UK’s 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, and of Birmingham’s “Sound It Out” community music organisation. He is currently Chair of trustees of Trust Music.
As well as his current work as a music education consultant, Nigel continues to enjoy a reputation as an inspiring conductor here and abroad. He has commissioned and premiered a number of works by composers such as David Bedford, Edward Gregson, Joseph Horovitz, David Stanhope, Carl Vine, John Wood and Guy Woolfenden and is committed to programming new repertoire alongside the more familiar.
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.