Music Leaders Reflect

The Daisi music leader network is an integral part of the development and success of our Youth Music project. Not just in the short term but for the long-term sustainability of inclusive music opportunities here in Devon and Torbay, as well as the wider community. 

Music Leaders reflect

In response to the challenges that COVID-19 presented, Daisi was able to offer a one off bursary to those music leaders who wished to explore how the pandemic had impacted on their practice and the young people they work with. 

The reports and films that you can access on this page have been created by 10 music leaders. in order to share with you their personal exploration of how COVID-19 has impacted upon their inclusive practice. They offer an insight as well as potential ways of thinking and working as we slowly move out of the pandemic.  

Their research themes include:

  • engagement with digital platforms
  • what matters most to young people now
  • dynamic partnerships in time of crisis
  • rural isolation
  • adapting to new working structures and maintaining high quality inclusive practice.


Laura Forster is a freelance music leader and co-director of We Need Music. She has worked in a variety of settings as part of Daisi’s inclusive music project, running sessions with young parents, and alternative education settings. She also worked as a mentor on the first year of trainee music leader programme.  

Laura chose to look at the effects of COVID-19 on the music making of young people in the region and how important it is to gather their voice and perspective first hand.  

Ryan Hamilton is a music leader specializing in pop, rock and digital music. He works as part of Jamming Station, with 11-19 year olds and worked with a variety of settings in Torbay. He has also been working with Daisi on our inclusive music project for the past 3 years supporting our work in Torbay. 

Ryan explored a variety of apps and programs for effectively delivering music sessions online, and he has created a video to run through the workings of each platform. 

Jacques Verhaeren is a Bsharp music leader working predominately with young people in East Devon in a variety of styles genres and age groups. He has been working with Daisi for 2 years as a mentor in our trainee music leader programme.  Ellie Kirtley is musician based in East Devon she studied the psychology of music at Falmouth university, and she was a trainee music leader on our second year of our mentoring programme working with Jacques at Bsharp.  

Jacques and Ellie used their time to investigate the barriers that young people face in participating in digital music making sessions.  

Deborah Wollaston is a freelance music leader and teacher working across Devon and Torbay. Working in partnership with Rachel Thame, they set up Moore To Sea Music Collective in 2018 and have been working with a wide range of young people in both formal and non-formal settings.  

Deborah focused on a series of case studies from the young people she works with, looking at the challenges and opportunities of their specific requirements for effective musical engagement and how this period has affected their musical development.  

Research presented as a podcast

Lyndon Forster lives in Paignton and is co-director of We Need Music with his wife Laura, he is a freelance musician with a unique talent on the handpans. Lyndon has worked in a number of mainstream and non-formal education settings as part of Daisi’s music project.  

Lyndon chose to look at the emotional and social impact that the restrictions set in place due to the pandemic were having on young people, from the perspective of different professionals working with them, and how access to music might support this.  

Sam Lythgoe Jones is a musician and music leader living and working in North Devon. Working across a wide area of some of the most rural parts of Devon, he has set up music opportunities in youth clubs and sheltered housing projects as part of Daisi’s inclusive music project. Sam has also been a music mentor and has supported and guided 3 up and coming new music leaders that will help build the workforce in the North of the county.  

Sam was looking at the challenges that working remotely presented for the young people he was engaged with in rural North Devon. 

Sam’s visual report

Emily Howard is a local musician working across Devon and Torbay, she worked as a trainee music leader in our first year of our mentoring programme. She has since gone on to work with a wide range of partner organisations and has just been working as musical director at Doorstep Arts on one of Daisi’s other inclusive music projects, developing young leaders.  Josh Lucas is a music leader, theatre maker and musician. He is Co-Artistic Director of Exeter based company Running Dog Theatre and has worked with Doorstep Arts in Paignton, on our music Monday sessions.  

Emily and Josh were working together to develop the idea of creating a mobile music hub, they’ve used the time to explore and discuss the practicality, feasibility and need. to identify the challenges and potential barriers and how these could be overcome. 

Rachel Thame lives in rural Devon and is a freelance music teacher and leader, working predominantly in South Devon and Torbay. Rachel and Deborah Wollaston set up Moore to Sea Music Collective in 2018 and have been developing and running a wide range of music opportunities for young people.   

Rachel researched and reflected on how dynamic partnerships can support the immediate and ongoing needs of young people in times of crisis. Contemplating with music practitioners and young people on what key learning has come from the immediate reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, and how this can be applied practically. 

Liminal space (alternative iteration)
Liminal space (final iteration)
Mum&Me cut up track