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Our Board of Directors

Our directors are all members of Sound Sense, elected on to the board during annual elections and occasionally co-opted for their specific skills and experiences. Board members are actively involved in many aspects of our organisation, including developing policy and partnerships, advocacy at national and international forums, making sure we are financially sound and steering the activities of our staff.

Jess Abrams
Chair
Jess is a musician and music practitioner. Her work is largely with young people who are hard to reach, young offenders and young people in care and/or supported by social work. As well as facilitating workshops, Jess is the director of the Edinburgh Youth Music Forum, working with music practitioners to explore, develop and share practice, She also lectures in Community Music and Music Education at Edinburgh College. She has an MSc in Music in the Community from the University of Edinburgh but was a practitioner long before she held the degree! Jess is from New York but has lived in lovely Edinburgh for 20 years. She is a vocalist playing gigs whenever she can (never enough gigs!) to feed her heart and soul (rarely does it feed her wallet!)
Rebecca Denniff
Vice-Chair
As a community musician, and founder/director of Flash Company Arts, I spend my days working with people of all ages, delivering and facilitating inclusive music making and empowering other aspiring community musicians to do the same. I lead community choirs on a weekly basis, deliver training sessions for a variety of organisations, and sit on the NYMAZ Early Years Network steering group. Community music is my passion, I believe that music enhances lives and over the years I have seen relationships forged and communities brought together in astonishing and lovely ways. I previously served on the Sound Sense Board and hope to be re-elected to continue to support this amazing organisation and advocate the power of community music
Ceri Tippetts
Vice-Chair
I am a practitioner, lecturer, drummer and dyslexic based in Cardiff. I have been working in and developing my understanding of community music practice for over a decade. I lecture in workshop leadership at RWCMD, and realised early on that the practice that I teach and demonstrate must be of excellent quality for all participants; pupils and students. At the centre of all my teaching is the intention to aid my students develop their own authentic leadership practice, based on their musicianship, through learning experiences and reflective practice. As a practitioner I have delivered projects across Wales and I spent the last year studying with the National Centre for Inclusive Excellence in Bristol. As a trustee I wish to promote and develop the opportunities to engage in practice development and the training Sound Sense provides, to ensure the next generation of leaders are equipped to deal with a changing sector. In addition I would like to provide a Welsh perspective to the organisation
Mark Bick
I am a community musician and trainer. After a music degree and teacher training, I worked with unemployed young people, and then was involved in starting Community Music Wales. I moved back to Gloucestershire and started what has now become The Music Works. I also worked in the West Midlands developing and leading training courses, including the Quench Arts New Horizons course, which has been running for nearly 20 years. I have gone through burnout, gone back to direct teaching rather than management and taken time out for childcare. The core of my work experience has been with young people who struggle with various barriers, including those excluded from school, who are looked after or have disabilities. I still play and gig, but not as often as I would like, and I love learning new instruments.
Joe Crofton
Having worked in community music for over 20 years, I am very committed to the power music can play in building communities, its healing qualities and the strength it has to empower people. My background is in participatory music activity, engaging challenged young children in music to bring about change in their life. I have worked in a variety of places, such as prisons, community centres, schools and music studios. I recently finished a course with School for Social Entrepreneurs, SSE & Arts Council England Building Resilience Programme, an arts council funded course lasting a year. I am one of five co-directors at Leicester based participatory arts charity called Soft Touch Arts. I am also a community governor at Ellesmere Academy, which is an SEND school in Leicester, one of the largest of its kind in the UK
Sarah Fisher
I'm a freelance community musician in Gateshead, currently working with Drake Music, NE Music Hubs co-running the Inclusion Matters project, and am an avid performer too. As well as being a skilled practitioner, I studied BA Community Music at Sage Gateshead and an MA in community music at York St John University (ICCM) having developed a keen interest in research. As a musician with cerebral palsy, working with online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about multiple challenges to my practice and experience of participants. I bring this knowledge to the Sound Sense board, as well as eagerness to change, challenge perceptions, and further opportunities for those from marginalised groups.
Xenia Horne
As an organisation Sound Sense has an invaluable body of knowledge and experience and a generosity of spirit which is unique and plays an essential role in supporting colleagues, many of whom are working in solo. Advocacy is key, looking outwards to collaborate and form new partnerships alongside supporting music at the heart of communities. Recently I've been making music with refugees, young people at risk of exclusion, inter-generational projects in care homes and free gigs in care homes, libraries and hospitals. I am delighted to have been elected back on to the board for a second time and I am looking forward to sharing my experience, to sustain and develop the workforce at this crucial time
Ashleigh Lowes
Ashleigh (she/her) is a Community Musician and Vocalist from Sunderland. Currently studying a Masters in The Teaching Musician at Trinity Laban Conservatoire to further her skills and knowledge around the work she already delivers and is so passionate about. Ashleigh has extensive experience of participatory arts and working with various groups, settings and ages around the North of England. She is a project musician and the Gender Equality Programme Leader at Sage Gateshead. She aims to maintain an inclusive environment and believes that social change can be supported with the help of the arts sector. Showing how inclusivity is a term that signifies every individual can achieve and participate, no matter the barriers.
Tim Palmer
I am head of Music Education at Trinity Laban Conservatoire where I lead programmes that blend educational & participatory approaches to create a versatile workforce for varied professional contexts. I have a particular interest in using research to help develop practitioners across all sectors. My professional history is as an orchestral and a community musician: Music Director of Sound Futures YMAZ, and Musician in Residence at both Ironbridge Gorge Museum and the National Maritime Museum, amongst much work in orchestral outreach & learning. I previously served on the Board of Trinity Laban, and of the Madcap Arts Trust.
Marina Perryman
As an experienced, active, freelance community musician, I have insight into many community music contexts. I lead music in healthcare through Wishing Well for children and people with dementia. I lead community choirs for groups supporting singing for health research through the Sydney de Haan centre. For AudioActive and Rhithmix I work with young people in diverse challenging circumstances and those with special educational needs and disabilities. I led Music Leader training at CM for three years. With an enquiring mind and endless passion about music as a force for positive change, I am committed to supporting collaborative development of the field.
Holly Radford
Holly is Producer at MAC, Makes Music, a Youth Music Fund C programme aiming to strategically influence musical inclusion, based at the Midlands Arts Centre. Holly grew up as a family carer and consequently developed a passion for inclusion within the arts, especially music. Holly has experience of managing music making programmes with a broad variety of adults and young children. Holly is a passionate advocate for creative inclusive music making opportunities that are person-centred and brings a range of experiences to the Sound Sense board.
Shannon Stevenson
Shannon Stevenson is a classical violinist/Scottish fiddler and a recent graduate of the BMus (Hons) Community Music degree at the University of Aberdeen. Whilst there, she began her learning as an active music practitioner by running a music project in primary schools based on prior research and observation. Additionally, Shannon was a support musician at Big Noise Torry, enabling her to gain invaluable experience and further her confidence in the field. She is currently a freelance musician working with Scottish Opera. By joining the Sound Sense board, Shannon hopes to contribute to the development of the Community Music field.
Ben Vleminckx
I have worked in the community music sector for over 10 years, both as a community musician (drummer and percussionist) and also as a Project Manager and now CEO of Evolve Music. My career has revolved around co-creation practice and striving towards how we authentically co-create with communities, share artistic power and use music to tell stories. I am committed to inclusive practice and being proactive as an ally and policy and change making. Workforce and sector development is also one of my passions. I am particularly interested in how we diversify our workforce and support underrepresented individuals to step into the community music sector safely, confidently and continue to support their professional journey. I am really looking forward to supporting Sound Sense and the great work they do.

Our Staff Team

Clare Adams

General Manager

Amy Hill

Communications Officer

I am a Goldsmiths-trained community musician, singer-songwriter and performer and have been a Sound Sense member for many years. Most of my practice has been with older people in community settings and care homes facilitating music-making sessions to promote connection and wellness. I also deliver music for health and wellbeing sessions in hospitals for people living with dementia and young children as part of the Wishing Well Music for Health team here in Sussex.
I studied marketing at university and love combining my skills in this area with my passion for community music. My role with Sound Sense allows me to share the transformational impact that community music has on people and communities and to celebrate the inspiring community musicians who bring the work to light. Please feel free to drop me a line if there is anything you’d like me to share on our social channels - I’d love to hear from you.