Sound Explorers Logo

Meet our new team delivering our Sound Explorers project in five local authorities across Scotland – Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland and South Lanarkshire.  Funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Arts Targeted Fund, Sound Explorers is bringing 10 new freelance musicians to our existing team, as well as creating resources and delivering projects to areas in Scotland we are not currently working in.

The Sound Explorers Team are all experienced musicians and music teachers and will receive training in the range of inclusive music tools and methods we use to remove barriers in the classroom for children and young people with additional support needs.

Joe Donmall

Joe Donmall (Dundee)

Joe is a cello teacher and performer from Lancashire. He studied cello at the University of the Arts Bremen, Germany before completing a Master’s degree in performance at the Royal Academy of Music. He loves inspiring others to make music together and since 2017 has taught at Big Noise Torry (Aberdeen) and more recently Big Noise Douglas (Dundee) for Sistema Scotland. He has delivered workshops and improvisation projects for RAM Open Academy, London Touring Opera and Kammerensemble Konsonanz.  

Joe is an enthusiastic orchestral and chamber musician and freelances across the UK, most recently with the Halle Orchestra and Welsh National Opera. When not making music, he enjoys exploring the Scottish mountains, is learning to throw pottery, likes eating biscuits and getting lost on his bike. 

Kirstin Hall (Dundee)

Having had a musical upbringing, Kirstin began playing the clarinet at the age of 7. In 2006, She was awarded a place at Aberdeen City Music School and following this, Kirstin attended the Royal Northern College of Music where she received a scholarship to study.

Since graduating, Kirstin has enjoyed a diverse career as a performer, community musician and teacher.  Kirstin has been a woodwind tutor with Sistema Scotland since 2018 and was inspired to get involved with Drake Music Scotland through her role as part of a team delivering workshops in an ASN setting.

Kirstin hopes to use her passion for music and helping others to inspire people within her role as Associate Musician at Drake Music Scotland.

Helen Brew

Helen Brew (Falkirk) 

Helen is a flautist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. When not performing on the stage with the RSNO she is planning and delivering creative projects in a variety of healthcare and educational settings. Helen is also professor of flute at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a tutor for the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. She is passionate about the power of music to transform lives. Being an Associate Musician with Drake enables Helen to bring this powerful connection to more people. 

Mark MacSporran

Mark MacSporran (Falkirk)

Mark is a freelance musician with a passion to teach and perform. Since graduating with a degree in Popular Music, he works closely with local authorities in facilitating school workshops in rhythm, learning music through song and music creativity. Mark is also a lecturer for the University of the Highlands and Islands and music examiner for RSL Awards. Creating fun, engaging music-making sessions is one of his greatest enjoyments.

Ed Holmes

Ed Holmes (Glasgow)

Ed is a clarinettist and saxophonist who studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. An experienced performer, he has played across the UK and globe in a myriad of venues, from the Royal Albert Hall, slate caverns in Cornwall, to a rubbish dump in Mexico.  

Ed is a passionate music educator and believes that EVERYONE is inherently musical; it’s simply a matter of whether you get the opportunity to learn how to express it or not. Alongside working with Drake Music Scotland, Ed also works for Sistema Scotland which aims to transform children and young people’s lives through music. He has also taken music and theatre shows and workshops with The Wind Up Penguin theatre company to vulnerable children in refugee camps in Greece and Lebanon as well as orphanages in India. He believes that everyone should have the chance to have fun learning and playing music with others, regardless of disability or background and is looking forward greatly to the Sound Explorers project with Drake Music Scotland. 

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown (Glasgow) 

Stuart Brown is a drummer, composer, and audio-visual artist with a particular interest in intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration who has performed throughout the U.K., Europe, U.S.A, New Zealand, Brazil and India and played on over 50 commercial recordings. Previous work includes a 2016 Hippfest silent film score commission with electronic duo Herschel 36 and two albums of cartoon music, Twisted Toons Vol. 1 & 2, which made The Times and Mojo Magazine’s Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2009 and 2016 and toured the UK incorporating children’s animation and music workshops. 

He is currently focused on creating experimental solo and collaborative work with his audio-visual drum triggering project, MNDMTH and recently took part in an interdisciplinary residency for Magnetic North, during which time he created a short dance and music film exploring his personal relationship with hearing loss and tinnitus. He is also an experienced educator, having taught drums in Glasgow schools since 2000, delivered workshops for the Glad Foundation, New Rhythms For Glasgow, Platform Arts, NYOS, EMS, NorthAyrshire and West Dunbartonshire Councils, and is the resident drum and ensemble tour for Glasgow Jazz Summer School and Napier Jazz Summer School. 

Emily MacQuarrie

Emily MacQuarrie (Highland) 

Emily has been a primary teacher for 20 years with a lead role in music in both inner city and rural school settings. In recent years she has focused on Additional Support Needs (ASN) music teaching across both primary and secondary year groups. Before moving into ASN teaching, Emily worked as an Early Years Music Specialist for the National Youth Choir Of Scotland (NYCOS) and Artsplay Highland.  

As a multi-instrumentalist, Emily believes it is everyone’s right to have access to music making and musical experiences and is passionate and committed to making music accessible to all. Since working in a Special School, Emily has introduced the use of digital instruments within the music department and has developed her own custom built instruments so that pupils with limited movement can make music independently. These technologies have been incorporated into performances including for the BBC Proms and Shakespeare Schools Festival.  

Emily thrives on collaborating with colleagues and other musicians who are passionate about the power and potential of music to raise attainment of children and open new life possibilities. In her spare time, she likes nothing more than to play some tunes with her family and go for long walks in nature. 

Oliver Cox

Oliver Cox (Highland) 

Oliver Cox is a percussionist and composer. With his percussion duo, O Duo, which he founded in 2000, he has performed all over the world, commissioned two concertos, and recorded two discs of percussion repertoire. He also performs in a variety of other contexts, including with chamber groups such as Hebrides Ensemble and in shows such as Disney’s The Lion King. 

Oliver has taught percussion and led workshops alongside his performing work for much of the last 20 years, and was co-artistic director and presenter of Children’s Classic Concerts in Scotland from 2008-18. 

Most recently he has been focusing on composing, and is currently in the process of finishing writing 9 pieces with film, inspired by the Scottish landscape. 

Beth Black (South Lanarkshire)

Beth is a musician, a multi-instrumentalist and an activist. She works mostly with disabled musicians (or disabled people training to be musicians) and throws all her energy into trying to make the music industry more inclusive. Her passions lie in punk and DIY culture and she just wants a world where everyone is comfortable and able to make loud noises with their pals. She is currently doing a masters in Community Music and hopes to go on to a PhD looking at inclusive, music-specific further education opportunities and the importance of inclusive language.

Ollie Hawker

Ollie Hawker (South Lanarkshire) 

Ollie Hawker is a Glasgow-based composer who specialises in combining acoustic instruments with live electronic processing and seeks to introduce these new ways of creating and listening to music to new audiences. In his work as a music practitioner he strives to bring the joys and comforts of music and sound to everyone he works with.