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Trevor Wiggins

Trevor studied piano with Audrey Ayliffe and Trumpet with Peter Reeve at Goldsmiths’ College and while based in London worked semi-professionally with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the London Bach Society, conducted by Paul Steinitz.

Trevor Wiggins was Director of Music at Dartington College of Arts from 1991–2010. His role included responsibility for all aspects of music/sonic arts within the college including 5 BA courses, MA and postgraduate research. During his time at Dartington, he has developed innovative new awards to offer students wide possibilities for international exchange or professional placement and evolved the way in which music at Dartington includes the widest range of music found in the contemporary world.

He is now a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and the co-editor of Ethnomusicology Forum, an international journal of music research. His own work draws on field research in Ghana, West Africa and explores the interface between ethnomusicology, music education and issues for the transmission of culture. He is currently working on a book about the xylophone tradition of the Dagara people of Nandom, Ghana. His edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Musical Cultures was published by OUP in 2013.

Trevor’s training as a musician included qualifying as a teacher as well as BA and MA awards in western music and music analysis. Becoming increasingly interested in the music of Africa in the 1980s, he organised a staff exchange and taught at the University of Ghana in 1988-9, also using the opportunity to learn traditional drum and xylophone music. This led to a number of articles and the book/CD Xylophone Music from Ghana (White Cliffs Media, 1992). He then returned to Ghana in 1994-5 to follow up some of his previous work in learning different drum pieces but also to carry out further study of the recreational xylophone music of the Dagara people around Nandom in the Upper West region. Since 1995, he has returned to Ghana at regular intervals to follow up and develop his research, looking both at the traditions of specific peoples in Ghana and the ways these traditions change and the processes involved. In 2013 he was made a honorary chief of Nandom in northern Ghana in recognition of his long-term work with the town.

Trevor has a substantial list of academic publications in the UK and in many other locations around the world. He is frequently invited as a guest speaker and lecturer across Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the Americas as well as the UK.

Prior to his time at Dartington, Trevor taught in schools for a number of years, then trained teachers for 8 years at Bretton Hall College. He has a wide experience of interacting with children of different ages and helping them structure their goals, learning and ambitions. Trevor has been described as an inspirational teacher by both colleagues and students and as known for his sympathetic approach and attention to detail that makes people feel special and motivates them to work well.

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