Dan Newell

The man behind Billy's Band!

The man behind the brand
Dan Newell, creator of Billy’s Band, believes passionately that all children should have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of making music.


He started playing the trumpet at the age of five and went on to study music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After joining an orchestra at the age of 12, and not knowing what an orchestra actually sounded like, Dan recalls how another ‘bandmaster’ tirelessly provided yet more challenging, exciting and influential experiences that projected him into a musical career.


Dan is now principal cornet with the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, having previously been a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

His work
You can hear Dan playing on the soundtracks of over 100 films and TV shows including; Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Shrek, Love Actually, Angry Birds, Kong: Skull Island, and Dunkirk.


He has also played with artists including Muse, Elbow, Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, and Sir Paul McCartney.

Making the band
Reflecting on his progress from beginners’ band, through to the young people’s band and on into the main brass band that dominated the early phase of his musical journey, Dan identifies the importance of the ‘bandmasters’ who provided opportunities, encouragement, guidance and training to him and his friends as they gathered on Friday nights for something that was a socially engaging as well as being musical.


It wasn’t until Dan spoke to parents after a concert that the idea and need for a programme like Billy’s Band came to mind…

I was playing a concert in Primrose Hill, when during the interval I got chatting to some of the families in the audience. One of the Dads asked me how he could get his child into music as he himself wasn’t musical. I told him that I believe every single one of us is naturally musical and all we need is a guide to finding our instruments and favourite sounds. That’s when Billy appeared in my head - a perfect guide and teacher who would encourage youngsters to find music. By the end of the concert I had imagined the whole band...

Dan believes that all children are musical and that each and every child should have the opportunity to play music. Regardless of their background, children thrive on experiences of making music.


Making music shouldn’t be expensive, Dan believes it is possible to give every child on the planet an affordable opportunity to take part.


Music making is fun. Billy’s Band makes it easy for all children to grasp the basics allowing them to experience the joy of making music.


Music helps children succeed in other subjects, develop confidence and emotional intelligence, and improve social and creative skills.
Dan’s dream is that Billy will become the first music teacher to many children throughout the world and help them find their musical voice.