Noel started his professional career in Scotland. After studying with Bryan Free of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, he freelanced with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Opera.
From 1978 – 1983 he was Co-Principal Trombone of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. During this time he continued to study with John Iveson, Principal Trombonist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Noel left the RAF in 1983 to take up a place at the Royal College of Music on the Postgraduate Advanced Performers Course, continuing his studies with John Iveson.
After a spell of freelance work in London, Noel moved to Cumbria in 1985 and started brass tuition in the Kendal area. During this time he resumed his freelance career in Scotland, but decided to devote his energies to building up his work for the Cumbria Music Service. In 1986 he was appointed Conductor of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra and in 1989 was invited to join the staff of the Music Department at Lancaster University as Trombone tutor and Principal Conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 2002.
Noel was Head of the Music Service in Cumbria from 1995 until 2005 and is now responsible for overseeing the County Ensembles such as the Cumbria Youth Orchestra and Area Music Centres.