The Beginning

This blog is going to be a documentation of my life as a community musician. Just to give you a background of my professional history;

I studied classical music to degree level and grew dissatisfied with the classical music industry- becoming increasingly intimidated by the snobbery and obsession with class; especially since I grew up on an ex council estate. I also then began to doubt myself as a musician; and had a hefty overdraft to pay back! Oh dear!!

After several crappy admin jobs that helped me become organised and good at multi-tasking, I passed a CELTA EFL course and ran away from the UK to live in my brand new home away from home; in Sendai and then to Tokyo thanks to the JET Programme for a total of 3 years. I had an amazing time, learned the language quite well although I am forgetting it all. 🙁

Before leaving I did a music workshop at Symphony for C21Vox. I loved it and vowed to pursue Community Arts when returning to Blighty.

And so I did. It took 9 months of reverse culture shock and an email from a good chum of mine to get onto a wicked course run by the council called Flying Start: It aims to widen the diversity of artists working in participatory and community arts.

It equipped me with:

Hands on project and workshop delivery experience with major Birmingham arts organisations.

Accredited training in how to plan and deliver Arts workshops.

Business and freelance start-up information and advice.

Networking opportunities with other artists, key contacts within Arts organisations and potential employers.

I completed my placement with Sound Futures (the Birmingham Youth Music Action Zone). I gained enormous support, advice and professional skills from director Barry D’Souza and coordinator Jon Payne. Many thanks!

So now, the security blanket has been removed, I have quit my ESOL tutor job and have pledged to make a living solely from the Arts- gulp!

I now face the task of being a freelance community musician.

So far, not so bad. I have applied for and have a place on a course run by MusicLeader called the Music Igniter:
A groundbreaking new project, bringing together MusicLeader West Midlands and the region’s Creative Partnerships areas. Providing intensive training for 10 musicians and 10 teachers based on creating new music; includes a project fund to support activities in CP settings run by the trainees”.

This seems like an ideal step from Flying Start. I get to focus on my art skill and work alongside music teachers. I get to receive first hand input from music practitioners who have extensive experience of community music/music education.

I have been told that I have also successfully gained a position as an adult mentor for a government initiative called The Respect Programme which will get young people involved in making music and provide one-to-one mentoring sessions with peers, musicians and the music industry. The aim is to tackle anti-social behaviour, and to raise aspirations and respect within the community. I am well excited!!

That’s all for now I think.

Here are some Flying Start pics:

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