Head of Programmes Kate Lowes blogs about the Brighter Sound traineeship scheme and chats to our previous trainees about their experiences.
This time last year we were excited to relaunch our traineeship scheme, having not run it for a few years.
The aim of the traineeship was to provide an opportunity for exciting and reflective musicians to develop their facilitation practice in a safe and supportive environment and enable them to utilise their musical knowledge to inspire future generations.
We were amazed at the level of skill, diversity of genre and breadth of musical knowledge that our last cohort brought with them. Most importantly our trainees were clear and caring communicators who (with a little help and advice) found a way to engage and support participants from a range of backgrounds and experiences.
We’re really pleased to still be working regularly with all our trainees and to see how successful they have been in broadening their practice and securing employment from a range of other youth and cultural providers across the region. We caught up with Michael-Jon, Jote, James and Tomás to find out what they thought about the scheme, why they applied and how it has helped their career progression.
Why did you apply for the traineeship?
Michael-Jon: I applied for the traineeship because I had an interest in social and youth work, and would have liked the opportunity to explore that through music. Brighter Sound were very helpful in facilitating that need, and put me in touch with outreach artists who were going into under-developed or secure environments to run music workshops.
Jote: After a long career in the pop industry, I was getting a bit fed up with the life of a session musician, but wasn’t sure what to do next. So I kept doing what I knew how to do – reconnected with old friends, got involved with the brilliant musical life of Manchester and met loads of really amazing musicians and creative people. I soon found myself coming up with loads of ideas for musical projects, but no idea of how to make them happen. Then everything changed… I was over the moon to be accepted onto the traineeship!
What did you do during the traineeship?
MJ: Throughout the traineeship I developed workshop skills and also took part in various training initiatives made available to me through Brighter Sound. One of the highlights of the traineeship was the final performance with East Cheshire Youth at the Sing City event. A lot of hard-work was showcased that evening, and many young people from our workshops felt proud.
James: I was mainly involved in Sing City which is aimed at young songwriters, and I still continue my work on the project now that my traineeship has ended. The traineeship helped me to become integrated in the project while giving support if it was needed.
Tomás: I spent the first three months of the traineeship shadowing Tim Chatterton in the office. This gave me insight into what goes behind the scenes; the work that goes into organising all the different sessions as part of Brighter Sound and Band on the Wall’s Creative Music Programme. The second three months I spent shadowing various Brighter Sound workshops. This included things like Shake Rattle & Roll aimed at 0-4 year olds, Sing City for young songwriters and Jubacana for teenagers interested in Latin music. I was also given the chance to run parts of these workshops on my own.
What did you get out of the traineeship?
Jote: The experiences and challenges have been invaluable to me on many levels: from my own personal development as a musician and teacher, to learning how to transfer the skills I already had to run workshops, putting together proposals for projects, how to get funding, and much more. Brighter Sound have been, and continue to be, brilliant at supporting and helping create opportunities and training for music practitioners.
Tomás: Upon finishing the traineeship, I felt a lot more confident about standing up in front a group of young people to lead my own workshop. This confidence allowed me to become a freelance teacher.
MJ: Through this traineeship I was able to gain the relevant experience and confidence to apply for jobs in the youth work sector. I have also been given ample work opportunity through Brighter Sound, and have received an unparalleled level of support from them in my development. I’ve learnt a lot of engagement strategies, and how to facilitate modern music workshops, especially towards people without previous artistic engagement. I also learnt that people are struggling in different ways, and the importance that art youth work can have in their lives. A lot of the young people I worked with were glad to have created something that they could call their own.
What’ve you been up to since the end of your traineeship?
Jote: I’m now enjoying a really varied work life as a freelance musician and have found a much better balance between having the freedom to be creative whilst still making a difference to people’s lives through music. I’ve been working closely with Brighter Sound again – I’ve been co-delivering Lyrics & Vocals – a new vocal and songwriting group that’s part of Band on the Wall’s Creative Music Programme. Brighter Sound have also supported me in writing funding applications for ‘Voices from the Street’, a choir for people experiencing homelessness that I’ve set up with John Blaylock.
Tomás: I applied and landed a regular percussion and drum kit teaching job, which means I no longer need to work in a coffee shop. I also got the chance to work with Brighter Sound again as a practitioner on the MyHub “My Music, My Manchester” residency with Meklit, and at Brighter Sound’s weekly Sing City sessions. All this whilst still being an active musician.
MJ: I now facilitate my own music workshops. My aim is still to move onto international levels of youth engagement, especially working with displaced people and in underdeveloped countries with limited access to art.
James: I’m now employed by Brighter Sound as a practitioner, joining the team of brilliant musicians on the Sing City project. Each week we run different songwriting and production sessions for young musicians with a live night at the end of each half term. I also compose and perform my own songs – I recently was invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music for Youth Proms.
Would you recommend the traineeship?
Jote: It’s been over six months since I finished my traineeship at Brighter Sound and the only thing I can say is that it’s the BEST THING I HAVE DONE FOR YEARS!!! I would totally recommend anyone who has a passion for music, wants to develop new skills and wants to be part of a really creative and supportive team, to apply for it! It could change your life ☺
MJ: I would sincerely recommend this to anyone who wishes to gain an insight into a large and varied sector of work and have a meaningful experience.
James: I’ve really enjoyed my time working on the Brighter Sound trainee programme and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to further their teaching experience.
Tomás: Yes! The breadth of insight that I got into all that Brighter Sound does, has given me many ideas as to all the different options that exist within this line of work…which I’m sure will help me for a long time to come.
We are now looking to appoint three trainee deliverers for our 2017 traineeship scheme. Find out more and apply by Friday 13 January.