Community music & education

Tips for working in community music

From Becky Morley of Musical Moments
 
Looking into a career in community music? Community musicians are becoming more prominent in the professional working world, with more and more opportunities becoming available every year.

I graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2011 and studied the Community Music module in my final year. I found my placement fascinating and emotional but absolutely inspiring. The placement was a catalyst that helped me to pursue my dream career.

Fast forward to today and I am now the founder of Musical MomentsTM, a company that provides interactive music sessions to areas of the North West. We facilitate in care and nursing homes and specialise in providing music for people living with dementia. We work with over 10,000 older people annually by using music to stimulate and engage the groups that we work with.
 
I frequently return to Leeds College of Music to share my community music experiences with the current students. There are several qualities that I feel a great community musician should possess. Here are my top tips for those thinking of a profession in the community music world...
 

  • You need to have passion for music. This is really important. You are working with others and you need to show your love and passion for what you’re doing to your group. When you show this you’ll truly get the best from the people that you’re working with.

  • Preparation is key...a cliché, but my favourite quote is ‘fail to prepare - prepare to fail’. It’s essential that you plan exactly what you’re going to do and what you want to achieve in your session. I’d also recommend having a ‘back-up’ session, sometimes things don’t go to plan, sometimes it’s a good thing, but always follow the group - it’s their session. Have some extra material just in case your session takes a different direction.

  • Keep your content fun and engaging - if you have good music and activities in your session, you will enjoy it and so will your participants. Keep things short and sweet - activities that everyone can participate in no matter what their ability. Try to keep everyone in the group as equals without singling out a certain person if necessary. If people enjoy what you do and how you do it, they’ll come back again, which is what you really want. How you deliver your session is important too, presentation matters and your personality is what will bring people to your session and keep them there.

  • Achieve your musical goals; make sure you know what you want from your session. This way you’ll always have something to work towards and your session will have structure and meaning.

  • Enjoy it! There’s no point in doing any job in this world if you don’t love it. Enjoy every minute and think of the impact you’re making to people’s lives. Community music is a truly wonderful and rewarding profession.

We also offer several exciting careers at Musical MomentsTM – you can find out more by visiting our website – www.musical-moments.co.uk

More ways to get involved

Further Education

With our BTECs in Music and Music Technology you can develop your musical interests and expertise in a conservatoire environment.

Undergraduate

Refine your craft in Classical, Jazz, Popular, New Music, Production, Film Music or Music Business.

Postgraduate

Further your studies, focus on your specialism and work alongside Creative Practitioners with our MMus Creative Musican.