The second More Music Mentorship scheme has been successfully completed, with two more young people gaining new skills and experience as emerging community musicians. Joe Hargreaves and Saffi MacConnachie, are long- standing participants of Stages, having attended the weekly sessions since they were teenagers and now, as young adults, progressing to become music leaders.
The aim of the scheme is to provide a structured programme of shadowing, mentoring and training. This offers mentees an overview of our diverse in-house programme and provides a hand-on insight into community music practice. Joe and Saffi were each supported by members of our core music leader team, who identified their particular interests and skills and arranged a timetable for shadowing up to 30 sessions across our weekly programme and provided pastoral and professional support throughout. The wide ranging learning opportunities included music making activities for early years, SEND, young people and adults, exploring many different musical genres and styles of delivery. We provided a bursary to help fund their involvement, to reduce any financial barrier to participation. The scheme took place between September 2021 and June 2022 and Joe and Saffi were mentored by music leaders Ash Murphy and Rachel Parsons.
The Covid pandemic had a significant impact on our first mentee cohort with many shadowing opportunities available only via ZOOM. The return to face to face delivery, in More Music building and in other locations gave Saffi and Joe much more of a typical More Music experience.
Saffi MacConnachie and Joe Hargreaves
More Music interviewed Saffi and Joe to find out about their mentorship experience and what they gained from it.
Q: WHAT HAS THE MENTORSHIP BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?
SAFFI: It’s been a good experience, fun and I have learned more about the areas of music that I would like to progress further. I am definitely a lot more capable of being confident and communicating with young people. I’ve realised that there is more to it all than you think, such as the amount of work, effort and time that goes into planning an event, project or session. There was so much to consider.
JOE: It’s been really great. When we first had our meeting about it, I was really nervous about the whole thing but the experience of actually doing it has been really interesting and I have learned a lot. I’ve met lots of different music facilitators from different areas of the industry. Looking back to when I was a young person in a music session, it’s been eye opening to realise how much the music leaders helped me and how much actual work that went into cultivating that environment where I felt comfortable to make music.
WHAT NEW SKILLS DO YOU THINK YOU’VE GAINED
JOE: – The biggest thing I have gained from it is ‘fake it until you make it’. I don’t think I have started a session in a facilitator capacity where I have not been nervous but the key thing I have learned is no one is looking for that, they are just there to have a lovely session.
SAFFI: Similarly to how Joe felt, you feel like the participants will know you are new to this but they are not thinking about that, they are thinking about their own experience in the situation. I’ve learned more about how to communicate with young people on their level, understanding how to do that in a better way. I have also learned to be more inclusive about how I speak and be more mindful of the words I choose to use, you want everyone to feel included.
WHAT HAS BEEN A HIGHLIGHT FOR YOU OF THIS PROCESS?
JOE: Being a part of Lancashire Music Service’s Come and Sing Days has been really great in the sense of getting out of the More Music environment, working with kids I had never met before in a new place. I did some beatboxing workshops with Ash and it went really well. It was quite early on the mentorship so that boosted my confidence as well.
SAFFI: I’d say it was the moment, like for example at Stages, where I had young people come to me and ask me for help writing music or help with their performance. It’s been that moment of realising they look up to me and I am part of it, they see me as part of the team of people who are there to help them. For example, with Logic, I can sit and tell them how to use it but it’s more about finding out what they want to use it for. That feels nice, being able to share my knowledge in a way where I don’t feel like I am imposing on anybody. That’s what makes it a highlight, because you can look back and know you made a positive impact.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR YOU AFTER THE MENTORSHIP, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO NEXT?
JOE: I’m still in the process of upskilling, reading articles from singing leaders. I’d really love to get to a place where I can create my own singing group from scratch, whether that is primary or secondary age, whether it is a cappella or a bit more urban, just having a group that is mine would be great. That’s something I am working towards.
SAFFI: – During the course of the mentorship, I have been using some of the skills I have learned from community music and using it when I teach guitar and piano lessons, so I want to develop that more. I want to learn more about funding and how to register as a business. I also work at the Platform music venue in Morecambe now as a sound tech alongside their sound engineer so hopefully there will be more opportunities to do freelance sound tech jobs.
MORE MUSIC’S NEXT STEPS
We will recruit two more young musicians to the mentorship scheme, with the intention to begin working with them in November 2022. You can apply to join the scheme here