Jaz Rogers – Mentoring Story

Soundwaves Workforce Development

Daisi is part of a growing network of organisations forming the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England, a movement for change throughout music education, led and supported by Youth Music.

Working together the movement aims to develop models of inclusive practice to ensure no young person misses out regardless of their circumstances. Central to this is the understanding that music making is a strong contributor to young people’s personal and social development.

By developing projects designed to make sure young people’s music is heard; the movement promotes equity in music education. It also supports others, including Music Hubs, to do the same through advocacy, CPD (continuing professional development), resources and strategic alliances, to ensure no young person misses out.

Daisi is delivering a multi­‐year music project called Soundwaves, containing different project strands to test and refine models of good inclusive music practice.

The Workforce Development Programme is a significant part of the Soundwaves project and is made up of a range of elements. The mentoring project is one aspect, designed with two aims; to attract a diverse workforce into music leadership and to offer early­‐career musicians development opportunities and progressions routes. A pool of music leaders are working as mentors, within the Youth Music quality framework, to enable early­‐career mentees to benefit from structured support and guidance to build an understanding of delivering high­‐quality, inclusive workshops.

The programme works across rural, and often isolated communities, offering young musicians an opportunity to develop skills and confidence. Many who take part are experiencing barriers around transport and lack of access to training schemes.

Workforce Development in rural north Devon

In north Devon, music workshops ran in two settings; an after school youth club in the small market town of Holsworthy and a sheltered housing project in the coastal town of Ilfracombe.

Sam Lythgoe Jones is an experienced music leader who has worked across the region for many years,gaining good insight into the challenges and barriers facing practitioners. He was paired as a mentor to young musician and voluntary youth worker Jazz Rogers who wanted to develop his skills in music projects and youth focused work.

Mainstream education had been a challenge for Jazz; despite being a keen musician,from a young age he had failed two attempts to complete a music course at college:

“When I was 11 years old I took part in a project for troubled young kids…they took me to a music studio and I learnt to rap, I loved it…then I started music tech at college but it didn’t work out. I started doing voluntary youth work when I was 16 and first left school”

Jaz Rogers – Soundwaves trainee music leader

Alongside trying to maintain a day job as a plasterer Jazz had been working as a voluntary youth worker for six years running a music room at the youth club in his town, where he had previously met Sam. He had also spent some time working with a schools company offering music opportunities for young people at risk of exclusion buthad found some aspects challenging:

“I was doing rapping and drumming but they were challenging young people. It wasn’t always easy to get something out of them”

Jaz Rogers – Soundwaves trainee music leader

Although Jazz had experience of leading music workshops he had no formal training, so when Sam contacted him about the Soundwaves opportunity he was keen to take part:

“I had started to lose hope in being able to get paid work in music, it was all feeling a bit pointless…Sam got in touch, picked me up and drove me to the interview…and then I got this opportunity!”

Jaz Rogers – Soundwaves trainee music leader

Sam played a key part in enabling Jazz to take up the role of mentee for the year. By supporting him with transport,taking him along to sessions and dropping him home afterwards, he made it possible for Jazz to take part:

“There are no busses Jazz can catch to get to the sessions, so I pick him up and drop him back. We do a bit of supervision in the car and use the time to chat about the work and discuss it”

Sam Lythgoe Jones – Soundwaves music leader and mentor

Working alongside Sam, Jazz developed his practice as a music leader,exploring different techniques and ways to engage participants, gaining the ability to be responsive to each setting. The contrast between the two settings in north Devon helped Jazz learn to vary his approach and handle challenging situations. The sessions at the youth club focused on band development and song writing. Jazz learnt skills ranging from kit set up and layout,to session planning and structure. At the start of the project Sam led the sessions, showing Jazz some new techniques to use and different strategies to engage young people:

“The main thing with this work is having the personality to entice the best out of the kids. Jazz has that in bucket loads so we’ve been able to focus on specific techniques, like cutting up vocals and moving them around, as well as how to structure sessions”

Sam Lythgoe Jones – Soundwaves music leader and mentor

Sessions in Ilfracombe were very different; often one to one work with disadvantaged young people. Jazz learnt how to cope with participants who were sometimes critical and difficult to work with:

“One participant really laid into Jazz, it was his defense mechanism, he didn’t understand boundaries. It was really good for Jazz to learn strategies to cope with those challenges”

Sam Lythgoe Jones – Soundwaves music leader and mentor

Towards the end of the year Jazz made the transition from supporting Sam to taking the lead in each setting. Encouraged by the experience and the new skills he had developed, Jazz was able to step up, planning and running sessions using a framework to ensure good practice:

“I feel great about my ability as a leader now, I feel more developed. I feel like I could transfer my skills,definitely. Sam has also supported me with organization and just getting everything down that matters…making sure that you do tick the boxes…if you are just doing the project how you want but not doing it to the guidelines then its not gonna amount to much”

Jaz Rogers – Soundwaves trainee music leader

“I’ve tried encourage Jazz that these practices are essential to being the lead person, so he doesn’t glaze over anymore when we go through the quality framework,for example,and that he understands that these are actually a basic tool for our work, things we naturally do already it’s just about how you record it”

Sam Lythgoe Jones – Soundwaves music leader and mentor

Jazz has emerged from the year-long programme with an increased confidence and a renewed sense of purpose, thinking about how he can overcome his personal barrier around transport. He has a broader sense of his future options, from considering further training opportunities, such as the Trinity CME (Trinity Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators) or moving on to devising and fundraising to initiate projects of his own:

“I’m really up for trying anything now, I’m even organising an acoustic stage in my local town for the summer. But,I need to learn how to drive… it’s a real problem living in this area if you don’t. When I started doing this work in my late teens, early twenties,it was about wanting to give back something that had helped me a lot. To be able to give that to young people now… it’s just great.”

Jaz Rogers – Soundwaves trainee music leader

Through working to support emerging music leaders overcome barriers to participation the programme is helping to build a diverse workforce. For music leaders like Sam the project provides opportunity to reflect on his role as a mentor and to think about how he can contribute to the on‐going support of emerging leaders like Jazz:

“I’ve been thinking about my role as mentor and reflecting on aspects of my own practice. Jazz is definitely now in a position where he could take the lead with someone else supporting him…I’m working with him to think about where he can go next…”

Sam Lythgoe Jones – Soundwaves music leader and mentor

Case Study: Clare Fisher, November 2019