As part of our workforce development, we are running a very successful mentoring program, with three trainee music leaders each year, working alongside established music leaders across Devon and Torbay. Building up our work force and equipping them with the values and skills to develop inclusive musical opportunities for young people in challenging circumstances to:
- enable young people to develop musical skills and express their voice
- provide a safe platform for personal and social development
- give young people the confidence to excel and realize their potential
To combat the huge amount of young people who are unable to access musical opportunities through the traditional routes due to where they live, who they are, what they are going through and due to the lack of diverse and inclusive options available. We are giving trainee music leaders the opportunity to help shape content for and with young people, and to learn from experienced mentors how deliver music inclusively.
Daisi’s music leader network
As our inclusive music project grows, so does the workforce. We have seen this as an opportunity to establish and support a Music Leaders Network, where we can help in supporting them to connect, share and build working relationships with each other. The aim is to create a network of music leaders that will all be work towards the shared goal of a musically inclusive England to ensure no young person misses out.
The network is a dispersed community and each individual music leader brings a unique and vital contribution to the mix and through them all we are developing a cohesive music leader voice for Devon & Torbay which will:
- identify professional needs
- connect with one another and work as a support system
- share inclusive practice
- create resources and a set of inclusive principles
- identify cold spots and areas of need
Music specific leadership programme
Another aspect of workforce development is looking how we can encourage and harness the skills and enthusiasm of young emerging music leaders. Our Music Specific Leadership programme where we work with partners who have existing peer leadership programmes, working in partnership with them to develop music-specific progression routes for young people and embed them within their programmes. We have been working with Play Torbay and Doorstep Arts for the past four years, and have just started a similar programme with DYS Space. They all work slightly differently and are trying to provide alternative professional development routes, designed for the needs of the young people they work with.
For four years, Doorstep Arts and Daisi have been working to build in musical progression routes, peer leading and youth voice into their existing programme. It started with running weekly drop in music sessions to develop skills and work with professional guest musicians in a series of exciting masterclasses. There was also a Young Song Writers project which featured emerging musicians and gave them the opportunity to take on leadership roles and mentor younger songwriters. It was a brilliant way to hone their skills and develop experience in mentoring and music leading, and provided a stepping stone from musician to music leader.
During the pandemic, our work with Doorstep Arts continued. Working with Emily Howard, who was one of our original trainee music leaders, she supported and mentored the young people to write and create a full ensemble for their Protest and Rebellion project, building in peer to peer learning and personal development opportunities.
Building on this work, the fourth year of this project has been almost entirely youth led, the young people were given small production budgets to create their own original projects. The young people had the chance to artistically curate their idea, manage a budget, lead rehearsals, direct, and conceptualise the performance piece. This gave some young emerging music leaders the opportunity to support and mentor younger participants in other sessions, to build their skills and take first steps toward paid employment.