Do you hire community musicians? We want to hear your views
|Sound Sense is finding out what makes a great community musician. If you hire or employ musicians working in participatory settings it wants your views on how you select the best for your work
|02 Aug 2012
Sound Sense is a partner in the Paul Hamlyn Foundation ArtWorks initiative, designed to enhance the professional development of artists working in participatory settings - a theme very close to Sound Sense’s heart. You can read more about ArtWorks and our place in it (as a member of the Navigator pathfinder) at W: www.soundsense.org/metadot/index.pl?id=26493&isa=Category&op=show .
We know quite a lot about what community musicians have, and value, in the way of qualifications and training for their very special work. But we know less about what hirers (or employers or commissioners) of community musicians look for in those they hire - and this is where you come in.
If you have experience of hiring/employing/commissioning musicians for work in participatory settings, could you let us know your views in this very short exercise, please?
All you have to do is to respond to the four questions below. This isn’t a survey, it’s a dialogue, so please feel free to expand as much as you need on your answers - even reframe them, if it’ll help - the prompts below each question are just jumping-off points for you to think about. In return, we’ll send you an (anonymised) summary of all the responses so that you can see how your actions and views stack up against your colleagues.
Q1 What are the main focuses of your work?
Can you tell us a) what client groups you work with (eg older people, people with learning difficulties, etc etc); b) what settings (eg schools, prisons); c) to what purpose (as part of a curriculum, for arts purposes, for community or personal development purposes, for wellbeing, therapy, clinical purposes etc); d) what sort of organisation you are (eg local authority, arts organisation, music venue or group, a non-arts social care/welfare/health/criminal justice organisation). You may well have multiple answers: as you respond to the rest of the questions here, tell us if your answers vary depending on which part of the landscape you’re working in.
Now, thinking about hiring (or employing, or commissioning, etc) community musicians (or musicians in education, or musicians to work in participatory settings, etc):
Q2 Can you get the quality of musician you want?
What do you mean by "quality"? Are there specific types or focuses of your work that are easier or more difficult to find musicians for? Is supply rather than quality a problem for you? Has any specific initiative on recruiting cracked the nut for you? Etc
Q3 Where you *can* get the quality of musician you want, how have you achieved this?
How much do you rely on recommendation? What part do qualifications play in hiring decisions? Or training/other professional development activities? Do you rely on your own training programmes? Etc
Q4 Where you *can’t* get the quality of musician you want, what do you think is needed to achieve that?
Would there be a role for more qualifications (what covering)? For mandatory qualifications (how would they be policed)? For better training (what about, and who would do it)? A bigger "little black book" (how would you make sure this was inclusive?). Etc
The easiest way of responding is to open an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , copy and paste the four questions above into the body of the email, add your responses underneath each one, then hit Reply. I hope you’ll find this short exercise interesting and helpful to you; if you have any queries about it don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
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