• Paul Weston, Laboratory Media Education
News & Views
So what exactly DO you do for a living?
Date posted: 09 May 2018
Sound Sense Board member Paul Weston describes his work as a Community Musician in this Sound Sense Blog post
So what exactly DO you do for a living Paul? Depending on the person and the setting my answer often varies. Not because I'm not being honest but because being a Community Musician is so many different roles in so many different situations.

My proper job title is that I am one of two Directors of Laboratory Media Education. We simplify technology for its creative use, to achieve positive change in education, social inclusion and health. This means that we talk to people about what positive change they would like to make and then, together, we explore how we can creatively use technology to affect this change.

At this point some people say “So you buy lots of cool tech toys and people pay you to share your toys with them”? Well, yes and no.

Take, for example, a recent project in specialist 'physical and sensory' complex needs school in Norfolk. We were commissioned by the school and funded by the Norfolk Music Education Hub to work with the older children on an Indian music project. In this project we used a very wide range of music technology from Ipads to sound beams and motion sensors , circuitry and drum machines.

But as we all know as community musicians it's not just the instrument and the music that we work with, it's the people. So what we were really doing was risk taking, developing listening skills, inventing new instruments, compromising, challenging each other and building confidence among many other things.

The following day I could be working in a secure mental health unit on developing patients voice, mixing Ipads and African drumming at a dementia cafe or supporting children excluded from schools who are working towards their Arts Award qualification. The variety and richness of this work often means I have to try and tailor my explanation of it depending on who I am talking to.

One of the reasons Sound Sense is important to me is that whenever I meet members and they ask “What do you do for a living Paul”?, our conversations skip quickly through the first part of what I have written above and straight into to the juicy, exciting and rewarding part of what we do and how it affects us and the people we work with. It doesn't matter if I work with technology and the other person plays a crumhorn, we quickly find common ground to explore the techniques and approaches we use. They “get it” and we quickly move on to asking each other those questions that most others don't understand and that have been challenging our practice or sharing our discoveries and realisations with each other.


Some examples of my/our work: