by Author Wendy Smith

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Sage Gateshead CoMusica - Reflections

CoMusica Exchange

Sage Gateshead’s CoMusica Exchange is a development opportunity for emerging Music Leaders to gain invaluable knowledge and experience by being part of a learning group that is committed to inclusive music practice in the North East.

Grace and Isobel joined the programme in July 2019 and were due to complete this June. Isobel is a music education hub teacher and facilitator in the early stages of her career and Grace is a touring musician who is also interested in teaching and working within community music settings.

Both wanted to learn more about inclusive musical practice, the different approaches, environments, tools, settings and skillsets as well as grow networks and make contacts.

The opportunity came at the right time – each thinking about the scope of their own practice and direction of travel. Isobel continues to teach, although the environment is very different. Grace is thinking about starting her own business and working out the first steps including sources of funding.

The pair were well-matched as co-mentors and have continued to meet online.  ‘We clicked from the start, it was good to be able to share experiences.’

The space and time helped them think about their own practice and future work pathways. In many ways, Covid-19 has extended this time for reflection as well as accelerated changes in their practice. Isobel said that she ‘enjoyed being pointed towards the theoretical research on musical inclusion as well as learning about the practical ways of setting up an inclusive environment.’

Both Imogen and Isobel said that being able to shadow other sessions was a highlight, observing groups across a wide range of inclusive music settings from Sage Gateshead’s Silver Programme, for people over the age of 50, to sessions with care experienced children and work with young people with additional needs. They were able to see first-hand different strategies in action, using this experience to embed within their own practice. ‘It was good to see how the Early Years group had been structured to make it more accessible, so that it wasn’t too overwhelming an experience.’

As emerging Music Leaders, they both fully embraced the opportunities within the programme and have used the experiences to reflect on themselves as Music Leader’s and help them prepare for the next chapter.