Introducing our new Trainee Music Leaders!

2013 tml leaders together copy

We’d love to introduce you to our new Trainee Music Leaders – Amina Gichinga, Namvula Rennie, and Ruth Rosales (photo: left to right), welcome to Spitalfields Music!

They will be working closely with our Learning & Participation team for the forthcoming year, so keep an eye out for updates on the blog and website.  Earlier this week, we talked to the three music leaders about their hopes, ambitions and inspirations.

Hello! Do you sing or play an instrument? What was the last piece you performed?

Namvula – I am a singer and have my own solo project. Our last performance was a show as part of the Bloomsbury Festival on the SOAS World Music Stage.

Amina – I do both! I sing and play the trumpet but also like to dabble on the violin, flute, guitar and piano. The last piece I performed… piece makes it sound like it must be classical? I haven’t played classical music in years. I have however just come back from touring with a band called Thumpers, supporting Churches across Europe. The end song in the set was ‘Unkinder (A Tougher Love)’ so I guess that was the last song I played!

Ruth – My main instruments are the bassoon and contra bassoon, though I also play the piano and sing. The last piece of music I played was Ravel’s Mother Goose suite which is an absolutely wonderful piece of music and is quite unusual because it has a big contrabassoon solo in it!

What do you remember about your earliest musical experience?

Namvula – Playing the Moonlight Sonata (probably extremely badly!) outdoors at my primary school end of term performance in Kenya

Amina – That’s a tough question! Probably my Dad driving me to primary school, rolling down the windows, blasting out Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’. I felt really embarrassed because our cars were always old bangers and the music drew a lot of attention! 

Ruth – My earliest musical memory is sitting in my living room, aged around 5 and trying to learn the recorder. I used to get so frustrated with myself that I’d bite the mouthpiece! My mum’s earliest musical memory of me, is when I was a baby in the back of the car, every time she put on Wagner in the car, I’d go bananas with excitement.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Trainee Music Leader at Spitalfields Music?

Namvula – To learning! To the access that I will have to a variety of opportunities, both in terms of being able to experience different educational settings, but also in terms of being able to assist or observe different workshop leaders and their individual approaches to leading workshops.

Amina – I’ve never worked in Tower Hamlets before, so I am looking forward to seeing what different groups and creative projects are running! Shadowing so many different inspirational leaders is going to be invaluable to my learning experience.

Ruth – I’m looking forward to learning from all the mentors and other animateurs, and gaining opportunities to work alongside them. I’m hoping that this year I’ll develop more skills and gain more confidence so that I can start working as an animateur in the future.

What were you doing before taking part in the scheme?

Namvula – Working as a solo artist and a workshop assistant in primary schools, as well as leading workshops for the Baobab Centre – a centre for young survivors of torture and political exile.

Amina – I was a support worker with Mencap for a few months and then left to focus on working in music education and community work.

Ruth – Before I started on the scheme I was doing pretty much the same as I am doing now. As a freelance orchestral musician, I work in various different orchestras round the UK.

Who do you look up to in the world of music?

Namvula – Oof, a lot of people…But if I were to narrow it down to three living artists: Cassandra Wilson for the pure honesty in her music, Bobby McFerrin for the sheer beauty of his voice and for his humility and humour, and Prince, not only because he is a musical genius but also because for his business acumen, and staking his place in an industry not geared towards the interests of musicians.

Amina – Anybody who’s managing to do what they love, even if that means supplementing their musical life by doing a job they despise. Keep at it!

Ruth – There are so many role models for me in the world of music. Composers, performers, teachers conductors and even students! That’s not to mention role models outside the orchestral world. There are so many people who inspire me, but I’d say its anyone who is passionate, positive and open. Luckily I have met so many people like this, that working in the world of music is a real pleasure. 

Could you tell us one interesting fact about yourself (not related to music)?

Namvula – I have to travel back to Zambia every winter for a few months to escape the cold!

Amina – I am signed up to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation by running the London Marathon 2014 and have yet to fully start my training regime.

Ruth – Hmmm I’m not sure I’d go as far to say interesting, but something unrelated is that I like to keep fit and my hobbies include swimming, dancing, cycling and running.

If you want to join the team at Spitalfields Music, there are many ways to get involved. Visit the website to find out the latest opportunities.


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