As we start the search for our 2015-16 Trainee Music Leaders, we caught up with Beth Higham-Edwards to ask her about her year at Spitalfields Music.
What have you most enjoyed about your year as a Trainee Music Leader?
I enjoyed working with the huge range of participants and workshop leaders that Spitalfields Music is involved with. I was able to take part in a number of hugely contrasting projects and learn from different leaders who have different styles. A personal highlight for me was being involved with Takeover Spring Festival where a Year 3 class was tasked with creating a music and arts festival to take over their school for a day. This was like no other project I had been involved with before and I really enjoyed the cross-arts collaboration and seeing its benefits.
How has your year as a Trainee Music Leader shaped your personal practice and future career moves?
Working alongside such a huge range of professional workshop leaders has meant that I have been able to learn from a range of styles and tailor my own approach. I feel much more confident in my own leadership style now that I have benefited from seeing other workshop leader’s work and having the opportunity to practise my skills and be given feedback from professionals.
This traineeship has been instrumental to my career. It equipped me with the skills and confidence to lead my own workshops with other companies and has given me numerous networking opportunities. I plan to continue finding new and interesting projects to lead and similarly forward-thinking companies to work with.
What’s the most valuable piece of learning that you will take from the past year?
I have worked with a wide range of groups and have learnt how to better tailor my approach to best include different people and enable their creativity. I have really enjoyed introducing participant-initiated aspects to my workshops and have been equipped with more skills to be led by the participants’ creativity and ideas.
What’s next for you? Have you got any exciting projects coming up?
I am very excited to be starting a Masters degree in percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in September where I plan to better my own musical skills whilst continuing my workshopping.
If you could offer three pieces of advice to anyone thinking of applying for next year’s scheme, what would they be?
- Take every opportunity you possibly can and make opportunities for yourself
- When working alongside or observing leaders evaluate their style and think about how they are similar and different to you and what qualities they have that you could include in your own practice
- Have an open minded view of creativity and encourage it
Applications for next year’s Trainee Music Leaders scheme are now open. Find our more information about how to apply on our website.