Music in the community underpins a core part of our work­­, as BSO Participate deliver over 650 community workshops and events each year across the South and South West. Therefore, running a module in partnership with the University of Southampton Department of Music is a great way to share industry knowledge and equip music students with skills that will serve them and their communities in the future.

Though many musicians go on to work in community settings after graduating, there is a lack of community music being taught in universities across the country. Aiming to address this, the module is practical and most sessions involve everyone getting into a circle to exchange ideas and work together. Students focus on areas like ice breakers in group settings, managing larger groups and how to explore creativity in different rooms and contexts.

Harry, Student on the module said “When I signed up to this module I had an idea of what we might cover, but throughout the different sessions I quickly realised there are many different leadership approaches, and I think everyone has developed confidence as they’ve gone along.

For those interested in pursuing this kind of career it’s incredibly thought provoking and inspiring. It equips you with the necessary skills and ability to run these workshops in community settings.”

Ice breaking activities

The module runs from October to December at the University of Southampton and is available to second and third year students; around 20 students are taking part in the module this year. Students come from a range of musical backgrounds; from classical musicians, to musical theatre singers and electronic producers.

Sessions have been led by BSO Associate musicians Neil Valentine, Sam Mason, Jon James as well as community musicians Rosie Adediran and Raph Clarkson, and assessment takes place in the form of a presentation and a reflective learning log.

Ben Oliver, Associate Professor in Composition said “This unique partnership with the BSO Participate team gives our students the chance to learn from some of the UK’s leading community musicians. It’s very exciting to see the students’ skills develop and confidence and grow. We hope that some of them will go on to be leading community practitioners of the future.”

Jess Craig, Senior BSO Participate Programme Manager said: “The aim really is to equip students with the tools to become a community musician, in whatever form they’d like that to be. We provide a variety of sessions which include practical techniques and context that will be useful in specific community music settings, whether that’s early years, schools or care homes. It’s exciting to be able to share our experience with the next generation of practitioners!”

To find out more about the BSO Participate’s work click here