Mentoring could be for you if you’re looking to develop or transfer your skills. For example, you might have experience of working with community groups but not be a confident singing leader, or you might be an experienced musician who would like to learn how to use your skills in a community setting.
Experienced Sound Resource practitioners offer mentoring to individuals wishing to develop their community singing practice.
After an initial discussion and ‘baseline assessment’, if you’re accepted onto the scheme, your mentor will devise a tailored programme of input, alongside setting you up with a placement in a community setting. This will include opportunities to co-lead part of a session alongside an experienced tutor.
Thanks to grant funding we’re currently recruiting for placements starting in the autumn. Get in touch if you’re interested!
Case Study – Emily Marshall
“I love it when people say ‘I can’t sing’ and then they find themselves enjoying our sessions!”
Emily is a freelance community singing practitioner based in Oxford. She runs groups in Oxford city, Witney and further afield.
Having enjoyed Janet’s Joined Up Singing community choir and experienced various other natural voice events with other, Emily found herself taking on some work running a baby music group when their tutor left. She then developed other groups, extending her sessions to working with adults and inter-generational groups.
A chance meeting gave Emily the opportunity to continue an existing AgeUK supported singing group in Witney. It was at this point she decided she might benefit from additional support and mentoring.
Janet visited the AgeUK group in Witney four times from May 2011. Initially with Emily before the previous tutor had left and then periodically during Emily’s first year. Emily found it particularly useful that Janet recognised that the transition from one practitioner to another might be a challenging period for the group. She learned that singing practitioners need to understand and pay attention to participants needs, including those which are hidden or not immediately obvious.
This group specific support was integrated into a multi-approach mentoring programme; Emily was part of a small group mentees which met with both Janet and Liz three times, as well as having six one to one sessions with Janet (two of which took place by phone).
During this programme Liz and Janet shared warm ups, (vocal?) ice-breaker exercises and skills involved in running group singing sessions. They underlined the need to have an analytical outlook on group singing and to reflect on practice. Emily says the biggest surprise about running community singing groups is the time it takes to prepare, plan and think about each group.
Input from Janet was especially helpful recognising stress-points and having effective language and explanations to guide the group. Within longstanding singing groups emotions shift as participants’ lives encounter bereavement, illness and other challenging situations. Part of the learning was to look after yourself as a practitioner and to balance relationships between yourself and participants.
Experiencing supportive, reflective mentoring from Janet and Liz helped Emily feel validated as a community singing practitioner and was instrumental in her developing her longstanding, sustainable, freelance business. She values feeling linked to other practitioners working in similar areas and belonging to a body of experience locally, being able to share songs and the highs and lows of being a community singing practitioner.
Contact Emily on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the singing sessions she offers.