Behind all the projects BCMG has run over the years has been a brilliant Learning Coordinator.

Though often in the background, BCMG's Learning Coordinators have been absolutely vital to the success of the programme. Each one has brought their own set of unique talents to the job and quietly and efficiently made sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. And when not doing that, they have massed hundreds of vocalists, created flying phoenix and even presented our family concerts. This post celebrates their achievements and favourite moments.


Naomi Wellings

Favourite moment: I think this has to be attending the RPS awards with the Crowd Out team in 2015. The project was nominated for an award and although we didn’t win, it was really special to be shortlisted.

Best project: My best and favourite project has to be the Song Cycle project with the 7 West Midlands RSA Academies and composer Michael Betteridge. It took place over a whirlwind 9 months of the 2017-18 academic year and is memorable for me for many reasons, not least because we succeeded in bringing 150 of the young people we’d worked with to CBSO Centre to perform the Song Cycle they’d co-created with Michael.

Biggest achievement: Having asked some ex-colleagues and family what they thought my biggest achievement at BCMG is, they almost unanimously say helping to make Crowd Out happen. But it's up there with the final concert of the Song Cycle project, the Learning Brochure we produced in 2011 and the Bronze Arts Awards I helped 19 young people from Hodge Hill achieve as part of the Cultural Citizens Takeover project in 2017.

What you are doing now: After nearly 11 years as Learning Co-ordinator I’m still working for BCMG, albeit in a smaller capacity as Project Manager for the Listen Imagine Compose Primary project. Alongside this I spend 2 days a week as Mentoring Manager for Awards for Young Musicians overseeing a national peer-to-peer mentoring project called Talent to Talent, and I have a number of private flute and recorder students. 


Jenny Muirhead

Favourite moment: I think one of my favourite moments was when we put on a Family Concert that took inspiration from Simon Bainbridge’s Path to Othona with Stan’s Cafe. The audience had to follow the leader around the darkened CBSO Centre with baskets containing little speakers that played recorded field sounds. It was so atmospheric as we crept into the darkened hall to begin the concert!

Best project: I thought Minifest was an excellent project – I wish we could do that one again.

Biggest achievement: Hmmmmm...I take huge satisfaction in the joy that young people get from creating and performing their own music, so I always see a big sense of achievement after each workshop...but on a more personal level I feel my biggest achievement has to be creating that giant Chinese phoenix for our Meet the Sheng concert... it was made completely out of cardboard I found in the recycling skip – and the model actually flapped its wings too!!

Now: I am still here! I have taken on more coordinating responsibilities around our school projects and have just started an exciting course in Early Years music making. When I’m not BCMG-ing I perform and compose, arrange flowers and deliver multi-sensory workshops as a music facilitator for Big Top Musical Adventures CIC.


    Jeremy Clay

     

    Favourite moment: I organised and delivered a project called Music Maze on the Move in a secondary school in Perry Barr. The idea was to take the principles of our Music Maze workshops out into a local area for children who were unable or unlikely to access it in the city centre. I worked with a group of Year 7 – 9 young musicians, most of whom didn’t have any prior musical knowledge. It was so fascinating to see them develop their skills and creativity. The sharing performance was particularly special as young people who had been quite reserved found themselves able to stand up and be confident in front of their friends, family and teachers who saw another side of them they had not previously seen.

    Best project: Resolution – only BCMG would put on such a bonkers project working with immunology research scientists, composers, professional musicians and young musicians from secondary schools to explore science and music in creative ways. The young people on the project really embraced the project and came up with fantastically unique ideas.

    Biggest Achievement: This was a big team effort but I put in a lot of work on the BCMG Learning Resources website. We all spent hours working on getting high quality accessible resources ready for teachers, parents and children from a range of different projects. I also helped to manage the Imagine Compose project which worked with groups of children and teachers from Birmingham Music Service in different local area ensembles. The resources from the project then went up onto the website.

    Now: I’m currently Teaching Fellow in Outreach and Professional Development at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Part of this role involves co-ordinating and delivering workshops with young musicians across the country, with Conservatoire students gaining experience of leading and playing in this context. I am also Project Manager at In Harmony Telford & Stoke-on-Trent, working with 1500 young people to bring music-making to the heart of their community and school lives.


    Jakob Grubbström 

    Favourite moment: There were many! But the performance at the end of the very first Music Maze was very special. Such a fantastic thing – professional musicians and children creating and performing music together! I was blown away by the creativity and energy by the participants.

    Best project: The Creative Composing Labs were always so much fun. Such talented and creative young people led by the wonderful David Horne. I always wanted to take part myself!

    Biggest achievement: Managing a family concert and at the same time performing as 'lid lifter' in Zwei Gefühle by Helmut Lachenmann without breaking down completely from the stress... :) 

    Now: I am working as a choral conductor and teacher at Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser, a primary and secondary school specialising in choral music. I am also musical director for Stockholm University Choir and hold the position of head of choral department at Framnäs Folkhögskola. In addition I also work with choirs such as the St Jacobs Vocal Ensemble, Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble and Stockholm Chamber Choir.


    Emma Nenadic

    Favourite moment: A series of relaxed, playful musical moments between young children and their families before a [email protected] concert. BCMG arrange pre-concert musical activities. Any families with a copy of the programme, will have come to us expecting to ‘be amazed by the extraordinary range of unusual percussion instruments on show!’ No instrument was unturned and judging from the smiles, laughter and, well, noise, I reckon we met expectations! I think there’s something magical about intergenerational music making, and I like to think these afternoons help carve out a little bit of time for families to bond together, be creative and take a breather.

    Best project: MiniFest, a cross-arts project with Jervoise Primary School in Weoley Castle and The Oaks Primary School in Druids Heath. 60 children planned, produced and promoted a day-long music festival in their schools and came up with loads of creative ways to involve the wider school community in festivities. School spaces transformed; a storeroom became a Stone Age cave featuring a percussive musical backdrop composed by the children, playgrounds held the key to musical mysteries, and school halls were full of colourful artwork to mark the occasion. Jervoise’s school cooks even contributed to their school’s theme, Ancient Egypt, with Mummy-shaped biscuits! 

    Biggest achievement: Can I say learning how to lock up the impenetrable fortress that is the CBSO Centre? And simply being able to support the breadth of projects in BCMG’s Learn & Take Part programme during my short stint as Learning Coordinator felt like an achievement. As music organisations and schools will understand, Spring Term can be a hectic time in project-land and I quickly had to learn the ropes! From GCSE composing workshops, to 2016’s CoMA Festival for amateur musicians, to undergraduate composition workshops, to MiniFest, it was wonderful supporting composing in so many settings and meeting lots of passionate musicians along the way.

    Now: BCMG had and continues to have a huge influence on what I am doing now. Their ongoing partnership with Birmingham City University and Sound and Music researching composing pedagogy inspired me years before joining as Learning Coordinator, opening my eyes to the potential of reflective practice and how to integrate musician and teacher expertise in projects to avoid them being too transactional. I pinched myself when my now supervisor, Professor Martin Fautley, told me my PhD proposal researching partnership practice between music organisations and schools has been accepted. I hope to share my findings in 2021 and want to thank Nancy for being an ongoing source of inspiration and support. I am excited to see what the next 20 years of Learn & Take Part brings!