Our Music Blog Michael Betteridge, BCMG's 2009-10 Learning Trainee reflects on his experience Michael was BCMG’s learning trainee in 2009-10. Since then he gained a Masters in composition and has gone on to forge a career in composing and conducting, with a strong emphasis on vocal and collaborative work. He’s also studying for a PhD at Hull University. Of the trainee experience, he writes: I was fortunate enough to be given the traineeship at BCMG in a year which was packed with practical experience observing and supporting very different leaders whilst gaining an insight into how a medium sized music organisation works. I shadowed and supported many exceptional leaders during my time, but two stuck out: Duncan Chapman and Jackie Walduck. Their work, all those years ago, still inspires me today as a composer and facilitator. Jackie told me one exceptionally valuable lesson: invest in collaborative composition with young people in the same way you invest in composing your own, private music, and you will reap the rewards, as well as inspiring and challenging your young collaborators. It was a turning point for me which took me off my pedestal and made me engage in music making in a new and collaborative way; leading composing workshops is now a massive part of my practice. I have now led work for Opera North, 'Open Academy' at the Royal Academy, Cheltenham Music Festival, London Music Masters, BBC Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and many more. Not only that but my 'commissioned' work is so much more collaborative and focussed on communities and young people, rather than just professionals. I was selected for Making Music's 'adopt-a-composer' scheme for two years running, I created a new work for the LSO which involved eighty beginner instrumentalists, I wrote a site specific a cappella choral work for 400 singers for the Salisbury Arts Festival, amongst other projects. I still speak fondly of my time at BCMG as it directed me up a path which I didn't even know was there and opened my eyes to music making and composing in a way I could have never possibly imagined. I can safely say I would not be where I was today without the traineeship. The seeds sown by the BCMG traineeship opened up a wealth of opportunity for me as a collaborative artist and facilitator and I wouldn't be having this fantastic and enjoyable career without my time with the organisation. www.michaelbetteridge.com If you'd like to be the 2019-20 Learning Trainee, please click here for further information.