We know what you first thought was: Is there someone campaigning in favour of female mediocrity?! What's that supposed to mean?!
In an article posted by the Musicians' Union as part of their guest blogs, Christine Anderson explains her point. This viola player, who's a member of Her Ensemble, as well as an orchestral and chamber musician, shares her experiences and thoughts on women and diversity within the classical music industry in a thought provoking article that starts like this:
The classical music industry is changing. Admittedly, the pace could generously be described as glacial: according to Donne - Women in Music, in the 2021-22 season, across 111 orchestras in 31 countries, just 7.7% of pieces played were by women, of which 5.5% were white (while 27.5% of pieces were by the same ten historical, white European men).
But this is at least a slight improvement on the previous year, where just 5% of compositions were by women. And out with the big, established...
Millicent has been part of the Musicians’ Union’s Executive Committee for a few terms now. The current one finishes at the end of December this year, and she has taken the decision not to continue because she successfully got on the NatWest Accelerator programme offered by NatWest Bank, which runs for six months.
The programme supports and empowers entrepreneurs of the United Kingdom to scale their businesses to the next level. Millicent joined to boost Success Beyond The Score as a whole, but in particular Time For My Music, the online community for emerging female musicians that you can find in this link.
The NatWest Accelerator sessions run on Wednesdays, which makes them overlap with the monthly sessions of the Musicians’ Union’s Executive Committee. Given that Millicent has already had the opportunity to contribute to the union through that committee for a meaningful and rewarding time, she decided to step down and focus on the NatWest...
As musicians, we require that the venues where we play provide us with certain things in order for us to be able to offer our best performances. Some examples are tables to locate our equipment, dressing rooms to get ready after a long ride to the venue, parking space near or in front of the venue with the possibility to offload, ramp access, etc. While some might think those are a given that all venues offer by default, the truth is that many of them do not. This is particularly troublesome for musicians with disabilities. After all, if you require certain accommodations due to a disability, you might be hesitant to try your hand at gigging due to fear of venues ignoring your needs.
First of all, rest assured knowing that all musicians have the same right to perform at public venues, no matter whether they have a disability or not. To ensure that this is a reality, the key is that artists and venue owners communicate in advance to clarify the needs of the show and take...
Recently, I have had quite a lot of gigs. The occasions are different and so are the circumstances. Sometimes, I am playing on a terrace, some others, on a function room, or a hall, or at a bar... As I have to bring my own PA system, every time I have to think about the safety of everybody involved, including myself, when I set it.
A few weeks ago, in London, I arrived to the venue where I was going to play when the guests were already at the bar, coming from the wedding ceremony to attend the drinks reception. I had to survey where the plug points were, and think where to set up, without the guests seeing me directly. I had to make sure that my speakers were firm on their stands and that the cables connecting them to the console were not a tripping hazard for me or other musicians coming on stage.
Sounds a bit nerve-wracking, doesn't it? Well, it is not too bad, especially not after years of practise, but you have to be attentive and careful, and always make sure...
Since 2018, the UK committed to celebrate Windrush Day every year on June 22 to honour the British Caribbean community. To contribute in occasion of the day back in 2019, the Musicians Union invited Millicent to write for the guest blog, exploring the impact that the Windrush Generation has had on her and on the British music scene as a whole.
The article is called 'Children of The Windrush Generation Make Music'. You can read it on Millicent's website and also on the Musicians Union page.
On Saturday 18th June, the Musicians Union will be joining the trade union movement in London to tell the government that the workers of England demand and deserve better! Members of the union are invited to join, assembling from 10:30 am at Portland Place in Central London. There will also be a rally from 1:00 pm in Westminster Square.
These are some of the demands:
Register your interest to join the MU on the March: [email protected]
This was Millicent's speech to move the (MU) Motion 20: Being Black in the UK Music Industry, delivered at the TUC Black Workers Conference:
Good morning Conference. I am Millicent Stephenson, Musicians’ Union, and I am moving Motion 20, ‘Being Black In The Music Industry’.
Music is important and woven into the fabric of our society. It motivates, soothes, conveys ‘I love you’ and ‘good-byes’. It is a social, physical, spiritual thing which goes through our being. What would life be like without music?
Music is also a professional career choice on par with any other. However, within the music industry there are stratas and issues. One of which is ‘being black in the music industry’.
You may be familiar with Jazz music, songs like ‘Summertime’ and ‘At Last’, but did you know that it came from the black communities of the United States? Also, the root of Jazz is the ‘Blues’, the music of...
As the Government plans to limit access to higher education music and the arts in England, the Musicians' Union has put together a guide to the consultation's questions and key points to raise.
There is time until May 6th to take part in the consultation, which will be taken into account when defining the final policy. It is extremely important for people involved with music in the country to voice their opinion and concerns, because access to higher education has a direct and strong impact on the future of the industry, one we can't overlook.
Review the information provided my the MU.
Take part in the consultation.
Please share this with as many people as you can; the more voices and perspectives are taken into account, the best the chances for a good outcome are!
Help Musicians UK and Musicians Union have helped funding the PiPA (Parents in Performing Arts) Classical Music Survey, which aims to identify patterns in job and working environments in relation to work-life balance, and develop practical strategies and resources for Classical Music organisations to better support parents and carers, and the wider workforce.
You can take the survey clicking here.
The survey was developed in partnership with Association of British Orchestras, Liverpool Philharmonic, SWAP’ra, Black Lives in Music and UK Music. It will investigate the impact of caring responsibilities on career progression as well as wider worklife balance and wellbeing challenges in Classical Music.
The survey will provide data driven insights to enable PiPA to develop a range of strategies and resources for the Classical Music sector to empower organisations to better support parents, carers and the wider workforce.
PiPA wants to hear from people from all backgrounds...
From the Musicians' Union, there's an invitation to take part in the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Women’s Committee’s anonymous survey, which seeks to gather comprehensive data in regards of sexual harassment directed towards women. The goal is to help building a safer and more equal world of work for all.
Take the survey following this link.
Remember to check the Musicians' Union website for relevant information regarding the music industry in the UK.