In May of 2014 Millicent Stephenson was performing at a Church event. Millicent noticed that although the congregation was predominately female there was only one female musician, a bass player, in the Band and that there were female singers in the worship team and the Choir. This thought arrested Millicent’s mind.
The thought would not leave her mind on her return home. Feeling that this was a ‘God-incident’ a prompt to do something about the situation Millicent, that week, decided to contact as many female musicians she knew, to ask them about the quantities of female musicians in their network. The responses showed there were not many. Millicent also contacted male colleagues and asked the same question. Again she found there were very few female musicians in their network.
Millicent mentioned her quest at her gigs. She found there were some women who no longer play instruments or sing due to raising a family, disappointments, lack of support or encouragement from family or Church members. Some developed interests in other areas outside of music. Those who continue in their music continue it as a hobby and a small percentage as part-time or full-time musicians. Although some lack confidence in their musical ability they were determined to continue playing in whatever way they can, in the hope of being taken seriously and making it as musicians, figuring out the path, as they go it alone.
Reflecting on her female students under the age of 16, Millicent noticed that very few continued with music into their adult life. Also within the UK music industry Millicent found there are many female singers but she could not point to an equal number of female instrumentalists making great strides in music.
In 2015 the name changed from ‘CFMNE’ to ‘Cafemnee’ , pronounced Ka’ fem’ nee. Recognising that the information and training would also benefit female singers and women who were not religious and of other faiths Cafemnee opened its doors.
Millicent’s aim is to see more successful female musicians, singers, producers and songwriters in the Christian, Gospel and general Music Industry. Millicent created Cafemnee to be a space for female at various levels of their music to come together in an atmosphere of collegiality for sharing experiences and expertise. A place were acceptance sponsor a revitalising of self-belief; openness to ask niggling questions, and fuel-up for their onward musical journey.
The workshops consisted of
‘Open forum’ – discussing relevant issues pertaining to being a female musician such as ‘Should I play it like a man?’, ‘How to bring my ‘A’ Game’, ‘Take control Of Your Sound’ and ‘Your Mind Is Your Music.
‘Masterclass Tips’ – a session to aid understanding on a particular aspects of singing or playing instruments.
‘Jam session’ – to play as a band and create music; to try out ideas or tips gained in the session.
‘Networking’, a time to build new relationships, share ideas and contact details for future work.
‘Reflection, Action Planning and Prayer’ – a time to think through the topic of the session and make plans to impact own practises. Cafemnee is a Christian based organisation and a time of prayer or reflection is included for those who would like the opportunity to do so. Those who are not Christians are under no obligation to participate in prayer.
Lunch and refreshments are included in the price. But check the event details for any changes.
In March 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic caused a national lockdown. The April 2020 in person meeting could not happen. Millicent had to quickly learn new IT and internet skills to deliver an online workshop as the women wanted to continue developing during lockdown and keep in Touch. The April workshop happened successful with some teething problems. However, in September of 2020 Millicent decided to continue the online experience 'Time For My Music' was born.
With the successes of the women in Time For My Music showing it is possible to build their music, performance and career through online workshops from the comfort of their homes, Millicent decided to invite the Cafemnee community to join the online experience of 'Time For My Music'. Millicent did not rule out having in-person yearly conferences or performances when the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a threat but working online is the new normal. To learn more about Time For My Music click here.