Apr 26, 2024 2 min read

Understanding the pathways into music

This weekend more than 50 music educators will come together in Derby to discuss how to best support future music talent at an event organised by CMU’s Pathways Into Music Foundation. Dr Sini Timonen is part of the team delivering the programme and here she outlines its objectives

Understanding the pathways into music

This weekend, CMU's Pathways Into Music Foundation will hold the first event as part of its new professional development programme for music educators. Taking place over two days in Derby, I’ll be running the sessions alongside Chris Cooke and Phil Nelson

The Pathways Into Music Foundation was originally conceived as a way to build stronger connections between music educators and the music industry, recognising the vital role educators play in empowering the next generation of music talent. This programme is a key part of achieving that mission.

Young people who want to pursue careers - full time or part time -  as performing artists or musicians need some base-level knowledge about the business side of music, including rights, fanbase building, running a music-maker business, and how to go about finding collaborators and opportunities.

It is also valuable for young people to understand what career routes behind the scenes in the music industry look like, so that they are aware of all the different pathways and what is involved in the different roles. Many young people who start out as artists or musicians ultimately pursue behind the scenes careers. 

While there are excellent higher and further education music business courses that can provide this knowledge, and there are plenty of useful online and industry resources, these don’t cater to the needs of everyone. Not all young people wish to study at FE or HE level, and some resources may not be readily available to everyone who can benefit from them.

Music educators - of all kinds and at all levels - have a key role to play in providing this knowledge and information to young people, as well as signposting good resources - and helping people avoid the poor resources - and highlighting support that is available locally, nationally and online. 

Music educators can and should support each other in fulfilling this role, and it is clear that the industry could - and should - be building stronger connections with music educators too.

The Pathways Into Music Foundation helps music educators and industry stakeholders to build connections, networks and, eventually, communities of practice.

Our new CPD programme, called ‘Understanding The Pathways Into Music’, celebrates the role music educators play in supporting young people’s musical journeys.

The programme not only helps to provide music educators that base-line of music industry knowledge that they need, but also seeks to connect educators with each other as well as the wider industry, and to map and signpost support.

The pilot event taking place this weekend in Derby, enabled by Arts Council England support, brings together more than 50 educators involved with teaching and supporting young people at year seven and above. The participants in the pilot come from a wide range of backgrounds, including schools, music education hubs, colleges, universities and talent development organisations.

They will gain knowledge, information and expertise from the Pathways team and each other, joining discussions around the links between education and industry, and the various pathways into careers in music. The pilot participants will also inform Pathways Into Music’s longer-term work that seeks to build networks that can help ensure that music educators at all levels and in all locations are appropriately equipped to support the next generation of music talent.

Those networks are an important part of the music industry talent pipeline of both music-makers and music industry professionals and entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, the kind of information and skills we are encouraging the educators to share are also valuable in many other careers in the creative industries, marketing and communication sectors, and many other sectors too.

We hope that the pilot weekend will provide plenty of food for thought and useful feedback that we can use to inform successive events across the UK and beyond.

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