Charly Jolly, this year’s Trainee Music Leader with Britten Pears Arts and Spitalfields Music, talks about her time with the inspirational team at Britten Pears Arts and getting involved in many aspects of our community work.

When I started the Britten Pears Arts Trainee Music Leader programme, I felt overwhelmed and inexperienced. However, because of the support and structure of the course, I have gradually found my feet and now feel grounded and confident as a music leader.

Surrounded by a wonderfully supportive group of Music Leaders and the other trainees, the sessions created an honest and non-judgemental space to talk about hopes, fears and ideas for leading music in the community. I began as a participant, observer and supporting musician, which offered a chance to understand how it feels to be a participant and to work under the guidance of a wide range of leaders. As the traineeship progressed, I was given more opportunities to Charly Jolly performing Beekabop! at The Pumphouse, Aldeburgh co-lead and eventually lead sessions. Britten Pears Arts has given me the opportunity to work with Skylarks a fun and friendly singing group for people living with Parkinson’s and their companions; Participate: music and heritage workshops for adults in later life; Group A: a vocal performance initiative for young people in Suffolk; and Mini Music Makers: music and play activities for 0-5 year olds.

The training sessions were truly inspirational, delivered in a workshop format so you got to experience games, songs and activities as a participant, and you left with an extended music leading tool kit. Leading style and confidence grew quickly and there was always another trainee music leader there to share ideas, anxieties, and reassurances with. Having peer-to-peer support is a strong element of the traineeship.

My last project was to create a musical piece based on “Where the Wild Things Are” with a year 2 class, working collaboratively with another trainee leader. I felt very inspired by the music and movement performance that we created together and the rapport that we built. I look forward to many more opportunities to work musically and creatively with people in the future.

It’s been a joy to become part of the community music world and see first-hand how open and generous people are with repertoire and ideas.

Charly Jolly

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