WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
W O Z Z Y B R E W S T E R
MIDI MUSIC COMPANY
Photograph by Nerissa Nortje
I. My life is pretty busy. Bringing up my son, Reece, as a single parent for the past eleven years has not been easy, but I am surrounded by beautiful people who have played an integral part in nurturing my son. You know what they say: "It takes a village to raise a child."
II. This year has been challenging running a music education and artist development charity, especially considering the current funding situation in the UK - we have a government that has a lack of understanding of the importance of creativity and the true value of how music plays an important role in young people's lives (all of our lives really, but my focus is young people). I spend more than 70% of my working hours applying for funding, managing funds, writing reports and applications.
III. This year I have written the three year business plan and confirmed three-year funding from both the Arts Council England and Lewisham Council, as well as successfully attracting continuation funding from the Tom Ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust and the City Bridge Trust for our children's music education programme, Budding Musicians Club, and the Deaf Rave Music Production Access Programme.
IV. The main challenge for MMC is keeping abreast of developments in music technology and updating our software/ hardware. It has literally taken me two years to fundraise for new music production hardware and software for our MIDI teaching room, access rooms and studio...finally cracked it with funding from the Clothworkers Foundation - BIG THANKS!
V. I feel that with record labels shifting from the traditional approach of investing in artist development over the past decade, it has become the role of organisations like ourselves to champion this aspect of the business, supporting emerging talent and providing access to resources, studio time, links to industry and creating networking opportunities. MMC runs a creative industries careers advice service, CICAS®, which gives young people aged 16 to 30 access to information, advice and guidance, along with access to rehearsal and recording facilities, artist development, songwriting support, and PR/Marketing advice.
VI. I am a firm believer in taking a holistic approach to life; mind, body and spirit. I practice Yoga on a daily basis and attend regular twice-weekly Hot Yoga classes, plus I meditate every morning, which allows me to bring a sense of calm to the start of my day.
VII. How can the music business evolve if it does not nurture the young? Every professional in the industry has a story to tell, a tip to share and a wealth of experience. If you have a problem in a specific area ask someone who is doing what you would like to do, if you don't understand how you can grow your business or idea find someone who will give you a couple of hours per month to discuss your project.
VIII. No one achieves success on their own so networks are extremely important. Join a relevant industry body to ensure that you receive regular updates on what is happening in the music business. Read industry publications - maybe there is an interesting story that highlights someone who has knowledge that will help you.
IX. We need to talk more about Diversity and fairer representation of all genres on radio, regardless of the socio-economic status, ethnic background, gender or disability of an artist. UK Music launched an Equality & Diversity Music Charter a couple of years ago so it would be good to see what the outcomes have been since its implementation.