You’re going to bend it, you’re going to make it, you’re going to recreate it and it’s going to turn into your style and your method and your system in your community; it’s about making community music in your community in the way that suits it best. – Jane Coker, Community Music Victoria
The information-gathering phase of an exciting new CMVic driven Leadership Program is gathering pace, steered by the Gippsland-based, community music dream-team, Jane Coker and Lyndal Chambers. With funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, the duo will design a proposal for a new state-wide community music leadership program based on what people who are passionate about the power of group music making tell them is needed, to stimulate the growth of inclusive singing and instrumental music making across Victoria.
Jane says, “one thing that excites me about the project is that many of the leaders who started learning their craft with us in the early 00’s have now had upwards of 15 years experience of leading inclusive music making. If they weren’t already, they have become experts in their fields, and this project will enable them to collaborate with others who have new perspectives and energy to shape and inspire the future of Victoria’s community music-making.”
Putting a key question to established leaders and to people who have never participated in CMVic skills development before- but who know they want community music to be happening in their organisation, community, agency, or wherever they are – is the first step: “What do you need to be able to do this, in order to make this happen?”
Subject to funding approval, the findings from the research and information gathered will then be used to enable a series of state-wide community music leadership programs to be rolled out in whatever way the people say they want them to be implemented.
“At this stage of the project we don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. It will depend on what the people want. It’ll be driven by our ethos of collective empowerment, ie, we share our leadership, we share our skills and resources because that’s what makes us stronger.”
Acquiring the skills and leadership training which people feel they need to go out and make music in their community is only the start. The vision for the Leadership Program is to ensure individuals feel equipped to go out and find a way of creating and leading music, and making music happen in their communities, that is all their own.
“We’re not going to give people a model to follow, there’s not going to be any ‘you have to be like this and you have to do it this way’ We’re going to find out what you need, we’re going to source it from our collective resources, and then you’re going to use that! You’re going to bend it, you’re going to make it, you’re going to recreate it and it’s going to turn into your style and your method and your system in your community; it’s about making community music in your community in the way that suits it best.”
“What do you need to be able to do this, in order to make this happen?”
To determine whether the resources needed to do this are right out there under their noses or on the other side of the world, Jane and Lyndal are keeping the focus of the project broad.
“We’ll be collecting information from people in Melbourne, from Victoria; Australia, and from around the western world to ask what they’re doing and explore how they’re promoting this development of leadership capacity. CMVic has never collected this sort of research together and so we don’t really know where we sit in a global sense, we don’t know where we sit in terms of whether other people are using this collective empowerment model, and if so, what can we learn from them and if they’re not, how can we share what we do with them. If we find ourselves in a position to be able to enable other people around the world to make their programs a little bit more to do with collective empowerment, that would be great.”
Jane and Lyndal are keen to hear from people who have no idea of CMVic’s history, to hear about what they feel they need and want in order to be able to get community music happening in their communities. Similarly, the Leadership Program is not a review of the training CMVic has offered in the past.
“When we get together with people to talk with them and find out what they want, a lot of them will say ‘we want more of what you offer.’ We know they love what we offer and that it works, so in a sense that does review what we’ve done in the past because it tells us what people want of what we’ve done in the past, and what they don’t want of what we’ve done in the past!”
So what shape will this year take and how will the research be done?
Jane and Lyndal have been working to identify nine regional areas across the state. The key objective will be to connect people in these communities, who are working in areas where they could use singing and they could use music but they don’t know how, with the program. This will be done through a series of consultative conversations and workshops.
“One of the main questions we’ll be asking is ‘how can we fertilise the soil around here?’ What needs to be done for the ecology to be healthy in order that people can empower each other and support each other in this work?”
The first two of these consultation style workshops will be held at the 2019 CMVic Music Camp at Grantville. These will act as prototypes for the rest of the meetings, conversations and workshops, that Lyndal and Jane will be running throughout the rest of the year.
“We’ll be talking about the geographical locations of where the project will be focussing and it means anyone there from any of these regions will then be able to start connecting us into their community and taking it to their region. “People can see what we’re doing, start passing the info on and getting enthusiastic about it.”
Jane and Lyndal can’t wait to share their passion for this project with everyone out on the road. Lyndal explains:
” A number of years ago we went on a CMVic team gathering weekend and allowed ourselves to dream about the state of Victoria as a ‘Community Music Utopia’ and we shared our dreams – through music making together, in all manner of forms and styles, our community is connected and strengthened; we are happier, we live longer more fulfilled lives; we are empowered socially and politically, we share loving empathetic relationships, we have a voice and more… true, it all sounds incredibly idealistic! But what excites me about this project is that as an organisation we are taking a step to turn our dreams into reality. We hope to have more people across Victoria engaging with music in ways that are most relevant to themselves and their communities. And I’m looking forward to being surprised by the outcomes!”
By Deb Carveth, online editor for Community Music Victoria, with Jane Coker and Lyndal Chambers.
The 2019 CMVic Music Camp is at Grantville, May 10-12. Early bird prcices available until April 19. For info and bookings, visit https://cmvic.org.au/whats-on/events/cmvic-music-cp-2019