Freelance Musician Assignment

1. Case Study 

Rachel Hair – Traditional Scottish Harp Player

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube

Rachel Hair is an internationally renowned Scottish traditional lever harpist and her branding and digital presence reflects this. Over several years Rachel has published a number of tune books and CDs and these have been consistently branded with similar fonts and design styles documented here. These fonts and design styles are also consistent throughout her website. Until recently Rachel lead ‘The Rachel Hair Trio’ which was branded in line with her solo branding using the same social media outlets and website, Rachel now fronts a harp and guitar duo with Ron Jappy which is also branded in line with her solo branding and that of the previous trio. This continuity of simple yet recognisable branding across different performance outfits, as a solo performer and teacher in line with the development of her career allows Rachel’s brand to build with every new project or venture. This established branding could also be incorporated into any future projects and provide them with a recognisable and trusted identity from the get-go.

Rachel also effectively uses an Instagram page with new content daily. The page is a considered mix professional and personal content, although clearly a professional account with website links etc. Her Instagram ‘Story’ often features preparation for upcoming performances or workshops, travel to and from work performances, backstage content or rehearsals. This careful intertwining of personal and professional content gives the page a ‘behind the scenes’ feel, with posts clearly coming from Rachel herself who is expressing her personality and thoughts. Posts are all uniform and neatly formatted with effective use of relevant hashtags.

Rachel also ensures a regular flow of quality content on both Facebook and Twitter, often interacting with other accounts and sharing other’s content.

In terms of competitive market positioning, Rachel’s Instagram is particularly strong in highlighting her international reach with regular updates referring to her travels, setting her aside from many of her less international competitors. Rachel’s website tagline is ‘Harpist : Duo : Composer : Tutor’ and again, particularly her Instagram account reflects this versatility with regular reference to all of these activities.

The only slight gap in Rachel’s online presence is the lack of high-quality video content. Her YouTube channel isn’t regularly updated and her social media accounts don’t have any high-quality video content attached to them. In contemporary Scottish traditional music, glossy music videos are common and regularly cause social media storm. Although Rachel already has a solid following, releasing high quality video content would more than likely be beneficial to her branding and online presence.

Brining this into my own practice, I am in the process of building my own branding and online presence. Primarily utilising social media, with a supporting website and I am looking to record and release a high-quality music video in the coming months. I am also going to ensure that my content is relatable and often informal but well formatted and considered. I feel that regular interaction with other accounts’ content and my own followers is also important to ensure a high volume of traffic around my content.

2. Scenario Response 

Hi, Matthew

Thank you so much for getting in touch. I am available for this date and would love to perform as part of the Paisley Abbey Acoustic Evenings concert series. I am able to provide the 45 minute set as requested, this performance will be be a mixture of both gut and wire strung clarsach, reframing historical harp techniques and repertoire in a contemporary traditional context. I  explore traditional textures and forms through historically informed performance. Please see below a sample set list:

Please also find attached a promotional poster for the event, let me know if you would like a blank copy or there are any amendments you would like to be made.

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Could you send me a link to any social media accounts you will be publicising the event through. You can find links to my social media profiles and additional promotional material at http://www.neilwood.co.uk

Thank you,

Neil

Neil Wood | Clarsach Player

http://www.neilwood.co.uk

07*********

 

3. Funding Proposal 

Southside Traditional Music Ensemble

Project Concept 

Southside Traditional Music Ensemble began in February 2019, delivering a weekly, mixed instrument, traditional music workshop for young people aged 8-18 based in the Southside of Glasgow. The group currently only caters for young people who are already receiving music tuition and are in possession of an instrument, data gathered on current participants (April, 2019) reveals that 100% of current participants identify as White British and middle class. With funding, STME would be able to widen reach and accessibility to traditional music education within the Southside of Glasgow. STME would be able to recruit young people with no musical experience and provide them with an instrument and group tuition in that instrument, with a view to them later being invited to join the mixed instrument ensemble. Glasgow’s Southside is culturally diverse and as show by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 has pockets of some of the most impoverished areas in Scotland. Through workshops in local schools and ‘come and try’ sessions in the community, STME would encourage participation and provide affordable music tuition for those able to pay and free tuition for those from low income families.

A traditional songs singing group, open to all, would also be founded providing a chance to learn and sing Scots, Gaelic and World traditional songs with other members of the community. This group would be open to all ages and encourage intergenerational community activity through traditional singing within the community.

STME will perform in the community, for local events and hold concerts and fundraising ceilidhs.

STME looks to encourage those who may not normally be interested in or able to financially sustain playing traditional music to get involved. The benefits of doing so are wide and varied, integration between different sections of the community through a common activity, benefits to mental health and wellbeing through expressive arts and an affordable organised activity to encourage the learning of a new skill. STME will also encourage older or more experienced young people to engage in peer mentoring roles during workshops to gain experience in leadership and interpersonal skills.

Delivery Plan 

STME’s weekly mixed instrument, traditional music group-work class will continue to run every Tuesday evening for one hour at the Cooper Institute, Clarkson Road Glasgow. This space has been booked for the financial year 19/20 at a rate of £9.15 per hour. This activity is run by principal tutor Neil Wood and one additional tutor. Material for the group work classes is arranged by Neil, recordings and sheet music are available online via the secure STME repertoire bank for all previous pieces. Much of the teaching and arranging is done by ear, in line with traditional music teaching practice.

School taster sessions will be offered to local primary schools and run by two STME tutors. Sessions will last 20 minutes with live performance of traditional music and a ‘meet and great’ where pupils will be able to take a closer look at the tutors instruments and ask any questions. These sessions will be free of charge for schools and there will be a total of 21 sessions available with tutors receiving £40 for each hour of session.

Instruments will be purchased as soon as funds are made available and group instrumental tuition will be offered in tin whistle, fiddle and guitar.

Josie Duncan will lead the traditional singing group which will be launched in May 2019 and again be held at the Cooper Institute, at of cost of £9.15 per hour.

The fundraising ceilidh and Christmas Concert will consist of live performances from STME participants as well as live ceilidh dances lead by Rory Matheson and Madeleine Stewart who have kindly offered to perform free of charge for both events. We are also currently in discussion with some local businesses who have expressed willingness to donate some raffle prizes and light refreshments, again in kind.

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The Team

All members of the team are experienced in traditional music education, have received child protection training and are members of the PVG Scotland Scheme. 

Neil Wood – Lead Tutor & Project Co-ordinator

One of few male clarsach players in Scotland, Neil Wood was born in the village of Neilston, thirty minutes south of Glasgow and began playing at the age of six. Having been taught by internationally renowned lever harpist and traditional musician Rachel Hair for over 10 years, Neil is now  studying a BMus in Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he receives clarsach tuition in both gut and wire strung harp fromKaren Marshalsay. He is passionate about Scottish traditional music – specifically music from the Gaelic, Highland and West Coast traditions with a particular interest in historical music and the research, preservation and playing of ancient repertoire on the harp.

 

Neil is also interested in contemporary traditional music and creating new and innovative sounds that are sympathetic to past tradition. Composing and arranging regularly for solo and group performances as well as private commissions, Neil is an experienced composer, winning the Clarsach Composition Competition during Mòd Phaslig 2013. More recently he has began to experiment with electroacoustic composition and sonic art.

 

Keen to keep the tradition alive, Neil is the Instrumental Music Instructor for Clarsach at East Renfrewshire Council and teaches a number of private pupils in the Glasgow area on a weekly basis. Neil as also taught at Fèis Bharraigh and been assistant tutor for classes at Edinburgh International Harp Festival.

 

Tutor – Juliette Lemoine

Juliette Lemoine is a cellist currently completing the Bmus Traditional Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Whilst studying Traditional music, she has an equally strong interest in jazz, roots and classical music. Her background in classical music saw her performing and competing successfully in music festivals across Scotland on both piano and cello, both solo and in ensembles. She was a member of various orchestras and ensembles (NYOS, WSSSO and RCS Symphony among others), which opened up opportunities to perform extensively in the UK and abroad. She has performed at the 2012 BBC proms, and was nominated for the prestigious Guillhermina Suggia Award. She has recorded for the BBC and currently plays in various groups based in Scotland. She discovered traditional music aged seventeen through Celtic Connections and hasn’t looked back since, though still draws on elements of her musical upbringing. Juliette’s skills are unusual in that she is equally comfortable performing in classical music scenarios as she is at rapidly picking up by ear, improvising, composing & arranging. This bridging of the gap is extremely useful in today’s world where musicians are required and expected to fit more roles and be more versatile. Juliette is also a passionate teacher, and currently teaches both cello and piano, on top of workshops and performance preparation classes. She was lucky to receive excellent tuition in both cello and piano growing up and spent her final school year at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. The excellent tuition she received combined with her passion and enthusiasm for music stand her in good stead as a teacher.

Tutor – Madeleine Stewart

Madeleine Stewart is a fiddler whose music is rooted in the eclectic traditions of New England. Originally from New Hampshire, she was awarded an apprenticeship in 2013 from the New Hampshire Council for the Arts, during which time she studied intensively with fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger (Low Lily). Now in Glasgow, Madeleine studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), where Scottish and Irish styles influenced her playing, resulting in a captivating transatlantic blend. Along with her trio, she has played with Christy Scott, Eriska, and RCS’s hand-picked band Úr in 2017; she has also collaborated with musicians both in the United States and Scotland. Between all these projects, Madeleine has performed at Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours and the Boston Celtic Music Festival, as well as other festivals around Scotland and New England.

Tutor – Josie Duncan

Josie Duncan is a diverse young folk singer from the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis. Having been immersed in Glasgow’s fast moving traditional music scene for the past few years where she studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Josie’s crystal clear voice is equally at home in Gaelic, Scots or English. In 2017, Josie was awarded BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award alongside guitarist Pablo Lafuente. Following the release of the duo’s debut album ‘The Morning Tempest’, the pair have toured extensively across the UK and beyond.

Josie’s other projects include INYAL, an innovative 5 piece fusing mercurial tunes, ethereal Gaelic songs and intricate electronics.
Josie Duncan and the Dusk, The Dusk (Innes White, Megan Macdonald and Duncan) seamlessly intertwine three part harmony with delicately crafted instrumentals, all in aid of the stories found in Josie Duncan’s honest and charming self-penned songs.

Whether performing alongside a band or as a soloist, Duncans approach to song offers many nods to the traditional but always feels modern, with a voice which is somehow delicately soft and yet rich and powerful at the same time.

Marketing Approach

 The initial workshops were primarily advertised via social media, STME has an active presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as a simple website. Facebook proved particularly successful in recruiting the initial participants so far future development of the project, Facebook would be one of the main marketing channels as the page is growing a steady following. This marketing strategy would mainly be targeting parents as opposed to young people.

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Physical posters would also be used to advertise in the local area, there are a number of local businesses and arts venues which display information on local activities.

In addition to this, contact has already been established with Glasgow City Council and neighbouring East Renfrewshire Council education and instrumental music departments who are happy to promote the work of the project in schools and instrumental music lessons.

As part of plans to widen access and participation to  traditional music education, STME workshop staff would also offer dynamic workshop/presentations in local schools to raise awareness of the group amongst local young people.

The work of STME would also advertise at local performances and during the fundraising ceilidh and Christmas Concert.

Measuring Success 

The principle success criteria for Southside Traditional Music Ensemble by April 2020 are:

  • Have participant representation proportional to the most current data for the local community on ethnicity, race, social class and gender. Data to be gathered via anonymous participant questionnaire.
  • Have 20+ members attending the weekly mixed instrument workshop. Data collected from registers.
  • Have have 20+ young people receiving weekly group instrumental tuition. Data collected from registers.
  • Have 30+ members of the weekly traditional singing group. Data collected from registers. 
  • Have a gross income of over £6,500. Data collected from actual income and expenditure record.
  • Have all available instruments on loan. Data collected from instrument loan record.
  • Have an active and visible social media presences across a variety of platforms. Data based on numbers of followers and volume of interaction with and reach of posts.

Budget

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