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More Music Mentorship profile: Colette Webb

Posted by Darren Leadsom on 26 June 2024

Colette Webb has been part of our More Music Mentorship scheme this year, a structured 8 month programme of shadowing, mentoring and training which gave mentees an overview of our diverse in-house programme and provided a hand-on insight into community music practice.  Here she tells us about her experience as a mentee, what she has learned, experienced and what she hopes to do next.

This mentorship has been enriching and has allowed me to develop as a community music practitioner but also as a person, I have had the opportunity to observe and shadow many different workshops and groups across this mentorship. I have shadowed over 35 sessions, ranging from singing groups, to early years groups such as Clapping Song, Chinese drumming, SEND sessions in schools, the Girls Can weekend supporting young female musicians and many more which challenged me in different ways.

However, through these challenges, I discovered a passion for early years and a desire to work in this area in the future.

To hone in on this, in February I observed and began to lead parts of Clapping Song (a music session for under 5s and their families/carers) with Anni Tracy, one of the early years team members at More Music. I led a small part of the session and then, as I grew in confidence, began to lead more of the session with help from Anni when needed. She provided me with invaluable advice, guidance and support on how she runs her sessions, why she does certain activities and how this helps the children’s development.

Observing how she structures and approaches early years sessions and how she adapts and alters the session depending on how the children are feeling on the day, gave me a strong foundation in how to structure my own session in the future.

As well as Clapping Song, I attended an early years conference training day in Skipton with Anni and Ben McCabe (early years programme manager) where I got the opportunity to meet other early years practitioners and learn from them about the sessions they run, what works and what I can utilise as an aspiring early years practitioner.

My exploration of early years continued, as I took part in the Magic Islands immersive sensory show just before Easter. I was a part of the team, observed and took part in creating a magical environment where children had the space to explore through immersive play and music. Magic Islands taught me a lot more about immersive and sensory sessions for early years and gave me an idea for my own workshop, a ‘Sensory Walk in the Woods’.

I pitched this idea to Ben for More Music’s ‘That Spring Thing’ community festival in May to run a pilot of the workshop, which he accepted. I then worked with Anni and Ben on developing and adapting my idea to fit in with ‘That Spring Thing’ event. My workshop was a sensory walk in the woods engaging all of the children’s senses, what they might see, hear, taste, smell and feel on a walk in the woods and we used props such as felt flowers to enhance the immersive sensory experience.

The pilot was overall successful and 20 children attended with their parents, all the children enjoyed it and I received some lovely feedback from parents and children as well as some constructive feedback and areas for development.

I have taken all this on board and am now in the process of adapting the workshop to make it in to a viable and adaptable project, to be able to put two project funding bids forward with the support and help of my mentor Rachel so I can take and lead this project around Lancashire in the autumn if successful.

Before this mentorship, I had just graduated York St John University with my Community Music degree and was back in Lancaster lacking in confidence at first and anxious about the future and my career. This mentorship has allowed me to develop my own confidence in what I have to offer as an individual but also as a professional, as a result of this, doors have opened to me to lots of different opportunities for building a successful portfolio career.

Some of these include; becoming a singing and beginner piano tutor at the music spot and Lancaster community music centre, completing the singing for lung health course provided by musical breath and I am in the process of working with a community music organisation to get this up and running. Developing my own singing for well-being business and obtaining a place at the growing club roots and shoots start-up business course and I have also had the opportunity to teach privately which is slowly gathering momentum. This mentorship has enabled me to start my career and be confident in taking every opportunity that comes my way.

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