During a lecture, we were treated to a talk by Malaki Patterson, leader of The Music Works, a company that presents workshops for young people with difficult circumstances, and what they can offer members of the community.
The Music Works is a charity based in Gloucestershire that operates in primary schools, secondary schools and hospitals. When not active in these institutions, they operate out of their own studios located in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cinderford. From these locations, The Music Works offers a range of events, sessions and workshops that give young people the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and realise their potential.
An important point that Malaki stressed was the legal aspect of running this kind of business. Legal documents need to be clear and close at hand when discussing a booking for The Music Works. This is to protect the interests and wellbeing of both The Music Works and the participants involved in case of an accident or in the event of something going wrong. Staff are subjected to thorough background checks upon recruitment and are required to have a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check as assurance that they are deemed legal to work with children of all ages. A thorough health and safety policy is also required to ensure that correct accountability is held to those responsible should an accident occur. The policy they use also makes clear the chain of command, who reports to who, who deals with what, and the responsibilities of each member.
One of the opportunities that The Music Works offers is a way for participants to progress in their musical careers through a project they call Upsurge. The project works by assigning mentors to musicians who are at a stage where they feel they are able to take their music to the next level. Participants are chosen in the 18 to 25 age range from musicians who have previously worked with The Music Works. The Upsurge program is an opportunity for musicians to learn from established musicians and receive aid in making their music even better.
Malaki’s passion for helping the community was clear. He was excited and engaging and really opened my eyes to not only the effect that one organisation can have on the community around them but also to the satisfaction that can be experienced from being involved in community music practices.