Booking is now open for ‘Become Your Own Agent’, our online course which helps musicians take their careers to the next level. The courses are available from 3 March 2020.
Are you a professional musician without an agent? You’ll know promoting yourself and getting noticed by the right people is often a huge challenge, no matter what stage your career is at.
The industry is also changing rapidly, so many of the old rules and
conventions no longer apply. With digital, social media, limits on time, and
many other people competing in the same space, there’s more to do than ever.
Here’s where I can help, creating an agent who
knows you best: You!
I’ll help you learn all the tools and tricks of the trade so you can promote yourself and your work to the venues, promoters, broadcasters and festivals that you want to reach.
You’ll also have the option to join our Facebook community, exclusively for Polyphony Arts online course participants, to connect with other music professionals and share advice, challenges and successes with them.
The course will teach you to:
Get more performances/commissions
Achieve your ideal fees
Attract work offers from higher profile venues and
Boost your profile in the industry
Build a list of useful contacts
Get the best out of your network
Tackle imposter syndrome and other barriers to
Participants on the last course said:
“Incredibly insightful to see things from the point of view of the promoter”
“You inspire confidence and your approach is encouraging”
The course is available in two forms – with weekly tasks and feedback, if you like deadlines and want to see results in four weeks (course starts Tuesday 3 March 2020), or self-paced, if you need to spread the work and the cost over time.
My dad has
Parkinson’s disease. It’s one of those things which, unfortunately, just
happens. As with any disability, new circumstances inevitably bring some adaptations
and new routines in one’s everyday life: whether involving medicines, more
frequent visits to the toilet, or the need of taking into account how tired the
body may feel on particular days, making walking more challenging than usual.
work, being fully immersed in the arts, there are numerous events to which I wish
to bring my parents along. Yet, there are often times where the answer eventually
turns into a “never mind, maybe next time”. Being a classical pianist myself,
my love for classical music, attentive audiences and concert halls is granted. Yet,
the expectation of a still, quiet audience often does not make these concerts
an ideal environment for people affected by Parkinson’s. It is unpredictable
how strong the uncontrolled movements or shaking may be on certain days or
times of the day. It is also unpredictable who is going to sit next to you: there
might be the occasional glance on you; and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Stress
certainly does not help towards the effects of Parkinson’s, and such events
should certainly not be a reason for stress—quite the opposite! Anyone,
regardless of one’s condition, should have the chance to fully enjoy music,
without having to think twice whether “it’s OK or not” to attend.
It’s thrilling to see initiatives from the arts in taking a step closer towards disabilities; for instance, through relaxed performances. If you are in Hull and surroundings, we are excited to be hosting Hull Chamber Music’s very first relaxed concert ‘A Musical Journey’ at the Ferens Art Gallery, Friday 21st February 2020 at 11am! Carers and under 18s are welcome to attend for free (Standard Ticket: £10). Anyone attending will be free to move around, without any need of sitting still and quiet. The performance will also be BSL interpreted, as BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Award winner violinist Fenella Humphreys, alongside international pianist Nicola Eimer, will guide the audience through a musical journey around the world. Babies and toddlers are also most welcome to the event.
It would be
lovely to see you there — do spread the word!
One final note: we recently launched a Crowdfunding campaign to give away tickets to those who cannot otherwise afford them. Tickets are distributed through local charities, including Parkinson’s and Mind, among others. We would be incredibly grateful if you could chip in to let us reach our new target; if this is not possible for you, simply sharing the link below and encourage your friends to do so would be immensely helpful (we have only 8 days left to achieve this!):
Polyphony Arts is delighted to be working with a new, exciting company: The Come and Sing Company (CASC)! CASC brings people together in song, with the aim of creating tailor-made musical workshops and events to help people connect through music. To deliver this, CASC’s exceptional team of performers, conductors, workshop leaders (and more!) share decades of musical experience.
Co-founded by Tom Appleton and Elenor Bowers-Jolley, CASC’s clients include the National Trust, Silver Spoon, Wexford Mental Health Association, Snape Maltings, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Wellington College, among many others. With Norfolk Music Hub (NMHub), CASC brought 27 primary schools together in a fusion of Norfolk folksongs and the music of South Asia. Among the numerous projects, a partnership with Arts and Gardens (supported by the National Trust) gave rise to ‘Lyveden New Bield–A Secret Concert’ and ‘Come and Sing in Secret’, with the aim of making a visitor’s experience closer to founder Thomas Tresham’s original vision for the site, whilst better connecting with the local, regional and national audience.
CASC led a number of other events, such as choral workshops for adult choirs, vocal and conducting technique CPD sessions for teachers, prep school choral days, come and sing Disney/musicals, health and wellbeing sessions, and many teambuilding days for businesses.
Polyphony Arts is thrilled to welcome composer and all-round artist Edward Cowie! Described as ‘one of the most distinctive musical minds of our time’ (Observer), Cowie’s music frequently fuses his rich knowledge and interest in science, nature and the visual arts. Many of his works are preceded by pre-compositional drawings—many of which have been presented in numerous public exhibitions; in addition, studies and collaborations with leading physicists led to a body of new works that directly translate scientific theory and experiment into music.
Edward Cowie has been a composer in Association with the BBC
Singers (2003-5), and the first Artist in Residence with the Royal Society for
the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Among Edward’s prestigious successes as a
composer, his numerous awards include a Gulbenkian Award to study at The Royal
Ballet, The Radcliffe International Composer’s Prize and a Chopin Fellowship to
study with Lutosławski in Poland. His work for television has included a major
film on Edward Lear for Granada TV, and his acclaimed BBCTV2 film ‘Leonardo of
1986’. As an academic, Edward has held major professorships in two Australian
and one British University; his reputation continues to grow worldwide, and new
CDs emerge with high praise and appreciation.
“I’ve had to stop and restart my business three times. Every single time I start from scratch. If I’d had access to shared parental leave, my husband and I could have managed to keep both businesses going… My husband pays his taxes, contributes to society, so why on earth doesn’t he get paid paternity leave?”
Ella Jarman-Pinto, composer, talks about work/parenthood balance, the inequalities of freelance maternity and paternity leave, and how she can work creatively with other musicians and film-makers as well as raising a family.
How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have three children, two of them living. Marvellous would have been 5, Otis is 3.5 (threenager, argh!) and Vita is 13 months.
Tell me a bit about your work and how it is structured.
I help media and film producers by creating unique and timeless musical compositions, ensuring that their creative vision remains at the forefront. I find it fascinating that music can completely change the emotion of a scene, and my job is to unpick exactly what a producer or director needs and channel it into music. This is the perfect career as it means that I can work from home. My husband is studying away on a music therapy masters for half of the week, so it means that if the children are ill I can just work in the evening to catch up. The children are in nursery three afternoons a week, and my mum helps me for one evening when I have to teach. In addition I help people of all ages and experiences in the community unleash their inner creativity, whether that’s through singing or composing. My new singing group ParentSing, (Fridays, 1.15-2.30pm, Penrith) is for parents who need to take time for themselves but struggle with childcare.
Tell me about your work/parenthood balance.
It’s hard and it’s still evolving. We’re only four weeks into my husband’s two year course, so we’re adjusting as we go along! I think I’ve changed nursery days three times over the last two months. But I spend a wonderful amount of time with my kids. They’ve only just started playing together and it’s just amazing.
Have you had to turn down opportunities because of being a parent?
I don’t think I have, but I’ve been on maternity leave so much in the last few years that I have really been able to pick and choose what I want to do. I’ve felt more empowered with less time, because it means I have to focus. The work that I do is exactly what I want, and that means I write better music and am a better teacher. I do have to big up Harriet Wybor at PRS at this point, because I was invited to take part in the Wild Plum Songbook/PRS/Cheltenham Music festival workshops for female composers. Vita was only six months and exclusively breastfed, so I said I needed to bring her with me. Harriet didn’t bat an eyelid, organised enough food for my sisters who looked after her and arranged a room that I could care for her in. It meant that I could go and have this fantastic experience and I’m so grateful to them. Vita loved it too!
Do you have a partner, and if so are they also freelance? What effect does this have?
My husband is freelance as well. He has been doing a lot of peri teaching all over the county as it is a relatively stable income and has helped us while we had our family. However, September has always been a very scary time. One year none of his schools had confirmed, we were two weeks into the new school year and he was the main wage earner. I ended up taking on a lot of teaching on an instrument I didn’t enjoy in order to make up the shortfall. It was fab to start with, but we struggled with winter illnesses and nursery and lost a lot of money between us. By the time I went on maternity leave we were clear that I should pursue composition more as it meant I could work from home and be more flexible.
Do you have regular childcare, and if so, in what form?
We send our kids to a fab nursery with a beautiful meadow out of the back! The children spend most of the time outside and are really happy there. The nursery is as flexible as it can be, but we have had to rely on parents and friends a lot. We can’t afford and don’t want full-time childcare, so until now have split the remaining days equally between us. We also have a rule that whomever was supposed to be with the children has to organise the childcare if they then get work.
Have you performed anywhere that made the work/parenthood balance easier?
When both kids were tiny I’d regularly sing with them in slings on my back or front. A number of times they’ve made a grab for the mic or joined in!
What can promoters/venues/festival organisers do to help freelance artists who are parents?
Creche, quiet rooms, food(!), regular breaks, an understanding smile, etc.
Are there any organisations/venues/festivals etc that you have worked with that are particularly supportive of performers who are parents?
I mentioned PRS above. Love them. They were so so lovely!! Plus, Vita was the star of the show. Every break she would come out and everyone, mentors and composers alike, came to say hello. I joked I should do all of my networking with her with me.
Were you freelance before you had children? If not, what prompted the change?
I’ve been freelance for ten years. I worked in a couple of PAYE jobs straight out of uni, but I like the freedom and being my own boss. Having children has made me even more grateful to be self-employed. I can choose my hours, and spend time with my children. And I think my husband spends more time with them than he would as PAYE because he’s not stuck with the old patriarchal ideas that men shouldn’t be adjusting their hours at work.
How did being a freelance musician affect your parental leave?
This is a subject that I feel very strongly about. I’m a follower and supporter of Olga FitzRoy, who is campaigning for shared parental leave to be extended to self-employed parents. I’ve had to stop and restart my business three times. Every single time I start from scratch. If I’d had access to shared parental leave, my husband and I could have managed to keep both businesses going. I’m also so angry when it comes to KIT days. I work hourly. So telling me that teaching one lesson in a day (for example, if there are difficulties scheduling) counts as a KIT day is completely ridiculous when you compare it to someone else working a full day and getting paid three times the amount. It’s also ridiculous that PAYE parents can start a freelance job and not be under the same rules. Don’t get me started on paternity! My husband pays his taxes, contributes to society, so why on earth doesn’t he get paid paternity leave?
Ella Jarman-Pinto is a Cumbria-based composer and vocal leader. She studied composition with Julian Philips at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Ella was one of six composers selected to take part in the Wild Plum Songbook workshops, a collaboration with PRS and Cheltenham Music Festival, with Everyday Magic, in March 2019. She was Composer in Residence with Streetwise Opera from 2016-17 and an RPS Young Musician from 2013-14.
Ella provided the original music score for award-winning short film, AstraZeneca’ The Attack’, with Maker Projects and Havas Lynx, that won a Bronze award at Cannes Lion for Cinematography in 2018. Other recent commissions include a short film with Maker Projects that won a Bronze award at Cannes Lion for Cinematography in 2018; Savage and Allan Jeffers for The Art of Change as part of their staged song cycle, The Reckoning, premiered July 2018; and Songs for my Children for Hull Urban Opera as part of Brain Jar Session #2, July 2018. Ella has been featured in BBC Radio 3’s International Women’s Day (2016) and BBC National Music Day (2015) celebrations with BBC Singers performances of Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep. She received a further performance and broadcast by the BBC Singers of Heigh Ho, The Holly!, in October 2016.
Ella writes for voice, TV and film; she teaches singing and composition in Cumbria; and works alongside BlueJam Arts to encourage children and adults to follow their creative impulses and to make music, whatever their experience.
We are very excited to welcome Duo Tandem (Necati Emirzade and Mark Anderson) to Polyphony Arts’ performers! The instrumental guitar duo, with an emphasis on story-telling through music, has been hailed as “trad[ing] musical ideas back and forth so effortlessly” by Classical Guitar Magazine and described as “pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on classical guitars,” by Minor7th.
Their shared artistic vision blends their distinct,
individual cultural backgrounds into a unique, combined musical voice. The duo
formed in 2012, while studying at the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of
Music. Since then, the ensemble captivated audiences with performances across
both the United States as well as Europe. Recent engagements include their
album “Watching the World Go By”, chosen by Blair Jackson (editor of Classical
Guitar Magazine) as a top-ten 2018 album. In 2020, Duo Tandem will release a
further album on the Naxos label, and will include the Cypriot composer Kemal
“I cannot make weekday childcare compatible with the long and anti-social hours of performing arts jobs.”
to our blog series, talking to leading musicians who are also parents about their
experiences of balancing their careers with family life. This
week we hear from someone working on the technical side of the music, theatre
and TV industry – Laura Perrett, freelance video designer, talks about the
challenges of long and inflexible tech rehearsals.
children do you have and how old are they?
I have one
son who is nearly two.
Tell us a bit
about your work and how it is structured.
Before I got
pregnant I was a full-time video designer working in a freelance capacity. I
design and create visuals for projection, LED screens and broadcast
screens. I balanced theatre jobs with more commercial arena-sized music concert
jobs as they pay a living wage whereas theatre and opera rarely do. I never
tour, but I do have to be present for tech-rehearsals and preview periods, the
hours for which are dictated by the production. Jobs can range from
being many months long for arena tours to just a few weeks for small theatre
productions; the design stage of jobs offers me far more flexibility on hours
than the tech-rehearsals stage which offers zero flexibility. It is the
tech-rehearsals part of my job that is preventing me from working.
Tell me about
your work/parenthood balance.
There is none
at the moment. Apart from a very small job I did in November for the Royal
Variety Performance which allowed me to work at weekends (so my partner
covered), I cannot make weekday childcare compatible with the long and
anti-social hours of performing arts jobs.
Have you had
to turn down opportunities because of being a parent?
How did this
make you feel?
isolated. I accept that it was my choice to be a parent but the lack of
flexible and affordable childcare means I cannot meet the needs to work in an
ad-hoc fashion. I am considering changing career or re-purposing my skills!
Do you have a
partner, and if so are they also freelance? What effect does this have?
My partner is
freelance, and currently has a very reliable client who offers regular work and
pays incredibly quickly. If I was the main breadwinner, I would be very anxious
about my clients paying me on time. So we let him work full time purely for the
sake of economics. My partner works in the television industry and the hours
are long, which means he cannot do nursery drop-offs or pickups either. We have
no family help.
Do you have
regular childcare, and if so, in what form?
Yes – nursery
two days a week. We pay for this to give me a chance to work, but currently as
my hours are so limited to two days I week I am struggling to find part-time
work in my sector. It’s basically full time or nothing. I often use these days
to train, build my website or try and speak to potential new clients if I do
not have paid work.
promoters/venues/festival organisers do to help freelance artists who are
I don’t see
how hours can change or be flexible tbh. A show is a show, and one has to be
there for tech rehearsals to make it happen! It would be nice if hours could be
9-5 instead of 12 hour days! No nursery in the world is going to cover that.
How did being
a freelance musician affect your parental leave?
freelance video designer is pretty much the same as being a freelance anything.
Minimal Maternity Allowance, and somehow you have to find a way to keep your
name and business out there! Which is hard when you are not creating new
Laura Perrett is a designer
specialising in creative video content and moving image for theatre, opera,
music and broadcast. She has over 15 years experience working with some of the
best artists, directors and storytellers in the industry. Recent design
and associate design credits include the creation of screen content for: Take
That Wonderland Tour 2017 (UK Tour), Half a Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre),
Murder Ballad (Arts Theatre)Turn of the Screw (Teatro Alla Scala), The Sessions
: A live re-staging of The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios (Royal Albert Hall),
Mary Poppins (UK Tour), Hamlet (Barbican), Black Sabbath at Hyde Park, The
Rolling Stones (US Zipcode Tour), U2 i+e (World Tour) and ‘Stand Up To Cancer’
on Channel 4.
Polyphony Arts is delighted to be representing international organist Jennifer Bate!
An “esteemed wizard of the organ” (The Times), Jennifer stands as a major figure in the top rank of international organists. Her vast repertoire ranges from the 18th Century to the virtuoso writings of the present time. She has performed in nearly 50 countries across the globe, and numerous composers have written for her, inspired by her phenomenal technique and her ability to bring out the colours of the organ.
Among her numerous achievements, Jennifer became Messiaen’s organist of choice, following her recording of the composer’s complete works at Beauvais Cathedral. The numerous awards for her recordings of Messaien’s works include the Diapason d’Or and Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Jennifer has a deep knowledge of the history of music; she lectures on a wide range of musical subjects at Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol Universities, and particularly enjoys working with young people.