Musica aims to celebrate and promote all aspects of female music-making. We offer students the opportunity to work with external partners who are experts in their fields, give university students’ insights and role models, and introduce members of the public to the work of female student performers, composers and conductors, as well as raising awareness of the gender disparities in the music profession.
Every year the Musica team, made up of five music students, run a ‘festival week’ of workshops, masterclasses, concerts, gigs and symposiums. We get a great deal of positive feedback from the students who take part in these activities, who say that they find the activities inspiring, educational but also fun! This spurs us on to continue doing what we do and hopefully improving on the festival year after year! Aside from individuals participating in the workshops, many others in the department get involved in lots of other ways: singing in the choirs, rehearsing people’s compositions, attending the symposium, and as performers and audience members in the Lunchtime Concert and evening gigs. We are very grateful for the support we get from all the staff in the department who are always happy to advise and participate. We have also been very lucky that many inspirational guests have enthusiastically supported our project by coming to lead workshops and masterclasses, and being speakers at our symposiums; they play a vital role in our goal to inspire and celebrate female music-making. The finale concert at the end of the week is a showcase of female composition and performance throughout the department and is open to the public; we are hoping to find more ways of engaging with the wider public outside of the department, perhaps by inviting local sixth-formers to take part in some of the workshops that we organise.
The success of a project such as Musica is difficult to establish quantitatively. We do get a great deal of positive qualitative verbal feedback from the students and staff in the department and the members of the public who have attended the concerts. About 30 students took up the opportunity to be individually involved in the masterclasses and workshops last year. However even more students were involved as audience members to the masterclasses and concerts, as choir members, performers, conductors and general helpers! Our funders last year stated that they were ‘especially pleased to see how the festival has grown over the last few years’ – this is something we are very proud of and aim to continue, as broadening our outreach and audience is very important to our aims.
Funding source(s): Every year we apply to: The Student Community Engagement Fund & The Manchester University Music Society
Project duration: Musica has run yearly since 2017
Project lead: Bryony Lloyd & Alba Hubbard