As New Project Manager at London-based youth and community music organisation CM, Sam Johnson splits his time between fundraising and tutoring. He explains what’s involved in his unique role.
Place of work?
CM (Community Music). A London-based youth and community music organisation which aims to provide opportunities for creative music making to people of all backgrounds.
A bit of everything! Some teaching, some producing, some fundraising, wrestling copies of Logic X into submission, making new partnerships with fantastic musicians and other arts organisations… and play in a band called Lucky Elephant, signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label
How long have you had the job?
I’ve been teaching at CM for eight years and have been more involved with the new projects and fundraising side for the last two.
What does a typical day involve?
There is no typical day really. It’s one of the wonderful aspects of the work. On any given day I could be teaching our foundation degree students about production techniques, working with full bands, singers, orchestras and instrumentalists to help them further their ability to record and mix sound. I could be working on the Music Space programme which is aimed more towards 11- to 19-year-olds and centred around live music. I spend some of my time looking at ways for us to attract income from the corporate sector and also establish new creative partners to work with throughout the year.
Highs of the job?
Helping people to realise their artistic ideas, or perhaps realise they have artistic ideas! I really believe that everyone is creative at heart – I think, unfortunately, a lot of that innate creativity gets beaten out of us along the way and it’s brilliant to help restore a bit of balance.
Lows of the job?
Realising how little respect is given to the idea of creative education. There’s loads of old flannel spouted forth about preparing our children for the world of work, but how can any of us possibly know what that will look like in 10 or 15 years? Being able to think creatively and being exposed to creative practice brings to the fore all the key skills that help all of us be better prepared for not just work but life in general.
Who are the people who’ve had the biggest influence on your career and why?
No one famous, just those who have been kind enough to pass on knowledge and spend some time coaxing and encouraging. I’m only realising now quite how pivotal some of those people have been – they were so open and giving at the time that it just felt totally normal, but when you come to teach yourself you realise how imperative it is to let people discover their own creative voice.
Being able to think creatively brings to the fore all the key skills that help all of us be better prepared for life
How did you get the job?
I studied at CM on the Music Teacher Training Course. I’m a musician and a producer myself and have been playing in bands, recording musicians and performing live since I was a teenager. I’ve been signed for the past 15 years. I looked at CM initially as I’d always enjoyed the process of learning from others and thought it might be something I’d like to explore. The course was such an eye opener – not just from the perspective of learning to be a good teacher, but from my own musical perspective. There’s something very interesting about thinking through a subject you’ve been involved with intimately for many years – it helps you to re-evaluate the good and the bad sides of your own work, habits and practice. I remember being quite frustrated at times that there weren’t any immediate paths from being a musician straight into teaching, but I realise now how massively important that buffer is. Just because you can play doesn’t mean you can teach! It’s definitely another skill and one that needs as much time and practice and effort as learning an instrument.
How can we get your job?
Study at CM on the Music Teacher Training Course (now called the MLT)!
Find out more about CM at cmsounds.com