Community musician

 2 March 2011

Community musicians are musicians who work with individuals or groups to make music. They can function as a cross between community development workers and music tutors. Their work may be wholly based around developing musical ability. Community musicians also have a responsibility to achieve social goals through musical activity.

Tim Brown is the founder and Managing Director of the community music organization Raw Material.
Tim Brown is the founder and Managing Director of the community music organization Raw Material.

Community musicians may work in a wide variety of settings with different goals. Some examples could include:

  • Working in a pupil referral unit. This could mean DJing with young people who refuse to go to school, with the aim of building their self confidence
  • Percussion work in a day care centre with adults with learning difficulties. This may help communication and teamwork skills
  • A one-to-one session with an elderly housebound person
  • Creating new musical ensembles of young people of mixed abilities and instruments
  • Working on a schools' education project with the outreach team from an orchestra.

Community musicians, therefore, need a mix of musical, people, and facilitating skills. They need to help to develop their creative and social skills, rather than just their musical ability.

They may work in any musical style, such as - jazz, pop, south Asian or hiphop. A community musician will also be a confident player of an instrument. They will often play a number of other instruments as well. Skills in improvisation, composition or song writing are also widely used by community musicians.

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