Being a trainee workshop leader

Catriona Kirk, trainee workshop leader

This blog post was written by Catriona Kirk, trainee workshop leader with Limelight Music.

My name is Catriona Kirk and I am a trainee workshop leader with Limelight Music. I have been working with Limelight for almost a year now so I have been involved with lots of projects but nothing has been as unique and different as the Music for Social Innovation project. As a workshop leader I’m lucky I get be to very involved in the project. Once everyone is sitting in the circle it’s often up to me to get everyone energised and ready to play by doing a physical warm up, (this often involves a lot of shaking and looking a bit silly) and a vocal warm up (this often involves making a lot of silly and very loud noises). I also help aid the leading of songs and if we are doing some drumming and chanting I’ll tend to be the caller that calls to the group for the drum and voice response.

I’ve really enjoyed being involved in this project as not only has it been great fun but it’s also been great to see individuals progress. Although this project is music-based it’s so much more than just teaching songs and rhythms. For me it’s been about seeing people expand their social capability in a safe environment, be completely themselves and grow in confidence through the music I teach. It’s about seeing people sing at the top of their lungs to songs that they have had the chance to write and develop within the group. As a workshop leader, it has been a real pleasure to see individuals progress within this project and see how much of a real difference it is making to their lives.

It has been different to other projects I have worked on because this project isn’t just about the music; it is about the person as well and how in teaching the music the way we do, it will hopefully teach them something about themselves in the process. It’s been about learning how to combine the aspect of musical development with personal development and how to teach that in a way that works.

It has been interesting for me to also be involved in the research aspect of the project as it isn’t something I would usually do within my work. It’s been interesting to discuss methods of teaching and to speak in depth about the project. It has helped me to develop my workshopping methods. I think personally one of the big things I have learnt within this project is how powerful music can be when it is taught in this way. It’s no secret that music has multiple benefits on the brain and your own wellbeing, but when you are able to have a group in an environment like the Music as Social Innovation project it’s amazing how much it does. The group environment is great for individuals to feel a part of something bigger and to feel like they are all working together and are a group, but also it gives individuals the chance to express themselves and be with people who love music like they do. For me, being able to teach such interesting, passionate individuals and see their progression from week to week has been a real blessing and in return has also taught me a lot! I think this project is really special and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. Music really can change lives.

Catriona Kirk


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