In 2022, I was appointed as the new Open Academy Assistant in the Royal Academy of Music’s community and participation department. Open Academy provides practical experience in the field, offering students the chance to work on a wide range of workshops led by professional project leaders in settings including nurseries, primary schools, hospitals, care homes and with people living with dementia, including Wigmore Hall’s flagship Music for Life programme.

The internship is part-time (three days a week), supporting the organisation of classes at the Academy and musical workshops offsite across London. These workshops are some of the most exciting parts of the job! I am a point of contact between Academy students, the workshop leaders, and the Open Academy team. I have had the opportunity to participate in the workshops as a supporting musician too. In this role, I have performed at the Royal Albert Hall alongside brass students in local primary schools and project partners, Kinetika Bloco. We were performing a new composition celebrating the Windrush generation. I have also worked at a local pupil referral unit, working with a group of five students to compose a punk-rock song inspired by outer space. The chorus describes looking for a portal to another universe, and it still lives rent-free in my head – it is very catchy!

This year, I helped to organise the Music for the Moment concert series at Wigmore Hall and St Marylebone Parish Church in collaboration with Resonate Arts. The concerts are for people living with dementia and their families/friends and feature performances by Academy students and Fellows. I helped to design the flyers and programmes for each concert, and I liaised with students, venue staff and Resonate Arts to ensure everything was in place on the concert day. It was particularly enjoyable to book the students for the concerts and gain some experience in programming a series of performances.

Furthermore I have worked on the publicity and marketing of various Open Academy projects, compiled monthly departmental newsletters, written blog posts for the Academy website (like this one), and also recently developed and edited a film featuring the Open Academy Fellows.

This year has been such a great experience. The role is a learning process as well as a job, and the Open Academy team are incredibly supportive. Throughout the year, I have worked with lots of partner organisations, workshop leaders, and different sites across London. It’s been fantastic to work with Academy students and Fellows and collaborate on projects.

I hope that this has given a small insight into the job of the Open Academy Assistant - I thoroughly recommend it!

For more information about the Open Academy Assistant role, please click here.

Image 1: Open Academy Assistant working at Camden Music Hub

Image 2: Camden to the Caribbean project at the Royal Albert Hall © Chris Balmer

Image 3: Music for the Moment project at Wigmore Hall © The Kyan Quartet