Beth, aka ‘Grove’ is a 20-year old vocalist from Gloucestershire who’s part of our Upsurge artist development programme. She thought she was destined to work in ‘dead-end jobs’ until someone gave her a ‘big break’. All that’s changed since she became involved with Studio 340 and The Music Works. Now, she’s now earning money from music and taking control of her own career.

Beth had been in bands since she was 15, but after leaving school, didn’t know what to do with her music, or her future. She was in her final year of sixth form when she came across Malaki Patterson, who was running Studio340, and working for The Music Works.

“Malaki was advertising for a vocalist for a gig so I got in touch,” she remembers. “He introduced me to Studio 340 in Cheltenham, the people who work there, and other musicians who use the studio. I found out that, as I was under 18, I could book the studio for rehearsal and recording sessions at a really low cost, so I started to go there regularly. Gradually, I met with musicians who I could collaborate with, got booked for gigs that were organised through the studio, and it all started to take off from there really.”

In the last year, Beth has become part of two Gloucestershire groups: urban vocalists, 5 Mics, and electronic music duo BAAST. She’s also started to make money from her music – including through inclusive music work (also known as community music or participatory youth music).

“Malaki initially booked 5 Mics for an urban vocals workshop at Gloucestershire University where he was delivering the community music module.” she continues. “Because of that, he said that he thought I’d be good at passing on my skills to young people – which wasn’t something I’d thought of before.”

Malaki says: “I could see that Beth had the right attitude and approach to work with young people, doing the sort work that we do at The Music Works. It’s community music and inclusive music leading, and it’s different to simply ‘teaching’ music, because we often work with really vulnerable young people. It needs a particular set of behaviours and skills and it’s not right for every musician.  I wanted to offer her a chance to ‘learn on the job’ and to see what she could do – it’s the best way to learn the skills needed for this type of work.”

Following the University workshop, Malaki booked Beth to be an assistant music leader on a week-long project working with a team of music leaders from The Music Works and young people aged 7-17 from Gloucestershire Young Carers. “My instincts definitely paid off, he says, she was great right from the start.”

Other work has followed as a result – including regular vocal teaching posts with The Rock Project, and Gloucestershire Academy of Music, and vocals coaching/mentoring at our SoundSpace studio in Cinderford.

Beth has also been selected for our Upsurge artist development programme, and is now learning the skills she needs to make a living as a musician. She’ll get up to three years’ support and development including mentoring, networking opportunities, studio time, training, performance opportunities, and support with promotion. Already, as part of BAAST, she’s secured her first Bristol ‘paid-for’ gig, had professional photographs taken, and has met Ed Nickson, Grammy-nominated engineer and learned how to improve the quality of sound in her recordings.

Beth says: “The Upsurge programme is a really solid foundation to help us all grow really quickly. It gives us access to a big support network and to different people and professions that you wouldn’t do otherwise.”

“Being involved with The Music Works has opened up so many different doors for me, things that I hadn’t thought to explore before,” she continues. “Money has been really tight in the last few years and I thought I was just going to be working dead end jobs until I got a big break. Now it feels like I’m making it happen, it’s a really big step in the right direction.”