I must first declare my relationship with Sound It Out over the years. But to get to the point – I’ve put that at the bottom of the blog in case you want to know…
The team who run Sound It Out now, led very ably by Matthew Daniels are some of the most skilled I have had the joy to work with. I won’t use the ‘hardworking’ label – as loads of people are hardworking but a bit rubbish. This lot are dedicated *and* brilliant at what they do.
The projects they design and create are thoughtful and of the highest quality. They work with musicians who are highly skilled at working with music and place them with groups of people who wouldn’t normally get to participate in music making. Very often these projects are simply life changing for people involved and at the very least they are high quality musical experiences for them that they will probably never forget.
My theory – though I could be wrong – is that SIO have been cut by ACE as they are extremely good at fundraising (so I know it won’t be the quality of the bid that went in) and so ACE think that Sound It Out will be able to get the money from elsewhere.
Not true. The ACE money is one of the only pots of funding that pays for core staff. Without those staff there is no-one to raise all the other funding. It’s quite simple really. Most of the other funding SIO can apply for – won’t pay for people just projects…. But someone has to run the joint and what SIO does well is the quality control.
Unlike larger arts institutions that run large scale events, Sound It Out can not get sponsorship or corporate support for it’s work and can’t charge lots for tickets at it’s event because it is all about access. My experience of the company tells me that they have explored every avenue of alternative funding and are looking at more income generating schemes possibly more than some of the companies that have been successful with the ACE money.
Anyway – whatever the reason – this is a bad decision in my view and will lead to a lot of people missing out on some very transformational music projects. Can we do anything about it?
I would like to gather on this page – comments from people who know SIO. Anyone can comment of course – but I’d prefer it if this didn’t just become a debate about the pros and cons of funding in general. I want to gather feedback from those who have been involved or been touched by the work of SIO. Even if it doesn’t help their cause it might be useful to gather a bit of feedback for the company in these circumstances.
My past relationship to SIO should you want to know:
In 1994 when I was serving chips in the mac cafe as a student it was the then Director of Sound It Out who gave me my first work experience. Then when I graduated I worked for the CBSO Education Team 3 days per week a job that I was chuffed to get. However, after that I worked as a project co-ordinator for Sound It Out– which is when I realised just how good proper music workshops could be. Don’t get me wrong the CBSO education dept in 1995 was good – but Sound It Out‘s musicians blew me away. OK so they didn’t get to play with Simon Rattle – but their skills when put in a room with a bunch on participants was awe inspiring. Since then I have had all sorts of relationships with Sound It Out and then between 2005 and 2010 I was Chair of their board of trustees. So I’ve seen the organisation grow and evolve. I left to give myself some more work life balance and as a past trustee can’t work for the organisation or gain anything from it – so I have nothing personal to gain from this campaign.