Enhancing and developing the careers of Aboriginal musicians in New South Wales

With support from the New South Wales Government, APRA AMCOS is discovering and nurturing the careers of Aboriginal musicians in NSW through its unique program, Starting Ground.

Established in 2015, the project was created to help Aboriginal musicians build their skills, promote their work, develop career pathways and access mainstream music markets.

Starting Ground began with community consultation and research to identify key Aboriginal music hotspots for development. Read the executive summary of the findings.

Drawing on the research findings, free two-day skills development workshops were held in 2015/16 in Tamworth, Byron Bay, Dubbo and Redfern. These workshops covered songwriting, performance, business management, music production, touring and radio.

Workshop facilitators included songwriters Kahl Wallis, Leah Flanagan, Radical Son, Fred Leone, Luke Peacock and Brendon Boney; producers Neal Sutherland and Magoo; and industry leaders Sophie Miles, Robb Scott and Craig Spann.

Several workshop participants were then chosen to participate in one-on-one mentoring over six months to build on what they’d learned. Artists mentored included Loren-Jade Ryan, Krista Pav, Athol Munro (pictured above with Magoo), Dylan Goolagong and Tom Avery.

“I am truly grateful for the experience and encourage anybody who loves music to attend these awesome workshops.” – Athol Munro, workshop participant


In 2017, Starting Ground will comprise four stages: 

Workshops

Tailored to deliver meaningful music industry skills development over two days, workshops will be held in two locations in 2017.

Northern Rivers (Byron Bay), 11-12 May 2017
Location partner: SAE Byron Bay

South East NSW (Eden), September 2017
Location partner: South East Arts

Leading industry professionals will facilitate the workshop sessions which will cover songwriting, artist management, getting gigs, touring, copyright, marketing and promotion, music production and deals.

The specific skills areas will be flexible so as to meet the needs of the individual artists in each workshop, and one-on-one sessions with facilitators will be available. 

Mentorships

Offering ongoing support after the workshops is a key part of the Starting Ground project. Many participating artists from regional areas are unable to access music industry professionals in their regions, so mentorships and masterclasses provide an opportunity to continue developing their music careers. 

Following the workshops, participants will be chosen to participate in a 6 month mentorship. They will be selected by their demonstrated level of commitment, desire to pursue a career in music and their technical and creative ability. The artists will be paired up with relevant music industry professionals to focus on pathways relevant to their ongoing professional and artistic development.

Pathway program

In 2017, a pathway program has been added to Starting Ground. This will be an opportunity for one of the selected mentored artists to attend a music industry conference to gain more knowledge from the music industry.

Masterclasses

Following on from the workshops, selected regional workshop participants will be invited to Sydney for an intensive two day music industry workshop and information session. Artists will have direct access to industry professionals and music industry organisations to enable further professional and skills development.

For more information on Starting Ground or to join a workshop, please contact Michael Hutchings: mhutchings@apra.com.au.

Starting Ground is funded by Create NSW through its three-year Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy. 


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