Work Experience in Event Management

Felicity Turner

Work Experience Placement at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester with Rank Fellow James Williams (Programming Manager)

Day One

I met the artistic administration team, all of whom were very friendly and made me feel immediately welcome. I sat in on a meeting to discuss the next seasonâ€â„¢s events programme; taking notes and contributing where needed. I gained a real insight into seeing the process of how arts venues conceive their programmes. This meeting included discussing a relatively new initiative for the RNCM involving students making pitches to promote and perform their own small scale concert. The scheme is to attract new audiences and give the students exposure by placing these studio performances before the professional programmed events of the same style. In the late afternoon, I attend a technical rehearsal for Tim Garlandâ€â„¢s Northern Underground Orchestra and worked with the technical crew on finalising the arrangements for the evening show.

Day Two

On the next day my job involved reading through these student pitches for concerts in the Spring Term and then linking them up with appropriate concerts from the Spring Event's programme as confirmed the day before. This not only meant making obvious links, for example putting a Jazz quintet Spotlight event show before a Big Band concert with Clare Teal, but also making pairings that might widen the audience's horizons, such as pairing a main Swing Band event with a Jazz fusion ensemble. We then went into a planning meeting for a Brass Band Festival and went on to meet a representative from Moves 2008, a film festival, where we discussed possible ways of linking RNCM student live performance to accompany new silent movies specially created for the Festival.

Day Three

James took me through the various financial systems in place to ensure the RNCM knows how much money they have to spend on each project and showed me various other systems they have in place to monitor all the information they deal with each day. I attended a lunchtime concert given by the College's Symphony Orchestra which was wonderful. My last "solo" project was to research and source a piece of chamber music by John Adams to be played by students before a performance of a John Adams programme by the Hallé Orchestra. I found this a challenge as nobody was even sure if he had composed any chamber music. But I got to use the RNCM library resources and I managed to find a piece for violin and piano that was the right length. A small victory but it was very exciting to have a piece chosen by me put on the RNCM and Hallé Orchestra's programme! In the evening I attended a concert given by the Jacqui Dankworth Quintet which had RNCM student string players performing alongside the band.

Over the week I was also shown around the building and learnt how all the jobs behind the scenes get the show on the stage. I spent a few hours in Events Management looking at how contracts are drafted and how the performers' fees, expenses and requests are negotiated. I had a look at costumes, scenery and props for the RNCM's opera. I was shown all the performance spaces and I even got to sit in on a rehearsal for the upcoming student production of The Marriage of Figaro. As this allowed me to see the bigger picture and how every step is important.

I gained a lot of invaluable experience and support from the team at the RNCM and it has given me the confidence to seek more experience elsewhere and get started on the ladder towards this career.

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