Learning from the Professionals: the Musicplus+ Mentoring Scheme


The Scottish Music Centre was founded in 1969 as a support organisation for composers and musicians resident in Scotland. Since its relocation to Glasgow’s City Halls in 2006 it has been widely developed into a unique national resource for Scotland’s music sector (and an information source for the general public) while also delivering outreach projects for young people aged 5-25.

One such project is Musicplus+, a mentoring scheme run by the Scottish Music Centre, supported by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and The Robertson Trust. MusicPlus+ Project Manager, Sace Lockhart, tells us more...

Tell us a bit more about Musicplus+?

Musicplus+ is targeted at hard to reach and marginalised young people - some living in areas of multiple deprivation - and aims to offer one to one experience with music industry professionals who provide guidance, encouragement, skills and knowledge across a range of industry roles from performance to event promotion. 

Having started as a pilot in Glasgow, before expanding to Fife and the Highlands, we finally became a national project in 2011, with activity covering Scotland from Thurso in the north, to Dumfries and Galloway in the south of the country. Now in our 6th year, we've built up a considerable network of music and community organisations, venues and currently have over 70 music industry professionals employed as part time mentors.


    What does the Musicplus+ programme entail?

    The programme has five main activity strands:

    One to one mentoring sessions
    Musicplus+ changed the format of its meetings last year from four face to face meetings to six in response to demand from participant evaluations. Participants can switch between mentors during meetings and access a wide range of subjects and advice from music industry professionals.

    Group mentoring sessions
    Group mentoring sessions take place when we have clusters of individuals interested in the same subject matter. These sessions cover a range of topics from creative to technical tasks, encourage group participation, and are a valuable resource for developing self-confidence through peer learning.

    We also run workshops to compliment the core learning available through the programme. These workshops generally focus on development of existing skills as well as a benchmark for future activity and legacy for the project, workshops may be on subjects such as “promoting your music online” or “writing music for film”. Musicplus+ participants are given first refusal for places but the workshops are also open to the general public developing relationships in communities and spreading the word of the project. 

    Experience days
    We regularly explore educational and employment opportunities for our young people and experience days are a way of giving them a real sense of a working in the music industry. We've placed young people in key festivals as events assistants (Glasgow Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections, Belladrum) as well as providing technical opportunities for them (ABC Glasgow, The Big Burns Supper, TITP, Stereo, The Venue) where they shadow professionals in their working day.

    Tutorial videos
    We really wanted to pilot a series of videos that would act as a resource and legacy for Musicplus+ participants where they could focus on one subject in its entirety for example songwriting or music production. Our hope is to continue these videos with the help of some commercial sponsorship.

    What’s next for the young people involved in Musicplus+?

    As we enter our sixth year, we are starting to see the legacy of the project, with young people gaining a foothold in the music and creative industries. Young people are now employed in music venues, record companies, event management, and event promotion. There have also been various freelance opportunities for participants including, setting up record labels, setting up club nights, event promotion, and music management.

    The greatest attribute of the project is the ability to raise the confidence of the individuals who take part, helping them to progress in their family life, education and employment.

    While few people my age know what they want to do being able to work with an industry professional helped me believe that my goal to have a career in the music industry is in fact, achievable.- Jack Gibson, Musicplus+ Participant

    More Info 

    For more information on Musicplus+ visit musicplus.org.uk, follow them on Twitter @musicplusmentor and Facebook/musicplusmentoring.

    The Scottish Music Centre also runs MusicPlus+'s sister project Hit The Road, a touring project for 14-19 year old aspiring performers at an early stage in their music making career.