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“What the future has in store no one ever knows before.
Yet we would all like the right to find the key to success”

- Tomorrow is My Turn, by Nina Simone

Tomorrow is My Turn is a leadership program that supports the career development of an emerging Victorian female* jazz leader (including vocalists and instrumentalists), while championing diversity in leadership amongst middle-late secondary school students across Victoria.

The successful applicant is an artist who is already on the path to creative leadership in the jazz sector, and who displays exemplary musicianship and leadership potential.

 

MIJF is excited to announce that the leader of the inaugural Tomorrow is My Turn program is bassist, teacher and mentor

Claire Cross

'I’m thrilled to lead Tomorrow is My Turn with MIJF in its first year. As a performer and educator I really believe that young musicians need to see a place for themselves on the stage and in the music community – they need to see women leading bands, owning the stage, and setting the agenda.

I hope that seeing what a career in music looks like will inspire more young musicians to forge their own, and encountering female leaders in music will encourage them to be one’
said Claire on being selected.

Claire is an exciting and versatile performer and a passionate advocate for women’s place in the music community. Since graduating with an Honours Degree in Jazz Performance and Composition from Monash University in 2014, Claire has worked to establish herself as a respected practising artist and educator. She currently runs YoWo music – a performance program for young women and GNC youth in high schools – which she co-founded with Lena Douglas in 2015. YoWo strives to empower its participants to pursue a career in music and contribute positively towards gender equality in the music scene.

In addition to leading a number of exciting projects and ensembles, Claire also works as a with range of exciting artists including SPIRE Ensemble (performing with the likes of Kate Cebrano, Thando, Kylie Audlist and many others), Gary Pinto and the dynamic folk-rock duo ‘Oh Pep!’. She has graced the stage at Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival, the End of the Line Festival, Stonnington Jazz Festival  and Melbourne Music week, and venues from Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club to Melbourne Recital Centre.  

Claire recorded and released her first album, Next, as the ban leader with The SURFACE Project in 2015 and toured the east coast of Australia alongside Tom Baron & Diego Villalta in 2016. She is heading back into the studio to work with Myles Mumford to create her upcoming album, Moving Targets, which will focus on her most recent jazz compositions.

Program Details

Tomorrow is My Turn will:

  • Provide leadership, remuneration and professional development opportunities for an emerging jazz leader
  • Showcase aspirational and relatable role models during a key development stage for young musicians – “if you can see it you can be it”
  • Encourage increased participation in jazz by young students, particularly women, and encourage greater long-term intake rates into tertiary courses and the sector itself
  • Mainstream female creative leaders among the next generation
  • Raise awareness of the gender diversity issue in music, and its contributing factors, in order to spark new ideas to create a diverse future for jazz in Australia.

Claire will receive:

  • $5,000 cash prize
  • A Career Development package valued at $5,000
  • Regional and metropolitan touring engagements
  • A performance at 2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, plus ticketing package and networking opportunities.

Help us to deliver Tomorrow is my turn

MIJF is asking for your support to deliver this important new program. This an opportunity to promote positive social change, address a long-term need and play a part in supporting the next generation of jazz musicians in Australia. 

We have already raised 70% of the funds we need to make this program happen for 2019. For a limited time, Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus 1 will match all donations to Tomorrow is my turn, dollar-for-dollar which will then be matched again by an anonymous supporter, effectively tripling your donation.

All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.  To donate, click here, or contact Dean Worthington, Marketing and Development Manager on (03) 9001 1388.

Tomorrow is my turn is supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus 1 and the Kestin Family Foundation.

 

Why is this needed?

In my 30 plus year career, I should have had more female peers than I’ve had. I would like to spend the next 30 years helping to make sure this conversation becomes a moot point for the young women just embarking on their careers.

Terri Lyne Carrington (first female artist to win a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Instrumental Album – in 2014) Sexism In Jazz: Being Agents Of Change

Increasing the visibility of female and non-binary role models, as well as providing mentoring opportunities are both extremely important parts of creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for everyone involved in the jazz scene here and abroad.

Shannon Barnett

In my first year in one of the top Australian tertiary jazz programs, only 12 out of the 40 students were women. Six us were vocalists. The others were pianists, a sax player, a drummer, and a couple who dropped out… if gender bias is causing under-representation of women [in tertiary jazz courses], it begins well before anyone signs up for auditions.

Biddy Healey (musician, composer, writer) Be a good girl or play like a man: why women aren't getting into jazz

 

Women are underrepresented at every level of the jazz and live music industry - as instrumentalists, practising professionals, industry panellists, board members, programmers and promoters. Many female instrumentalists feel like they have to be better than their male counterparts to achieve equal success. This often begins in middle-late secondary school, and continues through to university and into the professional arena.

There are a multitude of contributing factors, including societal mores of instrumentation choice for women, the scarcity of diverse role models for emerging musicians, and lack of professional development opportunities for female artists.

Research consistently shows girls tend to dismiss the possibility of a career in jazz and forgo their musical practice, around the middle secondary years (8-10). Key barriers to a career in music for women also include pay inequality, limited access to opportunities and lack of role models. There is also a strong desire for mentoring, fellowships and industry champions for diversity.

 

How will this help?

As the pre-eminent jazz organisation in Australia MIJF is committed to promoting diversity and opportunity not only at the Festival but also across the sector as a whole, while also supporting our long-standing commitment to sector development and artist pathways.

Tomorrow is my turn will:

  • Provide leadership, remuneration and professional development opportunities for an emerging jazz leader
  • Showcase aspirational and relatable role models during a key development stage for young musicians – “if you can see it you can be it”
  • Encourage increased participation in jazz by young students, particularly women, and encourage greater long-term intake rates into tertiary courses and the sector itself
  • Mainstream female creative leaders among the next generation
  • Raise awareness of the gender diversity issue in music, and its contributing factors, in order to spark new ideas to create a diverse future for jazz in Australia.

 

* MIJF acknowledges that gender is a diverse spectrum and when referring to women and men it includes those who identify as female and male, and those who are trans, intersex and gender non-conforming

 

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