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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 program initiative of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival which will celebrate and promote emerging female* leaders in the jazz sector while investing in the future of Australian jazz by engaging with secondary school students across Victoria.

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. Can you help us raise the remaining $24,000 before December? For a limited time, Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus 1 will match all donations to Tomorrow is my turn, dollar-for-dollar, up to $40,000, effectively doubling your investment.

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.


What is Tomorrow is my turn?

Tomorrow is my turn will be an annual program that supports the career development of an emerging female* instrumental artist while championing diversity in leadership amongst middle-late secondary school students across Victoria.

The selected artist will receive a career development prize package including: a cash scholarship; a performance opportunity at MIJF; mentoring opportunities with local and international artists; and targeted professional development sessions (such as marketing, business or tour planning skills).

The artist will be selected by an industry panel, based on an expression of interest process. The selection criteria are for a female* instrumentalist in the first five years of their professional practice, based in Victoria, and displaying exemplary musicianship and leadership potential.

The selected artist will undertake a state-wide tour of regional and metropolitan schools and perform at the 2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival. 

The education tour is anticipated to reach ~2,500 students and teachers in its first year. In a MIJF first, the artist will select students from participating schools to perform alongside them and other professional musicians at the 2019 Festival. These students will also have invaluable backstage access including meeting other Festival artists and observing soundchecks/rehearsals. As an apprentice artform these formative experiences are essential in the development of young musicians.


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


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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