Kirsty Devaney graduated in 2013 with a composition degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire. The business idea for Young Composers Project came about when Kirsty was approached by the Head of the Conservatoire and asked to run a project to encourage more young people to engage with composing and the Conservatoire. Kirsty happily accepted the challenge and modified it so that both current students from the Conservatoire and potential students could benefit.
The Young Composers project was formed in 2013 and gives Conservatoire students the opportunity to provide education in composition to 14-18 year olds. This allows the students delivering the courses to develop vital teaching skills and the pupils to gain creative music-making experience.
As a musician, Kirsty had always thought “artists don’t always see themselves as business people”. BSEEN provided a mentor and useful finance and marketing coaching to help Kirsty think “more in business terms”. BSEEN staff helped her establish a framework for her social enterprise venture and her mentor helped with her cash flow. Kirsty benefitted from other BSEEN participants by using promotional materials from another business on the programme. Kirsty was also able to improve her soft skills in terms of communication as the networking opportunities gained through BSEEN were “a good crash course in how to start a conversation.”
Kirsty is currently finishing her PHD and works on the scheme alongside other freelance composing and teaching projects. When she finishes, she hopes to expand the scheme outside the West Midlands.