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Project information

Turning talent into success - the CMF programme

Education and training of exceptional classical musicians in 'the business of music' via our holistic in-work professional development programme. Learning life-skills, organisation and strategy extends the reach of young musicians beyond performance into innovation and interdisciplinary work.

January 2018 - December 2019

Charity information: City Music Foundation

City Music Foundation logo
  • Need


    In recent years, many graduates of music conservatories have found that excellent instrumental or voice training alone is not sufficient career preparation for 21st-century musicians. Thousands of hours of practice does not mean a career as a performer is waiting. Without guidance and support even the most accomplished can end up pursuing other work and being lost to the profession. The future of high quality live music is under threat, unless we act now to keep musicians in the profession.


    CMF is unique in offering musicians one-to-one mentoring and a range of life skills training plus performance and curation opportunities. One CMF artists said, ‘The conservatoire taught me to make music, CMF is teaching me to make a living’. We provide day to day support and advice for soloists and small groups who no longer have the safety net of being at a conservatoire. They work on interdisciplinary projects, learn to spot opportunities, engage new audiences and become self-starting.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Transform the career potential of two exceptionally talented young professional music performers.


    » Pair each musician with an expert business mentor to learn basic business skills and marketing astuteness and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
    » To run the CMF professional development programme to develop the skills needed to build their careers – from legal and financial to public speaking.
    » To create the tools for marketing and self-promotion – websites, recordings – and understand the process and develop the techniques for the future.
    » To conceive and create projects involving other disciplines, learning to curate the event while maintaining a top level of musical accomplishment.

    What success will look like

    The musicians will increase the number and range of performances they give, and demonstrate an increased overall income (20%) and self sufficiency over the two year programme.

  • Impact


    This training in non-musical skills is an essential adjunct to technical mastery of an instrument if a musician is to be able to live from making high quality musical performances and recordings. In the long term the elements of this programme would become incorporated into post-grad music conservatoire education and funded. We will be able to demonstrate a measurable difference in income and audience reach over 10 years, of comparable students who have or have not participated in this course.


    The City Music Foundation requires a critical mass of participants for it to be cost effective to organise and run the mentoring and professional development elements in particular, and to employ the artists manager and specialist staff essential to delivering the programme. This depends on CMF having sufficient funds to support 8-10 soloists or ensembles in each year group (for two years each) as a minimum. CMF fundraises to ensure viability of the programme.


    Donors receive a monthly newsletter with details of the CMF artists and all their activities, as well as invitations to recitals and other events as they take place. The workshop programme will be available to view on the CMF website, and the selection process for CMF artists is transparent.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Mentoring Personal business mentoring
      £1,000 Mentoring Artistic mentoring/ masterclass sessions
      £2,000 Professional development Participation in CMF PD workshop series
      £2,000 Website design of new bespoke website and training
      £6,000 Short video Music video for promotional use
      £10,000 Events creating and curating show, including venues, fees, commissions etc
      £8,000 CD recordings Professional quality CD recordings
  • Background


    The City Music Foundation offices are in central London, but the project extends to reach the whole of the UK and into the EU and beyond. Business mentoring is with mentors near to the place of residence of each CMF artist, though they often travel to see special artistic mentors. The workshops are generally in London. Recitals, curated events and shows have traveled from St Magnus Festival to Two Moors, to continental Europe, Mexico and China. CDs, videos, and streamed music are global.


    The direct beneficiaries are the selected exceptional musicians we help get established in their chosen musical niche. Over time the beneficiaries multiply, though inspiring new audiences –the elderly and young children we invite to attend free, through teaching and hospital outreach, through recordings, videos and downloads. By sustaining these young musicians’ careers we preserve their life’s work for the public, with all the proven benefits to individuals and to society that music brings.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The two musicians we are asking for funding for will be part of the fifth cohort of CMF Artists. Each year CMF's reach and ambition, and that of our artists, has grown. The life-changing, innovative support we offer young professional musicians on our Artist Programme remains innovative and unrivalled. We have proven track record in delivering the programme, and have expertise and contacts across the music industry. Our alumni report that their time as CMF artists has been life changing.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tabitha McGrath

    As artist manager she is the front-line contact for all CMF artists, speaking to many of them daily, advising, and planning their artistic output.

    Clare Taylor

    Director of CMF, she has a background in education and management, and arranges the mentoring and workshops drawing on an extensive, mature network.

Foyle-Stsura Duo play Brahms