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NextGen Mai on paid experience and breaking into the music industry

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Headshot of Mai

Published 17 March 2022

Mai, 18, is a pianist and composer, currently in her second year of studying music at the University of Edinburgh. Mai first started working with Youth Music as one of four co-researchers on a project that looked into the benefits of songwriting and self expression on young musicians’ wellbeing.

“Our role was to go in-depth and provide a qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts,” says Mai. “Because I am also a young musician, everything that the young musicians mentioned really resonated with me.”

Through the co-researcher opportunity, she has discovered new interests and potential career ventures: “I’ve always been taught in a music academy style, so for a long time I only saw performance or composition as my possible career routes. Music psychology is something completely new to me that I discovered only recently through Youth Music and university courses. Now I am actually very interested in learning more about music psychology and therapy.”

Mai has since become more involved in other areas of Youth Music’s work. In October, she was an events runner for the Youth Music Awards in London. “Oh that was amazing! I still can’t believe I was a part of it. I really wanted to see how music events are organised. I wanted to see how the live music industry works... Music is one of these career paths where you can’t really have a specific plan for life. There’s a lot of searching in the dark. Youth Music definitely made me feel more included in the music industry.”

Mai says that both opportunities with Youth Music have helped her to build important skills: “I had to discuss my findings with the other co-researchers and effective communication was really key to that. And as an event runner, communication was equally important as we had to delegate roles between ourselves and figure out what to do.

“I think Youth Music will be life-changing for my music career. This is my first [paid] job within the industry and I’ve always dreamed of getting into it. I think without Youth Music, I wouldn’t be able to actually step into the industry at such a young age.”

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