Iain Masson has supported community music activities as a player, conductor, composer, arts administrator, educator and audience member for over three decades. His service in community music has helped tens of thousands of young people, adults and groups of music-makers see the light about music, discover their unique voice individually and collectively and create new connections.
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A passion for community music.
New Streetly Youth Orchestra
Iain is a passionate supporter of youth music for all. As a former playing member of the Carnoustie High School wind band, Angus Schools Senior Wind Band, the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland Reserves and the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland himself, Iain believes every young person should have access to music. Pictured with the New Streetly Youth Orchestra in Sutton Coldfield, a role he started at 19 as a volunteer Birmingham Conservatoire student. In 2023, he will conduct a band of young refugees from the Ukraine who are temporarily living in Birmingham and who want to make music together.
Alveley Village Band - rural music-making
Iain believes in quality rural community music-making for all and high uptake, high-paced, high quality weekend music-making opportunities for all the generations. His 11-and-a-half-year involvement with the Alveley Village Band organisation in Shropshire saw the band perform in varied settings, including muddy fields, with regular appearances in village halls, the Severn Valley Country Park, bandstands including the Birmingham Botanical Gardens bandstand, Walsall Football Club and an appearance on ITV1's 'Noplace Like Home?' show. He was a Conservatoire student visitor initially, leading some rehearsals when the Musical Director was away, and led the band as Musical Director from 2006 to 2014. Iain continues to passionately play a role in driving forward high participation weekend music-making in the Midlands, delivering a full programme of weekend piano tuition in Birmingham for local learners at Shades Music and privately.
Royal Spa Brass in Warwickshire
In his late 20s, Iain jumped at the chance to become the Musical Director of Leamington Spa-based Royal Spa Brass, told he would be preparing the band for an exciting concert tour to Riga as MD, an offer hard to refuse and a sweetener to the long commutes to Leamington Spa and back each week! Unfortunately the tour never happened, but Iain had a lovely time working with this energetic and modern band, in particular their 'Spooky!' Halloween concert extravaganza at the Royal Spa Centre and performances at the Kenilworth Lions Show and the Leamington Spa Christmas Lights Switch-On!
West Midlands Concert Band
Iain has worked with West Midlands Concert Band both as its Musical Director from 2009-11 and as a visiting guest conductor. Unfortunately, the transport system in the West Midlands rapidly deteriorated within months of starting the role, combined with a longer working day meaning the role was no longer possible. He continues to be a proud guest conductor and supporter and friend of the Band! Iain recently conducted the Band in the Black Country Living Museum in the Midlands where 'Charlie Chaplin' made a guest appearance!
Commercial and hospitality sector
Iain believes in busy and bustling commercial spaces being enhanced by the addition of live music. He is passionate about good paid employment, good work conditions and rising pay for professional musicians and Conservatoire level students. Iain has always endeavoured to reach as many people as possible with live performance as a musician. His work as a Resident Pianist of the Swallow Hotel Dundee as a teenager and at Bar Epernay in the Mailbox, Birmingham, saw him perform for national and international clientele, business leaders and celebrity chefs including Brian Turner. Iain has also performed for weddings, functions, sports teams and private events. Most recently, he has accompanied youth choirs in the West Midlands as part of his education work, with his choirs performing on Free Radio and at diversity events.
Coaching music in the community
Iain believes in high quality 1-1 coaching for young people and adults, and providing continuity for the learner. Iain has over two decades of experience coaching students to unlock their potential as a one-to-one mentor of all the ages. As a patient and enthusiastic teacher, both sides enjoy working on the musical details together, discussing the music, performance art and preparing performances to make the composers (and the student) feel proud. Incorporating creativity into the lessons is also very important. As an enthusiastic tutor, Iain has experience of coaching music in lessons on the high street in his role as a Shades Music tutor, privately in the home, for key worker children during the pandemic and within the educational system with his work for ATLP.