Our social enterprise, caithnessmusic.com, has been created to promote health and wellbeing in Caithness through group music making.
Our organisation is based on four key principles which form the foundation of everything we do:
(Please read those again more carefully, they are SO important to us! Please note that musicality is not even on the list... it comes naturally when those other qualities are developed.)
The work of our organisation has been inspired to a great extent by the Venezuelan El Sistema programme, sharing many similar social values. We were particularly inspired by the energy, commitment, discipline and pure joy of the performances of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra when they visited Europe in 2007. Why, we asked, are our British orchestral musicians so miserable by comparison?! We sought to begin to make change here in our own community, working from the ground up, to create a new generation of British musicians who could play with joy in their hearts and live with the seemingly effortless self-discipline shown by those Venezuelan musicians. Like Sistema, we are an organisation which uses music as a vehicle for improving our community through social change. We have recently become affiliated with Sistema Global and are looking forward, through this, to co-operating and sharing our resources with other Sistema-inspired programmes worldwide.
All of the group music making which is organised under the banner of caithnessmusic.com operates under the principles of "Social Enterprise". This means that Susie, Katrina and any other fully qualified music facilitators who become involved are paid for their teaching time with the group, but that all other funds raised are ploughed back into buying materials, instruments and organising events for the groups. We are a not-for-profit organisation.
The core work of all of our groups is self-funding and sustainable. While we do, occasionally, apply for grants for specific projects, we have designed our groups to be "bomb-proof" when it comes to the unpredictabilities of economic recession or local, national or international political change. Making music is, fundamentally, a no-cost activity, and we plan to continue making music as long as we live and breathe.