Now in its third year, Take Note seeks to address the underrepresentation of women and girls in music by celebrating and promoting female leaders on stage and in high schools across Victoria. The program supports the professional development of an emerging female musician through a career development prize package, including a bursary for the development and presentation of a new work at the International Festival. The Jazz Leader is paired with leading female industry mentors to enhance their professional skills and networks, alongside their artistic practice. In the lead up to the Festival, the Jazz Leader undertakes a statewide tour of metropolitan and regional secondary schools, facilitating intensive workshops with aspiring music students and modelling female leadership in music. Take Note was conceived in response to research indicating that women are ‘chronically disadvantaged’ in the music industry. Women represent only one-fifth of songwriters and composers, earn 25% less than their male counterparts on average, and hold only 28% of senior roles in industry organisations (University of Sydney, Skipping a Beat, 2017). A discussion paper issued by Music Victoria revealed that limited access to opportunities and lack of role models also create barriers for women in music. The paper indicated a strong desire for mentoring, fellowships and industry champions for diversity (Music Victoria, Women in the Victorian Contemporary Music Industry Discussion Paper, 2015).
In line with the organisation’s theory of change model, Take Note’s ‘big picture goal’ is to achieve gender equality within the jazz and improvised music sector. Short and medium-term outcomes to achieve this goal include:
1.Student participants feel safe and supported to take risks in a jazz and improv setting
2.Educators are exposed to the barriers facing young women in jazz and music
3.Young women are inspired to participate in high school music programs
4.Female Jazz Leader identifies strategies for a sustainable arts practice
5.Female Jazz Leader is supported and empowered to pursue their career goals
6.Women perceive being a professional jazz musician as a viable career
7.Broad perceptions about female representation in jazz shift positively
8.Audiences are inspired to support women’s careers (e.g. buying tickets, donating, online support) Project outputs include:
-One new work commissioned by a female Jazz Leader and presented at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival
-Jazz Leader’s new work broadcast to over 50,000 people through our media partnership with PBS FM
-160 aspiring music students participate in a state-wide music education tour
-8 metropolitan/regional schools engaged through the music education tour
In years One and Two of project delivery, the Festival (MIJF) worked with Creative Victoria and BYP Group to develop a Social Impact Evaluation Framework to measure the impact of the program in line with its intended outcomes. MIJF also engaged its education partner, Monash University, to conduct an independent evaluation of project outcomes and delivery. Data collected is used to inform the continuous improvement of the program, as well as measure the ongoing social impact of the program against baseline data collected in the first year. A full evaluation report is shared with key project partners and funders.