Postcards & Stories from our Musicians - Part 1
Susie Butt
Volunteer & Engagement Officer
14th February 2017
Postcards & Stories from our Musicians - Part 1

This Valentine’s day we thought we would share with you some stories and thoughts from our talented musicians on why they love Help Musicians UK.

At Help Musicians UK we help emerging professionals to develop their talent and get started in a professional career. We've been helping musicians at the start of their careers since our charity was founded back in 1921, and we've had a dedicated talent development programme since the early 1980s. Now, we invest more than £600,000 a year in helping emerging artists. We want to see a thriving musical culture in the UK and will continue to play our part in supporting upcoming musicians to ensure the vitality and diversity of the profession is sustained.


“Greetings from Suzhou (last day here before we transfer to Beijing tomorrow - exciting!)

I'm so continually grateful for your support this summer - it has truly been such an incredible experience. I've attached a couple photos - one from our orchestral concert last night at Suzhou Grand Theatre, and one from this evening, where I had the opportunity to work with some traditional Kunqu Opera performers! Amazing!

Sending you all my best wishes,
Phoebe Haines”

Phoebe Haines

“I just wanted to give you a wee mini update because I'm so excited. I arrived in Oslo on Friday, have been to a concert and workshop with one of the best old hardingfele fiddle players and his pupil. On Saturday I attended the Oslo kappliek a competition all day of music and dance, all sorts of instruments and tunes from different regions and dancing too, so interesting and inspiring! Today I've met with Sarah Jane summers the Scottish fiddler living here now, and found some cool tunes. Pretty inspiring. Anyway, I'm just so excited to be here and be so inspired and have so many ideas I wanted to pass that on to you!! Having this opportunity is just amazing.

Thank you Fiona Black”

You can listen to our specially curated Valentine's playlist featuring musicians that we've supported through our Creative Programme here.

“This is such an incredible award and I am so privileged and grateful to have been awarded it. I can honestly already feel a huge financial pressure be lifted from my shoulders and instead feel a great honour and excitement to have been worthy of winning this scholarship. It has given me a great boost in confidence and an uplifting reassurance to keep fighting and push forward in my training. Hopefully, with the help of this award, I can go on to do bigger and better things and do the panellists and Help Musicians proud! Thank you so much again for this incredible opportunity!

Many Thanks,
Mari McGinlay “

“I was very lucky have these folks help fund and support my debut album. Changed my life. I'm now a full time artist touring and writing. Better family life and I actually have down time now.

Thank you’ Ryan Vail''

“It was the most incredible experience, and ignited a real interest in the ethnomusicology of the region, and in fact a broader interest in the dialogue between people and musicians from different cultures. I'm already exploring the idea of visiting Iran and Indonesia in 2017 for similar musical expeditions.. and back to Campania too of course.. One highlight; after a tour of Napoli, Luca Rossi, one of the guys I was working with gets me back to the station, grabs a drum and literally gets the station concourse singing and dancing.. madness and wonderfulness all mixed in.!

All best,
Ruairi Glasheen”


Susanne Simma, a recipient of one of our Career Development Bursary sent over some lovely feedback from Banff …..

“Attending this master class meant a lot to me as it’s been the first time since I graduated years ago that I had three weeks of having a chance to solely focus on myself and my instrument. Without the Career Development Bursary I gratefully received, I would have missed out at an opportunity I know has not only brought me further in my career, but also provided me to meet inspiring musicians such as Dr Morelli with whom I want to work together again soon. On the homepage of Banff Centre it says: “Pure Harmony Personalized attention, world – class facilities, renowned faculty. An extraordinary environment to grow as a musician” How true that is…!”

“I am very grateful, and Help Musicians UK will have provided the means for me to take the next step in my musical career. Without the funding I may not have been able to make this EP at all, but thanks to the funding I have been able to make something that I am amazed by, and it is with great excitement that I look forward to the release. Thank you.”

“I have recently completed the whole process of making an album. This has been a wonderfully rewarding process that has taken me on the journey through all of the aspects; writing, recording, producing, mixing and mastering. I am incredibly grateful to Help Musicians UK who awarded me with a grant that contributed towards the cost of the recording process which was indeed the most expensive part of the whole process and without them it just could not have happened.“

"Since having the funding to make the first William the Conqueror EP, we have been able to secure new management and much label interest. In February we played at the Americana Music Awards in London and we handed out some cd's to various industry folk that attended. Off the back of that we have been invited to play at the Americana awards in Nashville in September which is a massive step in the right direction.”

You can show your support and love for musicians by donating here.