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Our Graduate Trainee, Charlotte Perkins, reflects on her nine-month Traineeship with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and St Andrews University Music Centre and shares some of her experiences getting to know the world of arts management.

When people ask about my work, the conversation typically goes something like this:

Them: “So what do you do now?

Me:“I work for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as for the University of St Andrews.”

Them:“That sounds great! What do you do for them?”

Me: “Well, I work in the Creative Learning department at the SCO, coordinating the orchestra-in-residence programme at the University. And sometimes I work with marketing. And I organise the SCO’s Youth Advisory Council. A lot of front-of-house work at the University. Sometimes I do some data reporting work, sometimes a bit of script-writing... and anything anyone needs hand extra hand with.”

… I never explain it well. This is because the Graduate Traineeship has an extremely broad remit; there’s no clear job title like “Learning and Engagement Officer”. It could be anything, and that’s the beauty of it.

There are some core responsibilities: I coordinate the SCO’s vibrant orchestra-in-residence programme at the University of St Andrews, which includes managing StAFCO, the SCO-supported community orchestra; ensuring that students are aware of the perks the SCO offers (£6 tickets, anyone?); and project-managing any one-off events throughout the academic year.

Charlotte working at the Stan and Mabel Family Festival at Perth Concert Hall.

But there is also freedom to branch out in the directions that make sense for me. As someone with a background in academic research as well as music, I researched and wrote scripts for the SCO’s upcoming series of short documentaries, taking the Insights programme digital. I hope this kind of storytelling helps audiences feel closer to the music they experience with the SCO.

I’ve learned best-practice approaches to all kinds of industry challenges, and have benefited from being treated as a full member of the SCO team. Colleagues have been generous with their support, patient with my mistakes, and encouraging when I’ve presented ideas.

The Graduate Traineeship with the SCO and University of St Andrew's Music Centre is a nine-month opportunity for a recent graduate to work on different projects across both organisations.

But there is also freedom to branch out in the directions that make sense for me.

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