In 2009 Serious was commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) to create Air Time - a talent development programme designed for emerging creative jazz musicians living and working in Scotland, who have the potential to make a distinctive contribution to the local, national and international jazz community.
Air Time provides the opportunity for selected artists to take time out to develop their creative output and business skills and so far 15 musicians have participated across three editions (2009, 2010 and 2014), the centrepiece of which is a bespoke, multi-disciplinary residency at the Tolbooth in Stirling.
‘ It gave me the chance to think about my music in fresh ways, the space to develop new ideas and to discuss my work with leading music industry experts. One of these ideas percolated away and then fed directly into a Creative Scotland Vital Spark Award that involved a collaboration with a film maker – David Mackenzie and a visual artist – Martin Boyce - which took my work into new areas and to new audiences. ’
‘ A unique, inspiring and what feels like a life changing week…the time in Stirling both clarified things that I hadn't perhaps felt confident in following, as well as giving me plenty of much-needed fresh perspectives both on my own artistic practice as well as the wider state of affairs in general. I feel extremely motivated, inspired and excited about what the future might bring. A large amount of accumulated cynicism has been washed away but I also feel much more equipped and informed about how I can now proceed. ’
In 2012, Air Time provided the opportunity for previous participants to stretch their compositional skills by working with musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to develop their understanding in writing for classical forces.
Both the SCO players and jazz artists were enthusiastic about how their skills and approach were developed through the programme:
'It was illuminating to work with composers who were willing to try lots of new things, indeed almost a requirement; and patient enough to help the classical players find their way into the jazz style. The ability to ‘have a go’ at chord symbols and improvisation, while admiring the expertise with which the jazzers did this at great speed. A very worthwhile experience, with a feeling of great satisfaction at the end of the week.'
'I have greater confidence now in my ability to compose for strings and in making collaborations between musicians from the classical and jazz scenes. It has encouraged me to be more pro-active in seeking commissions, writing arrangements and collaborating with musicians from different scenes. [I was] inspired to hear my music played by classical string players and I felt challenged and excited in being able to apply my skills as a composer/arranger and performer during the week. The exposure to musicians from different musical scenes is important and musicians need to be able to understand and work with each other.'
- 20100607 Air Time Media Release Jazz Cpd Serious Final
- Edition Ill
- Time Out Media Release1