Updated: Apr 6
Katie Beardsworth is the Founder of Polyphony Arts, which offers classical music artist and project management, and strategic career coaching for musicians and other creatives. They also run a podcast, Music Works, focusing on the future of the classical music industry. Music Works was recently featured in Classic FM’s Best Classical Podcasts.
How does your creativity present itself?
Creativity presents itself in my life in all kinds of ways - through work, through music (I am a singer, which I do quite well, and I play the piano very badly!), and through playing and learning with my son.
What is creative about your work?
My work is quite varied and I find creativity in how I manage this - I love coming up with new ideas and seeing them through, especially through collaboration with others, such as my amazing team and other partners. I find a lot of creative outlet in devising classical music projects and programming music events. My podcast, Music Works, is also highly creative - I release two episodes a week, one of which is an interview with someone doing fantastic things that relate to classical music, and one of which is a micro-podcast where I talk in depth about a business and/or mindset issue that affects musicians. I get such energy from these conversations and from the response I get to the podcast! Finally, there is great creativity in my coaching work. I particularly love this as it requires me to think critically and in depth about the discussions I have, and to use my skills and experience to enable my coaching clients to find the best path forward for themselves. I find this hugely rewarding and love that it is relatively unplanned and responsive - being able to think on your feet is critical.
What is your most used item / software / app in your work?
We use Hubspot as a database for our agency contact list, Content Studio for social media scheduling, and Trello for podcast planning. All are in use constantly! Oh, and What’s App for the team chat which is about 60% work and 40% silly gifs.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
The classical music industry is facing huge challenges at the moment - Covid-19 and the lockdown/government response has been hugely damaging. So many musicians have been out of work for a year, and have lost their creative outlet. Mental health, money, and a sense of personal value are huge industry issues at the moment (to name a few). The fact that so many musicians have fallen between the gaps of government support, and that the industry has had labels like ‘unviable’ over the past year, has really permeated the industry mood.
How do you deal with that?
I try to counter the mood through my podcast, Music Works. In the podcast, I am showcasing the work of musicians and music organisations that have positive stories to tell, with a view to shifting the mood to a place of acceptance, growth, and recovery. My micro-podcast episodes are aimed at supporting musicians in this directly - I recently recorded one which was going to be about taking a positive outlook on your future music career, but ended up needing to be about the collective grief and trauma we have all shared. I needed to acknowledge this before I could talk about how to move forward. While I’m trying to send out a positive message, I want to acknowledge how hard this time has been for those in the music industry. I think that’s the only way we can move onwards and upwards.
How do you top up your creative cup?
When I need to recharge I swim in the sea, do yoga, or play the piano. I am not very good at yoga or playing the piano, but there is something about doing something that you’re not great at, and have no goals relating to, that I find relaxing and freeing.
What podcast / book / person would you recommend to another creative freelancer?
I would recommend the music of Ella Jarman-Pinto, and her podcast Beyond the Chameleon - conversations on belonging in the creative media industries.
Ella is a wonderful composer and a fantastic woman, and her podcast is extremely impactful. She was recently commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for International Women’s Day, and she and her music were on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune on Monday 8 March 2021 - I would recommend listening to that, too! You can listen here.
You can find Katie and her business here