Hi Marta, welcome on Arts & Humanities Hub. Introduce yourself and describe your work.
Hello! My name is Marta Lozano Molano. I am a composer of social music and activist. I work as a President of Wazo Coop and as an Expert Evaluator of Creative Europe at the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission.
Social music is the one that promotes social, economic and environmental sustainability. My music pieces promote solidarity causes and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.
I work as a president of Wazo Coop, a spanish non-profit cooperative that generates positive impact in rural areas. Our work empowers people from rural areas to promote positive impact in local communities. Our social action areas are: Social & Solidarity economy (Ethical and values-based approach to economy) and Creative Cultural Industry (cultural, artistic or heritage Goods, services and activities).
Describe the path you took to get from university to your current role: what were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
I have a degree in Music Composition by Musikene (in Spain) and a Master by Guildhall School of Music and Drama of London (in the United Kingdom). During my years as a postgraduate student I worked as a singer at the London Symphony Chorus traveling around the world at international tours sharing stages with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra or Berliner Philharmoniker.
Despite the fact that I had a successful music career in London I decided to return to my homeland (Extremadura, a rural area in the south west of Spain) to support the sustainable development of my community. I moved back to Spain and I worked in Almendralejo Conservatory of music as a teacher of composition and music theory for some years. I was combining my work at the conservatory with my composition and Wazo Coop. By this time the restrictions of a teacher role didn’t allow me to face the challenges of a social entrepreneur in Wazo, so I decided to quit and work full time in Wazo Coop.
The biggest challenge for me was to abandon a “traditional” career of a classical musician and join the social and solidarity economy world. I overcame it by training and joining my two passions: music and social and solidarity economy. That’s how I started to compose social music.
When you reflect on your education and training, what were the gaps in terms of preparing you for becoming a professional? And what were the most important skills that your education gave you to enter the job market or start your business?
Classical Music studies in Spain are quite long: 4 years of elementary degree, plus 6 years of intermediate degree, plus 5 years of bachelor. I also studied a Master for two years so I spent 17 years studying classical and contemporary music: composition, music theory, harmony, piano, singing… I think that the classical music studies at conservatory provide good preparation for the academic world.
Regarding other kinds of jobs, I consider that the training isn’t focused on entrepreneurship or any other pathway rather than the academic one. So in my opinion there is a lack of training in soft skills to prepare a composition student to face the new labour market requirements, specially in branding, entrepreneurship and digital marketing.
Anyway my music training helped me to start my own non-profit organization (Wazo Coop) thanks to the skills and values that I learned: commitment, cooperation and discipline.
What ‘top tips’ would you give arts and humanities students who aim to start a business or develop their professional career?
The best tip that I can provide is “go for it!”. If you consider that your pathway is other than academic don’t be afraid. Learn, discover, reflect, attend training courses, meet interesting professionals… whatever you need to be prepared to achieve your goal.