New training program aims to accelerate gender equity in music production

A new training program aims to increase the representation of women and gender non-conforming people in music production roles.

The Women in the Studio National Accelerator program put on by Music Publishers Canada selected 10 female and gender non-confirming producers from across the country — including two from Manitoba.

Winnipeg singer-songwriter and fiddler Sierra Noble said she was “beyond thrilled” to be one of the few people chosen for this year’s cohort.

“I didn’t think I would get in, honestly, because I know how much talent there is out there in Canada,” Noble told Bruce Ladan of CBC’s Weekend Morning Show on Saturday.

Noble said she’s had a hand in producing most of her own music over the course of her career, and she’s excited to step further into the role of producer by helping other artists bring their music to life.

Winnipeg-based artist Lana Winterhalt was also selected for the program.

Margaret McGuffin, the CEO of Music Publishers Canada, said the organization wanted to take the lead in providing more women and gender non-confirming artists with the skills and production community they need to move forward.

“We’re really feeling that we’re not seeing women in the roles in the way that we would like to,” she told Ladan.

Importance of representation

Noble said she’s wanted to get more into production for years, but hasn’t gotten many chances to learn.

“Not very many people seem willing to teach women to step into those roles,” Noble said, though she added that it’s started to change for her in just the last few years.

“I remember just always being so fascinated and curious about the gear and always wanting to ask more questions than I had time for because I was there to record my own music.”

McGuffin said participants in this year’s virtual program, which is already underway, come from a range of backgrounds.

On top of the technical skills needed behind the board, they’ll learn everything from the financial literacy needed to run their own small production business to how to create a brand for themselves as producers, she said.

Another important aspect of the program is the sense of community it creates — and the increased representation of women and gender non-conforming people in music it will lead to.

“It’s really hard sometimes for girls and women to even think this is a career path if you don’t see somebody in that space. And so what we’re doing is creating a community where you’re seeing people in that space,” McGuffin said.

McGuffin said organizers are asking participants to take what they learn in the program and pay it forward in their own communities, “so that young girls and women moving up see that there’s opportunities here.”

The Weekend Morning Show (Manitoba)15:46New program aims to get more women involved in music production

Bruce Ladan spoke with Winnipeg singer-songwriter Sierra Noble who was selected for a national program aiming to get more women involved in the behind-the-scenes work in the music industry. She was joined by Margaret McGuffin, the CEO of Music Publishers Canada, and they both talked about what women bring to the mixing and engineering side of music, and why there aren’t more opportunities for them in the studio. 15:46

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