Evolution Conversations: Co-delivery
Co-delivery is key to Evolve Music’s delivery DNA and plays a big role in what makes our community music programmes successful and unique. When recruiting Practitioners, we identify and match up vital characteristics and qualities that we feel will complement each other and strike the right balance for developing and delivering programmes of work. In doing so we provide a platform and the freedom for co-creation to take place and inform our different work areas. In the following conversation, our Music Leaders, Esther and Izzy, discuss their experience of co-delivering Explorers and Adventurers, our early years programmes for families with children under 5 years old.
What do you like about co-delivery?
I: There’s loads of things I like about co-delivery, I think it’s my favourite style of working! I think there are just so many benefits to working alongside Esther to deliver the sessions – feeding off the other person’s energy, being able to bounce ideas off each other, being able to learn from each other. I think it’s a very supportive way of working, you don’t have to hold everything yourself, you’ve got someone alongside you so you know if you drop the ball they are there, that’s a really valuable part of it.
E: I second everything that Izzy’s said so far and I think there’s definitely something about it being a democratic way of delivering something which keeps the focus on the work itself. I feel excited about learning from Izzy and the sense that I’m developing my practice all the time working alongside someone else, that feels really important. And there’s something about feeling less pressured to be holding it all. I also feel really excited about all of the creative possibilities that come about by bringing two people with different ideas and approaches together.
What are the benefits and advantages of working in this way?
E: So one advantage will be that the material used will come from two people with different experiences, creating that sense that participants are gaining a more rounded experience. Planning and reflection time have to be factored in in order for co-delivery to really work which means that the things which are delivered are a little more thought through and of course having two people looking at something means you can be exploring things from different angles.
I: I’m not sure what else I can add! Just that it provides that richer experience for the participants – they are hopefully getting the best of both worlds having two music leaders and it creates more variety in a session like you were saying Esther, more shifts in energy, more ebb and flow… It’s kind of a deeper way of working and we’ve talked about learning from each other, so a broader advantage is that as a music leader you’re getting an opportunity for self-development and Evolve are also in a way getting better practitioners as a result of this!
What are the challenges of co-delivery?
I: I feel that our working partnership is really effective and I really enjoy it. I suppose one of the things we’ve found is that it means things take a bit more time, planning and note writing in a pair requires more dialogue and is more time consuming. And also essentially you’re two people with different ideas and if you were delivering on your own you might do things differently.
E: There has to be a willingness for compromise and meet in the middle, and also a willingness to be flexible and keep the focus on what the groups need are, what they require.
What learning would you share with others from your experience of co-delivery?
E: I think it’s important to acknowledge each other’s’ strengths, be open to learning from each other and open to each other’s delivery style. You need planning time to build on shared resources. For me there’s been a lot of learning in reflection time and planning time, being able to really consider the relational dynamics in the group, the fact that what works for some might not for others, how can we ensure everyone’s really benefitting? Four eyes are better than two and I learn a lot from our shared discussions.
I: I think it’s really important to respect each other’s ways of working and seeing things, because if you’re co-delivering you have to come some way towards meeting the other person. It’s about taking the time to learn about the other person, how they like to work, what they need… Being willing to share your vulnerability with each other is also important for a successful working relationship. I think it’s good to establish some co-working habits and ground rules – I think difficulties can arise if someone’s pushing and pulling around with these too much.
E: In essence it’s about respect, openness, care and time – you can’t really cut corners and the time you put in really pays off!