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CMI’s Vel Omazic Talks with FYImusicnews About Online Mentorship and the Impact of COVID- 19 on the Industry

FYImusicnews recently interviewed Vel Omazic, our co-founder and Executive Director. They discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry, how CMI is adjusting, and the launch of CMI’s Online Mentorship.

Read an excerpt from the interview below.

You recently launched your Online Mentorship program. What’s the concept behind that?

First, I should explain that CMI’s core business is providing high-level professional development and mentorship for artists, managers and industry professionals across Canada, regardless of musical genre.

We do so via a suite of “core” (Artist Entrepreneur; AE West; Artist Manager) and “custom” (Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, Passport: Music Export Summit; Indigenous Day Live Mentorship) programs. “Custom” programs are partnerships with third-party companies, associations and governments including, CARAS/The JUNOs; Manitoba Music, Music Nova Scotia, FACTOR, Government of Canada; and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, for the examples above.

We regularly hear from artists, managers and others who want to work with CMI. However, barriers that range anywhere from program duration, work schedules, financial investment, geographic accessibility and family responsibilities, prevent them from being able to do so.

By moving online, we’re eliminating accessibility obstacles and positioning CMI to meaningfully coach and develop as many artists and managers as our capacity allows.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned since we started CMI (2012) and from travelling around the country (850,000kms and counting), it’s that we can NEVER give artists and managers enough one-on-one attention. So, the first of the many online programs we’ll be rolling out is One-On-One mentorship.

In this case, artists and managers or companies, associations and government (on behalf of artists and managers), can purchase a single meeting bundle or multiple bundles (1 bundle = 3 X 60-minute meetings @ $150 +HST).The meetings are scheduled at the pace of the artist or manager, be it a condensed or expanded window of time, with the CMI mentor(s) of their choice, subject to availability. By having artists and managers set the agenda in advance, we arrive prepared and ensure no time is wasted.

The City of Hamilton’s Music & Film Office is an example of an active governmental partner. They purchased a quantity of meeting bundles for artists and managers living in Hamilton and the surrounding municipalities of Ancaster, Binbrook/Glanbrook, Dundas, Flamborough, Stoney Creek and Waterdown. Emerging artists and managers have been able to apply for a single meeting bundle, at NO COST to them, since March 20. The program will run until no bundles remain. Should demand warrant, additional bundles will be made available.

Internally, we’re also rescheduling one-on-one meetings, originally confirmed as a part of the TD Green Room in Saskatoon at The JUNO Awards, to online meetings. They start this week. We’re also moving planned follow-up meetings with over 30 artists and managers, as a part of an ongoing program with Calgary Arts Development and Alberta Music, online. And this week, we’re speaking with the City of London about customizing an online program for their music community.

The physical one-on-one meetings we’ve been doing since 2018 have worked extremely well and we have no reservations about the move to online. Sure, it’s a major time commitment (pre-meeting preparation; the meeting itself; and post-meeting follow-up) but this is what CMI does. Also, based on my personal experience in artist development, there’s simply no substitute for putting in the work.


Click to check out the full article on FYImusicnews or to learn more about Online Mentorship.