A week of intensive learning and discussion – this is what we’ve planned for the very first MOST training that took place last week online with participants of the first round of the Balkan Music Export programme. What we ended up with was much more: raw honesty, generous exchange of resources and ideas, a real sense of professional fellowship, and the clear need to continue down this road.

With courses on the schedule ranging in topic from “Songbirds, Artists, and Griots – Female Voices of Mali” by Lucy Durán, to a course series by Balázs Weyer on self-branding, all the way to “The Value Chain of Music Industry” by András Lelkes, the first Balkan Music Export training set out to be a short but intensive learning and discussion environment. Having has some experience in online learning spaces, the team of MOST settled on Zoom teaching rooms, and hoped for the best.

The most engaging debates were about whether or not it’s a good idea to use special characters in the band’s name (what do you think, Roђenice?) or a word that Google might not be very eager to show as a first result (right, NAKED?), and about best practices in branding one’s band for international stages.

What came out in the end was a strong sense of friendship and professional fellowship, so much so that participants initiated founding a group to stay in touch and keep sharing information with each other, moreover, they expressed the need for a MOST Alumni organization where future rounds can be also channeled in.

In the light of the pandemic, many expressed bitter emotions about the lack of organized action and governmental support for musicians in the region, and felt left out and left behind in the most financially and professionally challenging time of their career. Participants said, the MOST training was their very first experience this year where they could debate and discuss the most pressing questions regarding their career and the current time.

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