In May of 2014 Millicent was performing at a Church event. Millicent noticed that although the congregation was predominately female there was only one female musician – the bass player, in the Band. Although there were female singers in the worship team and the Choir. This thought arrested Millicent’s mind.
That week, Millicent decided to contact as many male and female musicians she knew, to ask them about how many female musicians were in their network. The responses showed there were not many. She also heard about or met women who no longer played their instruments due to raising a family, disappointments with trying to make it as a musician, lack of support or encouragement from their family or Church members. Some developed interests in other areas outside of music. Those who continued with their music either saw it as a hobby which they did occasionally and a very small percentage saw their music as part-time or full-time. Reflecting on her female students under the age of 16, Millicent noticed they did not continue with music into their adult life as education and exams took precedent. Within the UK music industry statistics show there are many female singers but not an equal number of female instrumentalists making great strides in music (see below).
Throwing caution to the wind Millicent set up a meeting in September 2014 for female musicians to meet, talk, share and see if setting up a support network would be mutually beneficial. CFMNE (Christian Female Musicians Networking Event) was born. The twice yearly meetings covered masterclasses, Jam sessions, networking, action planning, reflection and prayer. In 2015 the name changed from ‘CFMNE’ to ‘Cafemnee’ , pronounced Ka’ fem’ nee.
Recognising that the information and training would also benefit female singers and women who were not religious or of other faiths Cafemnee opened its doors to all women. Millicent’s aim is to see more successful female musicians, singers, producers and songwriters in the Christian, Gospel and general Music Industry.
In March 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic caused a national lockdown. The April 2020 in person meeting could not happen. Millicent had to quickly learn new IT and internet skills to deliver an online workshop as the women wanted to continue developing during lockdown and keep in Touch. The April workshop happened successful with some teething problems. However, in September of 2020 Millicent decided to continue the online experience and rename ‘Cafemnee’ to ‘Time For My Music’ online membership. The sessions happen through zoom and an online concert was produced.
‘Time for My Music (TMM) ‘does exactly what is says on the tin’. The group has allowed me to return to my first love and I couldn’t have joined a more supportive group of like-minded women. I lacked a great deal of confidence but was determined to overcome this hindrance. The TMM group has offered me support when I needed it most and has encouraged my development. I now play in 2 bands – one where I am part of the ‘brass section’ and another and that has an ‘all girl’ line-up. Not bad for someone who had no real intention of becoming a performer.’