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Why I Joined the MU: Nat Witts

“It’s your chance to be directly part of a governing body and help create change for the better” – Nat.

Photo of Nat Wilkins

Before I embarked on my BMus at Trinity Laban I was called to do a function gig and one of the stipulations was that you had to be a Musicians’ Union (MU) member. I had never heard of the MU, but hurriedly joined and I was not disappointed.

The most common response I get when I ask people why they haven't joined the MU is “I’ll join when I need them”. My answer is, well, if you don't need instrument and personal liability insurance, legal assistance, career and business advice, copyright and property rights protection, access to a nationwide network of musicians and a plethora of seminars and courses, then I see your point.

Only, every musician will need these if they are going to have a long and successful career.  That is just a list of benefits that are included in your annual membership fee. I haven't even mentioned the car breakdown cover offered by Total Motor Assist at a 100% discount or the Musicians' Hearing Health Scheme.

One thing that is not championed enough is the member-led committees that regularly meet to discuss topical issues and problems that have arisen in all aspects of a musician’s world. The MU hosts the Live Performance, Theatre, Music Teachers, Orchestra, Session, Recording and Broadcasting, and Music Writers committees and these are made of up of members and relevant MU officials.

I’m a member of a few committees and they are a great way to voice your opinions on issues you feel have been neglected or need improving. It’s your chance to be directly part of a governing body and help create change for the better.

There’s so much more to the MU than the diary, and it is time you discovered what the MU can offer you.

About Nat

A graduate from Trinity Laban, Nat enjoys a busy career as a freelance trombonist, pianist, vocalist, educator and arranger in London. Alongside her husband, she also runs the successful musical education and team building business “The Future Music Group”.

Nat has performed worldwide and recorded with a veritable who’s who of both UK and international Jazz, Pop and Classical artists such as Jamie Cullum; Ska Cubano; Buddy Greco; Clare Teal; Jimmy Somerville; The Drifters; Alexander O’Neal and the Gareth Lockrane Big Band. West End and fringe highlights include The Scottsboro Boys, Singing in the Rain, White Christmas and the UK premiere of “In The Heights”.

You can currently hear Nat playing in Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights” at the Kings Cross Theatre, and on Jamie Cullum’s most recent album “Interlude”.

Published: 16/11/2016

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