Musicians improve their soft skills in a post-pandemic world

MusicNL is the provincial professional association for anyone working in the music industry – from musicians and managers to publicists, sound techs and venues. With 700 members across Newfoundland and Labrador, the organization aims to help industry workers with funding opportunities and professional development.

This past Spring, MusicNL teamed up with ABC Life Literacy Canada to offer a three-part series through the Activate Learning program. They hosted workshops on three different soft skills – collaboration, accountability and adaptability. MusicNL CEO, Rhonda Tulk-Lane, said the series generated a lot of interest from her members, and that the pandemic was what made the workshops topical to the audience.

“Many of our members were out of work during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, and so being able to talk about things like adaptability and new ways to make money were really timely. It was just a great fit for our members,” she said.

Activate Learning is a literacy program focused on supporting and empowering adult learners. The program aims to improve the number of training opportunities for adult learners, employees and workplaces on topics of employability and life skills, health literacy, and financial literacy. The material is written for a grade 6 to 8 reading level, which Tulk-Lane found helpful given the diversity of her members.

“We have members that range from musicians with master’s degrees to those without any high school. The workbooks were written at a basic level and it didn’t matter what level you were at because it was understandable to everyone,” she explained. “I found that it was easy to follow and the content was relevant. Having a workbook that was a perfect fit for all the participants was wonderful.”

Participant Eldin couldn’t agree more. The musician said the workbooks were a great way to facilitate a discussion around key topics and they were able to touch upon problems as well as practical solutions. Eldin moved to Canada four years ago and is pursuing his passion for music, something he previously only did on the side for 30 years. He joined the workshops as an opportunity to network and learn.

“I liked meeting so many interesting people and having the opportunity to talk to people who are established in this field,” he said. “I always find that the more you learn and expose yourself to like-minded people, the most successful you’ll be.”

Eldin said the workshop allowed him to meet people he wouldn’t normally have access to, such as other singer-songwriters and those working behind the scenes. He says the collaboration workshop was a great way to learn about how to work with others, which is something that happens often in the music industry.

“Musicians often collaborate with many different people – from the sound technician to their manager and other artists – so this workshop was a great fit for our members,” says Tulk-Lane.

To learn more about Activate Learning or to sign up to host your own workshop, visit