Meet The SWIMmer: Hilary Brooks


We continue our series meeting the women behind SWIM and our members.

Today we meet Hilary Brooks. Our board chair and also a director, musician and songwriter.

Please introduce yourself

Hello, my name is Hilary Brooks. I am a professional musician from Glasgow. I trained at the RSAMD, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland but mostly I learnt my skills from living a life steeped in writing and performing music.

What is your role within music and the industry?

I am a musical director & arranger working mainly in theatre, a composer commissioned by theatre, tv and film companies and a pianist.

How long have you been working in music?

Since I was 16 - over 40 years.

What or who influenced you to work in music?

My Mum was a great influence as she played classical piano too and my Dad loved listening to jazz, blues and folk music so we often spent holidays at festivals or going to concerts. My greatest influence came at a seminal moment in my life; after playing for 6 or 7 years when I was 14 I started with a new piano teacher, Betty Emslie-Smith, who became my mentor. She helped to shape my understanding of what music could be, offered an extensive course in the history of music and fostered in me a deep love of playing.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to work in music?

Enjoy it and expect it to be challenging. Work hard and make sure you are tooled up and ready to embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Be prepared to learn on the job.

Be resilient, trust your own instincts. Be polite in all working environments. Build true friendships in the arts and out. Be true to yourself.

Please name one thing you would like to see change or improve in music for women

Removing conscious and unconscious gender bias across all industries would be lead to fairer representation and a more interesting world.