The Online Business: Katie Beardsworth, Polyphony Arts

“…love doing yoga on (muted) Zoom because no-one can hear me swearing when I fall over.” says Katie Beardsworth. She talks about what her typical workday looks like, living by the sea and empowering musicians… 

Katie Beardsworth lives in Cullercoats in North Tyneside with family, and runs Polyphony Arts, providing career support for musicians and creatives alongside classical music artist and project management. She is the creator of Music Works, a podcast on the future of the classical music industry, and also an enthusiastic sea swimmer.

What time do you wake up in the morning?
Around 7 am, depending on my son.

What’s the first thing you do?
Have coffee and listen to an audiobook with my son. This sounds peaceful but it is permeated with negotiations about getting dressed and various breakfast requests.

When’s breakfast?
I usually have a smoothie or piece of fruit first thing, then after the nursery run and sometimes a swim I have something more substantial mid-morning.

What time do you start work?
10 am on some days and 11 am on others.

Where do you work from (home, studio, office etc)?
My home office, in our box room. I love it, it is my own space and no one else uses it for anything.

Tell us about the work you do, including the online side of it…
My business has three main elements, all focusing on classical music. I am an artist manager for classical music performers and composers; a project manager, running music festivals, ensembles, and short term projects such as recording and film projects; and I am also a strategy coach for musicians and creatives.

Do you break for lunch – and if yes, what’s on the menu?
Absolutely, yes – I usually have leftovers from the night before, or eggs and avocado. On Wednesdays, I have a chippy lunch with my son when I pick him up from nursery.

How do you lift yourself from the afternoon slump?
I have a lot of meetings as part of my work and find that scheduling them at 2 pm works well with my energy – talking to people is a great way to avoid a slump, for me.

Do you incorporate exercise into your workday?
Yes – I swim in the sea almost every day and also do yoga twice a week. I know this sounds very wholesome but I just wanted to say that exercise doesn’t come easily to me and it’s taken me years to find a combination I like, that means I do it a lot. I also love doing yoga on (muted) Zoom because no-one can hear me swearing when I fall over.

Where do you go for inspiration?
Always the sea. I’m lucky where I live to have three different beaches within walking distance and there is nothing that a walk or swim or coffee by the sea doesn’t ease.  

What tech could you not live without?
My phone. I use it constantly.

Finish this sentence: The Internet is…

What time do you finish for the day?
I finish around 4.30 pm but sometimes do a bit of catch up work if my husband is putting our son to bed.

Are the evenings for rest, work or play?
At the moment, rest. Before Covid, and hopefully in the future, sometimes rest and sometimes play.

What are you reading/watching at the moment? How do you switch off from work nowadays?
We like watching TV crime dramas, we’ve just finished Traces on the BBC which was great. I’m reading a book called Waterlog by Roger Deakin. It is about his journey from one end of the British Isles to the other, swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea. My holiday destination list is growing nightly as I read about the places he visited.

Screens in the bedroom, or banned?
We don’t have TV or computers in the bedroom but the phones aren’t banned.

How do you sleep?
At the moment I am sleeping badly – there is a lot of stress in the air right now.

Finish this sentence: This time next year, I’ll be…
living like I am now, but hopefully with more freedom and variety.


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