Making Music Council meetings report - July to October 2019

Annual council meetings are one of the opportunities you have as a group, through your nominated representative, to meet Making Music staff and Board members face to face and discuss the future direction of your association.

Making Music Council meetings report (July to October 2019)

This year again we held 7 meetings – one each in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and four in England, attended by an average of just below 13 members each, an increase of over 20% on last year when we first experimented with 7 (as opposed to just one UK-wide) meetings. 

The meetings – unlike regular events held throughout the UK by Sharon Moloney and her colleagues in the other nations -  are for members only, and they are about ‘the bigger picture’: the direction you want your association to be taking, in terms of service provision, or lobbying, or on more specific issues. 

In 2020, for example, we will be using the council sessions to consult with you about a new website, due for 2021. That website will for your benefit, so it is right that you should be at the very start of our journey in developing it. Whilst you will also have the opportunity to feed into the process electronically (surveys etc.), we get a more rounded picture of your needs/dislikes/wishes by meeting as many of you as we can in person.

But back to 2019: what happened?

Part one: What is the value of your membership services?

We were trying to work out whether your membership subscription is value for money, and which of our services are of most value to you. At the meetings, we talked through all the member-only services included in your subscription and then asked attendees to note what they thought the time (hours) or monetary value was for each service or group of services.

This proved to be easy for some and really difficult for others! Of the 90 groups represented at the meetings, 35 completed forms. Between them, those 35 groups pay £7,835 of membership subscriptions and estimated that the value of our services to them was £86,799.

In other words, on average groups felt they received more than 10 times the value of their subscription back in services – an astonishing figure based entirely on members’ own perception.

The most valuable group of services in terms of saving you hours were those we grouped under the ‘save time/reduce admin’ heading; the most valuable in monetary terms were those labelled ‘save money/find funding’. Neither of those are surprises!

What will Making Music do with this information?

One outcome was finding out that most members had not realised the full range of services they are entitled to through their subscription. So we would like to encourage all of you to download the sheet of services. And perhaps you can talk through them with your committee at your next meeting and work out what their value is to YOUR group – you will hopefully be pleasantly surprised about how much you are, or could be, getting back.

We will also be working even harder in the next year at reminding you all of what you can access through your membership! After all, you are paying for this.

Making Music will also use what we learnt in those meetings to tell groups not yet in Making Music membership what, and how much, they are missing out on. And we know that many of you do this on our behalf, too, so hopefully this information will enthuse you to tell even more of your musical friends how worthwhile it is to join the Making Music family!

We will be working in the next year to make that easier for you, too, with some handy materials – or tell us what would be helpful for you in spreading the message about Making Music, we know you are our best ambassadors!

Download the full table of services and their value to members.

Download a blank sheet of services to work out what Making Music services are worth to YOUR group.

Part two: Making Music Platform

We were just launching this new service at the time of the council meetings and therefore took some time explaining it in more detail and answering questions. The brief demonstration elicited a lot of positive comments and very rapidly we have had 50 groups sign up for the service.

MM Platform offers you a 3-in-1 online platform to administer your group, give your members access to a dedicated area, and provide a public-facing website, all at a very affordable price. From January registrations will re-open for this service – find more information here.

Part three: Lobbying and advocacy update

This is where we spoke about our work in the previous year on venues, child licensing, music libraries, and had a more detailed discussion about music education (both for under-18s and for adults, including formal and informal) and about social prescribing, what it is and how it might be helpful, or interesting, for groups – or not.

The reason for these discussions is for us to get a sense of which issues are more or less urgent for you and of course to also gather your ideas on potential solutions, as well as your willingness to campaign: in general, our role in influencing and advocating is that of a facilitator and coordinator; if there are letters to be written and responses to be made, these will only have an impact if a large number of you are willing to take action: you are hundreds of thousands of voters and taxpayers that politicians need to keep on side, so you are the ones wielding the influence!

As always, really lively discussions were had on these and other topics at the meetings and these will feed into our work for the coming year. We hope they were interesting and useful for you, too.

These meetings are one mechanism for Making Music to listen to you closely which we are always willing to do. So do come and talk to us, or let us know your views throughout the year – there is always someone friendly and with an understanding of what you do at the end of a phone or email: keep helping us to help you, by telling us what you need to run your group and keep enjoying making or presenting music in your community.