As her brass band soldiers on virtually, Making Music CEO, Barbara Eifler, reminds us that there are many people who still haven't made forays into the digital world.
After recording a hymn and a rather tricky march for week two of our band lockdown, this week’s musical challenge was specifically an easy one — to enable as many band members as possible, from both the training and main band, to take part. I really went for it, submitting both second and third cornet parts!
On our usual band night we met on Zoom, as we have been doing regularly, to hear the result of our efforts (magically put together by Bob) with a glass of something in our hands. This time we had a quiz as well! It was great fun.
I was struck by two things.
Our two bands are now mixing online! Usually we rehearse separately, and whilst some players cross over, most of the training band only meet the main band (and vice versa) at the AGM and the joint Christmas concert. But now I’m getting to know regulars from the main band too, which is really nice.
I also noticed that there’s maybe 20-25 of us taking part in these weekly meetings — and that’s not everybody from both bands. So where are the others?
There will be those who are working who might be all Zoomed out by the evening (including me sometimes!); those with family commitments or key/shift workers who don’t always make it to the ‘in-person’ rehearsals either; and then those who come for the music-making and whose social life is just elsewhere. Shame not to see everybody, but no problem, of course.
...this is just to remind everyone about those group members who haven’t yet made it to an online get-together. Has someone time to ring them and find out if there is something preventing them from joining in when they’d actually like to?
But in some cases there may be a problem: the online world. When asked directly, someone may say they’re too tired or just don’t fancy joining in, but is that the real reason? Maybe they have no idea how to join in and don’t want to ask; maybe they’ve tried and failed to join in and are too embarrassed to say so; or maybe they feel they would look foolish if they admitted that they don’t know where to even start in the digital world.
I don't know for sure whether such difficulties apply to the non-Zooming members of my own band, but I do know that they apply to some members of Making Music groups because it has been raised in Making Music member zoom meetings.
Last week, for example, one committee member was telling us how she’d spent the previous morning on the phone to a choir member, helping her to get online. When that member managed to join the online choir later, she was absolutely over the moon at being able to see and talk to her friends, after weeks of isolation.
So this is just to remind everyone about those group members who haven’t yet made it to an online get together. Has someone time to ring them and find out if there is something preventing them from joining in when they’d actually like to? You could revolutionise not just their day, but their entire lockdown by helping them access the riches of online communication.
I’m not usually a fan of spending my entire time in front of a computer, but at the moment I feel lucky that we live in a world where we can access so much music and social connection through these screens. So let’s help those amongst us currently feeling excluded from the beautiful world of the internet to get going online and start smiling again.
If you'd like to help members of your music group to get online, we have compiled some top tips on how to help others to get online, including computer basics.