Coronavirus: information and future planning for music groups

Following the emergence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK, we explore matters to consider for your music group.

Updated 15 May


Although an easing of some lockdown measures was announced 10 May, this was only for England and there is a general perception now that a return to ‘business as usual’ is likely to be gradual and potentially stretch over months, rather than weeks.

Monitoring the situation in other countries which are ahead of the UK in terms of their progress and timeline, and keeping abreast of news in the UK will help us all to evaluate how matters might develop.

For music groups, especially choirs, there are additional questions around the spread of the disease and effective social distancing measures. Unfortunately, there is no clear or authoritative research on this at the moment, but that is starting to change. We are monitoring this and our recent focus has been on developing the guidance you need to help plan when, and how, you can safely start to meet, sing and play together again. It is likely this will be possible before public events to an audience, so there may be different timelines for rehearsing and performing.

Trusted advice

What should we as organisers of a music group do?

Most groups have already cancelled events and their regular activity (e.g. weekly rehearsals) until September.

These cancellations continue to throw up a number of issues for members to address. And now in addition groups are beginning to wonder what the future from September onwards may look like.

Making Music’s response and support for members covers three key areas:

  1. Providing practical advice on running your group, e.g. about contracts, Charity Commission reporting, paying professional musicians, financial planning etc. Our comprehensive guidance pages for members are constantly being updated, so do bookmark them and come back often:
    1. Keeping your group running, including
      1. Cancelling events
      2. Ticket refunds 
      3. Contracts (professional musicians)
      4. Contracts (with organisations)
      5. Member subscriptions
      6. Charity Commission (AGMs, online meetings and reporting)
      7. OSCR (AGM's, online meetings and reporting)
      8. DBS Checks (changes to DBS ID checking guidelines)
      9. OTR
    2. Planning for the future, including considerations for meeting and performing, and options for your group
    3. Planning for the future - finance
  2. Providing help to keep groups alive, connected, and making music. Our resources include:
    1. Practical tools (e.g. Zoom for rehearsals)
    2. Artistic support (e.g. ideas on how/what to do in Zoom meetings, or in between meetings, how to engage with Adopt a Music Creator this year etc.)
    3. Connecting groups through our weekly online member meetups, with different breakout rooms for detailed exchange of ideas on specific issues
    4. Inspiration on how individuals can keep making music, e.g. by joining the Stay At Home Choir and similar initiatives, including inspiring, thought-provoking and sometimes emotional blogs
  3. Making Music Virtual Concerts: we have setup a new subsidy, and engaged two digital producers to help groups be as active as they can (or want to be!) in the online world, seeing that full normality may be some way off, and hopefully supporting in developing skills which will remain useful after the end of this crisis.
    1. Members can take part in the Making Music Virtual Concert series, starting in May
    2. Our new Livestreaming Subsidy is available to help promoter groups put on a livestreamed performance featuring some of our current and previous Philip and Dorothy Green Young Artists.
    3. To help you create material for this – and for the benefit of your group in general – we'll be providing easy-to-understand resources, training and support for all levels of technical expertise

Making Music staff have been working from home since the lockdown was announced. In line with the 10 May Government updates, as we can operate in this way we will continue to do so for as long as is sensible. We can still be contacted in the usual ways and are working hard for our members as we always do.

Your membership team is here to help – get in touch in the usual ways:
020 7939 6030