A musical update

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The MIA has recently taken part in a number of strategic calls with colleagues and government, involving the breadth of the music industry and music education sector. This is a short update to highlight some of the key challenges that currently face our industry…

Live Music

  • There is a huge concern that live music of any scale will not be happening before 2021 (March?)
  • The live music industry was first to shut down during COVID and may well be last back in business
  • The #WeMakeEvents campaign is highlighting to Government the scale of companies and freelance staff that are at genuine risk of going out of business and employment (i.e. not covered by the £1.57billion fund)
  • Performing Arts Guidance now published by government: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts
  • Music Production Guidance now published by industry and government: www.bpi.co.uk/media/2495/music-production-guidance-final.pdf
  • Government research into safety of singing and brass/wind instruments due end of August. In the meantime, many are seeing the following as highly useful and informed: www.mh-freiburg.de/en/university/covid-19-corona/risk-assessment
  • Major campaign to get the government to see that currently only allowing professional musicians to perform music is causing huge damage to the enormous amateur music making sector: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGgUqzNUrDQ&feature=youtu.be
  • Face to face performance (i.e. musician to audience) is clearly giving the authorities more of a challenge than (for example) cinemas where audience is only looking one way!
  • What constitutes “adequate ventilation” is a major debate
  • Some venues are acting as government “guinea pigs” to test safety of indoor seating music events

Music Education

  • We are still waiting for the Department for Education guidance on re-launching music in schools!
  • Government guidance urgently needed regarding online teaching (e.g. which platforms are safe to use, safeguarding etc)
  • Huge worries about schools simply stopping providing music and “deferring it” all to the Music Services
  • Many music teachers are “slipping through the net” of government financial support
  • Huge variance in employment contracts for music teachers (with some being “changed” during lockdown)
  • Some teachers now being “forced” to offer their services directly to the school and, thus, compete with the Music Service!
  • Good news alert… Great to hear of Kent Music stopping hourly contracted music teachers and reverting to salaried staff!
  • Concerns that re-sitting of music exams will focus on listening and not performing
  • Worried about importance of music in schools with Ofqual encouraging schools to concentrate on core subjects
  • There is naturally good news about the numbers of music makers who have been learning online (with many preferring it to “one to one”?)
  • There is a growing acceptance that there will need to a blended future of music provision between “one to one” and online learning
  • This may (finally) give the use of Music Technology the “push” we have all been championing for so many years?
  • However, there is also a real concern about the huge numbers of people who do not have access to the online world
  • There is clearly a strategic debate looming about “What is Music Education?”
  • The new National Plan for Music Education is becoming ever-more needed!