Useful links and guidance for musicians and their choirs.

If you come across other useful resources, do let us know so that we can add them to the list.

New planning resources

We've put together three documents to help you and your choir with your planning and risk assessments for returning to singing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. All three are designed to be read in conjunction with each other:

  1. Guidance on Risk Assessment
  2. Risk Assessment templates
  3. Practical considerations for choirs and conductors (updated)

Please note that we are currently updating the Practical considerations document to reflect the latest revisions of the performing arts guidelines and the latest general social guidelines, however much of it is still valid. We will issue a revised version shortly, once we have digested the detail of the guidelines. Both risk assessment documents are suitable for planning a return to singing however.

You can also find useful advice for choirs on making plans to return to singing on the Making Music website, which now also includes advice for choirs in Scotland.

Government guidelines

You can now find details of the relevant government guidance on a separate page by clicking here. Guidance is changing rapidly and we are trying hard to keep the links and our advice updated.

We strongly recommend that you read all the guidance in detail as part of your planning for returning to singing.

Advice, research and resources for choirs and their leaders

As we all start to make plans to return to singing, we've put together three documents to help you and your choir with your planning and risk assessments for returning to singing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. All three are designed to be read in conjunction with each other:

  1. Guidance on Risk Assessment
  2. Risk Assessment templates
  3. Practical considerations for choirs and conductors (updated)

abcd has published a research paper on the impact of the COVID 19 virus on choral activity in the UK. The report, prepared by Professor Martin Ashley, an abcd trustee, provides a survey of research into the current thinking about how choirs and conductors might resume rehearsing and performing.

You can find out more information and view a summary in our news section, but we strongly recommend that the full paper is read, which you can find here.

Our webinar on The changing face of choirs: adapting to COVID-19 is still publicly accessible on YouTube here.

Additional resources: Professor Ashley has put together an information sheet about choirs and aerosols which can be found here.

  • PHE and DCMS funded research has been undertaken by a collaborative partnership led by Bristol University and Imperial College London and a pre-print paper was recently published. Find out more here about the research and download the full paper here.
  • Our Facebook group has lots of live discussion on it about running choirs in the current climate, particularly about people's experiences of using the various online video platforms. Anyone can view the discussion (you don't need a Facebook account), but if you'd like to contribute, you'll need a Facebook account and to answer a few simple questions to be approved for the group.
  • Our friends at Making Music have published advice and resources for choirs, their committees and their conductors. Click here for the main resource page, which is available to everyone and click here for more detailed open access resources. There are many more resources available to Making Music member choirs, including making plans for returning to singing and a risk assessment template.
  • For church choirs, the RSCM has a COVID-19 resource section for churches, recently updated to include advice to reflect the revised worship guidelines.
  • The ISM has lots of information for musicians - about the latest government guidelines, business, remote teaching, claiming benefits and more. Click here.
  • The Musicians' Union also has a substantial COVID19 section covering guidelines, financial support, teaching, theatre and orchestral work. Click here.
  • There is detailed practical information about the opening of village halls and community venues, and the practicalities of the 'groups of six' on the website of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). You might find this useful if you are talking with venue managers about your rehearsal plans.
  • Chorus Connection has produced an extensive e-book guide to Season Planning for 2020-2021. This can be downloaded here.
  • For an international perspective, the European Choral Association has published a Covid-19 information document for choral organisations, choirs and conductors. This document provides ideas, tips and online resources from organisations across Europe and is constantly evolving to include new guidance and information. Access this online resource here.

Online resources for teachers and for children at home

#CanDoMusic is a UK-wide campaign organised by Music Mark, Music Teachers' Association and the ISM that aims to ensure all children and young people can resume their musical learning as schools reopen after lockdown. There is a huge list of constantly updated resources there. See listings and learn more about the full campaign here. Together we #CanDoMusic.

Educator's Discount from Hal Leonard. abcd Gold Commercial Members Hal Leonard Europe have launched a range of initiatives to help people continue making music during these unprecedented times, via their online store Musicroom.com, including extending their standard educators discount to 15% with free shipping on all orders. Find out more here.

Musicroom is also launching a set of campaigns for home music making:

  • Learn To Play Everything needed for learning and teaching how to play an instrument, with special deals on instruments, accessories and sheet music.
  • Family Zone Focus on first access to music for very young children, plus instruments and resources for adults to learn with their children.
  • Teach@Home Focusing on products and resources for music teachers to set up remote working including microphones, headphones and teaching methods with free shipping on all orders.

Our colleagues at NYCoS always have plenty of useful hints on their website and they have put together a set of daily musical activities - with or without actions!

Drake Music have information and suggestions about the need for digital accessibility and sharing their learning about how to make video conferencing more accessible. There is also a Coronavirus resource list page for musicians, music leaders & teachers, parents and carers.

Music Mark have a big list of online home learning resources of all kinds for all ages. They have also published lots of helpful guidance for schools and music providers about starting up activity in schools again.

Global Song Circle have new songs every month for community, family and friends to sing along to, complete with teaching video and song sheets which can be downloaded.

Our colleagues at the Royal School of Church Music have collated online resources on a variety of topics and are also offering a series of webinars for a small fee.

Sing Up have introduced Sing Up at Home, with lots of resources for online learning. Members can also access new autumn resources.

Every Monday a new song, presented by Ex Cathedra's SingMaker team as an interactive film, will be released . These are aimed at up to 11 year olds and free to access. There will be brief notes associated with each song to maximise learning and enjoyment of participation. We hope you have fun!

Practical support for musicians

There is now a joint portal of information for musicians at:

http://www.coronamusicians.info/

This has been put together by Help Musicians, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, The Ivors Academy, the Music Managers Forum, the Music Producers Guild, the Musicians' Union, and UK Music and is being regularly updated. It includes advice on how to apply for Government support and details of hardship funds, as well as where to find legal and health support, working online and creative support.

Do try and help to support our musicians, who are going through a very difficult time at the moment.

Help Musicians has launched the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, specifically created to alleviate some of the financial pressures that many professional musicians are currently facing. The £5 million fund has had over 17,000 applications so far and in spite of many generous donations, there is still a funding gap. Click here to find out more about the fund and make a donation.

The Musicians Union has launched a £1 million hardship fund for MU members with genuine and pressing hardship. Click here to find out more about how to apply and how to make a donation.

PRS for Music has launched an Membership Emergency Relief Fund. The new fund offers money to support songwriters and composers during unprecedented times of hardship. Click here to find out more.

Technology for choirs

This is new territory for almost everyone! See our Facebook group for the many solutions people have tried and how they've both succeeded and failed. We'll shortly be publishing some short 'how to' guides on setting up online connections with your choir. Here are some possible software options and useful articles:

The American site Chorus Connection has a good article on running online rehearsals and what to consider.

Facebook live

Zoom

Our friend and colleague, Professor Jim Daus Hjernøe at RAMA Vocal Center Denmark, who delegates will remember from last year's Convention, has produced some very helpful tutorials on using Zoom in rehearsal situations - click here.

Google Hangouts

Online choirs

There are many online choirs of all kinds springing up! Your choir might be interested in some of the following:

Stay at Home Choir run by Rachel Staunton and Tori Longdon. An online platform to keep musicians connected

The Great British Home Chorus run by Gareth Malone OBE

The Self-isolation Choir Live weekly rehearsals; following the successful performance of Messiah in May, the choir is holding a summer school and a performance of Elijah in September.

The Sofa Singers led by James Sills

Distant-Sing run by Choir Community

Online performances

Enjoy concerts from some of the world's top musicians in your own home!

Wigmore Hall is streaming live daily concerts

The Royal Opera House has announced a programme of free online content

BBC Music Magazine has details of streaming services including the Berlin Philharmonic, The Met, VOCES8 and more.

Live from London. An online festival of the world's finest vocal music running each Saturday from 1 August - 3 October, set in VOCES8's stunning church in the heart of the city. Find out more and buy your season ticket from us! It gives access to all ten concerts, whenever you purchase it and every purchase help us too.

Academic resources

Many institutions have lifted their paywall temporarily, giving access to everyone to useful online teaching resources:

OUP Music, Teaching Music Appreciation Online

OUP Music, Online Learning in Music: Foundations, Frameworks and Practices

Open University

JSTOR

And many of our performing organisations have online resources:

London Mozart Players on orchestral conducting

London Symphony Orchestra A-level seminars, as well as a host of performances