Useful links and guidance for musicians and their choirs during COVID-19

We started this page of resources at the onset of the pandemic and since then have constantly been adding to it. It's become our most widely read page and we hope it continues to provide help and support to singing leaders of all kinds.

If you come across other useful resources, or any updates, do let us know so that we can continue to make the resource as useful as possible.

Government guidelines

You can find details of the relevant government guidance for the performing arts, education and places of worship for all four Nations on our Government guidelines page here.

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

Omicron variant

England. At the current time there are no specific changes to the events and attractions guidance. We will as ever monitor guidance for any updates which affect choirs. There is more detail on the Government guidelines page.

Risk management and 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.

Our 'practical considerations' document has been updated in light of the latest guidance, to help and encourage people plan their choir's return. Every choir will have its own views on when and how it wants to return and the guidance keeps many of the previous pointers, so that people can consider any issues that they feel is relevant for their group.

Find all the documents and more advice here.

Download WellRehearsed, our new app for all music groups

WellRehearsed is a joint initiative between abcd and Making Music. This free app has been developed in volunteer time as a quick and simple-to-use risk management tool for amateur music groups of all kinds, choirs and instrumental groups. It is already helping us gather valuable data to make the case for safe singing, both now and in the future - if you are rehearsing your choir, however small the numbers, please download and use it!

It asks two short anonymous questions: 'Has your choir/music group met for a rehearsal in the last week?' And 'Were any infections subsequently reported by persons attending it?'

WellRehearsed is available now for Android users in the Google Play Store and iOS users in the Apple Store.

Find out more here.

Other advice, research and resources for choirs and their leaders

Research

  • In May 2020 abcd 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.

Government research and reports

  • DCMS and PHE commissioned scientific studies to develop the scientific evidence on singing, wind instruments and performance activities. This included the PERFORM and SOBADRA research projects, both undertaken in summer 2020. The PERFORM study was undertaken by a collaborative partnership led by Bristol University and Imperial College London (PERFORM). Find out more here about the research and download the full paper here. NB The research has since been peer reviewed in the Aerosol Science and Technology journal - click here for details.
  • You can read the NERVTAG statement on Assessment of transmission of COVID-19 through musical events from 16 July 2020 here and read the resulting report published by the Singing and Wind Instruments working group in August 2020 following the publication of the scientific studies above here.
  • The Government's Singing and Wind Instrument Group, established in June 2020 as part of the COVID-19 response, published a suggested principles of safer singing in November 2020 as a result of the studies above and we recommend that you read this as part of your risk assessment and planning.

Useful resources

  • 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. There are also many more resources available to Making Music member choirs, including detailed risk management guidance.
  • For church choirs, the RSCM has a regularly updated COVID-19 resource section for churches. Watch out for their regular webinars too.
  • 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 has a substantial and constantly updated COVID19 section covering guidelines, financial support, teaching, theatre and orchestral work. You can also sign up for regular updates to your Inbox, even if you aren't a member. Click here.
  • There is detailed practical information about the opening of village halls and community venues 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.
  • 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.
  • Interface:Response is designed to help portfolio musicians develop their digital skills and provide ongoing support as required, including forums and a mentoring scheme which include advice on rehearsing, performing and teaching activities.

Online resources for teachers, children at home and everyone working with young voices

#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:

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!

The Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme is an award-winning programme reaching around 4,500 children across the Diocese every week. Visit their YouTube channel for a vast range of resources for young singers, including warm-ups, sing-a-longs, games and more.

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.

Sing Up have introduced Sing Up at Home, with lots of resources for online learning, much of it freely available. You can also view #Feelgoodfifteen live every Tuesday at 9am, or catch up in the archive.

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.

Ex Cathedra's SingMake films are all available on YouTube, for KS1 and KS2, complete with downloadable resources to maximise learning and enjoyment of participation.

Practical support for musicians

There is 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.

Help Musicians is an independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement. Click here to find out more about it and make a donation.

Face masks for singers

Banks Music Publications have a range of PPE equipment for choirs, including singers' masks with a specially designed lightweight frame that holds the material away from the nose and mouth allowing normal vowel production and projection.

The Broadway Relief Project is a coalition of Broadway designers and stitchers that normally build costumes for Broadway hit musicals. The team was enlisted by the City of New York to creating over 2 million medical gowns for NYC public hospitals. The Singer's Mask was developed for singers to capture droplets while singing and provide comfort and ease of motion while singing.

There are a growing number of other suppliers making to order:

Funky masks

Random Rose

Alison Crutchley

Joan Fernley has produced patterns for making singers' masks and YouTube tutorials - many of the names above are producing to her pattern. She also runs a Facebook group 'Masks for performers'.

Miss Kiddy

SingSafe is an affordable silicone spacer which fits underneath a facemask, allowing for comfortable and confident singing while wearing a mask, designed with singers in mind. It prevents you inhaling your mask when breathing in, while still allowing a full range of jaw and facial movement.

Technology for choirs

Check out our remote learning resources page for articles and our resource video from Richard Jeffries on rehearsing youth choirs online. A number of our webinars have also covered technology - click here to see the full list which you can watch on catch up. Many are free to members, and all are available to anyone for £5.

Our friend and colleague, Professor Jim Daus Hjernøe at RAMA Vocal Center Denmark, who delegates will remember from our Convention in 2019, has produced some very helpful tutorials on using Zoom in rehearsal situations - click here.

Online choirs

Many online choirs of all kinds have been running very successfully over the last year. Your choir might be interested in some of the following:

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

The Self-isolation Choir Live weekly rehearsals; following the successful performances in 2020, there is a full schedule of events up for 2021.

The Sofa Singers led by James Sills

Distant-Sing run by Choir Community