LMN musician Rosie Hood has recorded a series of songs for the Singing Club at Tweendykes School.
LMN North East exists to bring exciting live musical experiences directly to people in special schools, care homes and community settings. In a ‘normal’ year, LMN North East provides around 600 music sessions across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, East Midlands and the North East of England, delivered by our professional musicians in a responsive and interactive way. Building a connection with audiences and participants is a vital part of what we do, so finding ways to fulfil our mission during the Covid crisis has required some big changes.
With many schools closed or operating in a very different way, it was important to find out what we could do to help during this difficult time. We consulted with the special schools that we work with regularly to find out what they needed. Some schools were interested in online music resources that they could use in school, or signpost parents to use at home, so we commissioned a series of mini recorded concerts tailored for young people with SEND and their families. Some are appropriate to share with wider audiences, such as this video by Mishra.
When the lockdown began, some of our musicians were in the middle of delivering Musician in Residence projects, where individual musicians are placed within a special school for a full academic year. This work, which is funded by Youth Music, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust and NYMAZ in different areas of Yorkshire, has been able to continue online during the summer term. Seeing a familiar face onscreen, and taking part in activities that they will remember from school not only helps children continue their musical learning at home, but also provides a sense of familiarity during a turbulent time. Musicians such as Jamie Roberts have recorded videos especially for the classes they would usually work with, featuring singing, rhythm exercises and musical games:
Our work with older people and healthcare settings has also evolved. Musicians Suzi Saperia and Iwan Owen were due to perform at a VE day event at a care home but instead recorded a video for residents to enjoy:
We have also responded to specific requests for unconventional music sessions, such as this outdoor concert local LMN musician Simon Robinson gave for Leeds Recovery Hub.
As the Covid 19 situation unfolds, our work will continue to develop in response to the changing restrictions and new challenges ahead. Branch Director Helen Mahoney writes,
“Although innovation has been forced upon us by a crisis, I have been amazed at the creativity of our musicians in responding to the current situation. We have tried to provide as much support as possible in terms of training and guidance on adapting their practice to work online, as well as the technical aspects of recording sessions and important safeguarding considerations.
For branch staff, there has also been a steep learning curve as we adjust to online delivery and learn how to be digital producers! Time that would normally have been spent organising projects in special schools or care homes is now devoted to providing feedback on musicians’ videos and conducting planning meetings on Zoom. We have had great feedback from our partners so far but have also been reassuring them that our commitment to bringing high quality live music to the people who need it most has not changed. We hope to be able to put the ‘live’ back into Live Music Now eventually!”