The past 18 months have brought numerous challenges, but as Live Music Now has adapted its work and found new ways of engaging audiences – online and outdoors, with individuals and with large groups – we have also been able to see new opportunities.
In the South West, we have launched new projects which we would never have explored were it not for the pandemic: one-to-one beatboxing workshops which have impacted on children’s stamina, speech and nutrition; online concerts reaching thousands of children in schools; lunchtime concerts for hospital staff to bring some calm to busy days; and Christmas song-writing via Zoom, with care home residents navigating new technologies to create music together.
As our musicians begin to return in person to schools, care homes, hospitals and other community venues, we have found that demand for both online and in-person work has increased, and the South West branch is busier than ever. We are very fortunate to have received a grant of £13,520 from the Postcode Local Trust (a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery) which will enable us to increase our staffing to meet this demand over the coming year.
Projects coming up include two year-long musician residencies in special schools in Bath and Somerset; creative music residencies and staff development for OSJCT care homes in Gloucestershire; regular online and offline performances at hospitals in Bristol and Bath and for dementia support groups in Devon; projects exploring wellbeing through music with schools in Devon, Somerset and Dorset; as well as regular participatory performances in schools, care homes and community venues throughout the region. With funding to increase our capacity, we aim to build new partnerships and bring the benefits of live music to more people in the South West.