• Wigmore Hall Learning led 64 remote creative music making events between April and August 2020, with more taking place throughout autumn
  • It has worked with healthcare and social care partners to support people to get online, or to engage those who are not able to access online activity by phone, ensuring activity is accessible for all
  • It has prioritised activity with some of those most isolated and at risk during the pandemic, including choirs, 1:1 activity and group improvisation with people living with dementia and their carers
  • It has launched regular online creative music making activity with young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC)
  • Online workshops in which children under five and their families can sing, dance, and play in a story-based musical adventure have taken place in July and August, with more to come in autumn
  • It has launched a free Music at Home resource hub for all families, teachers and learners
  • Other work includes continued activity with people living with dementia and young people with ASC, as well as continuing partnerships with Solace Women’s Aid, Cardinal Hume Centre, Chelsea Community Hospital School and Wigmore Hall’s Partner Schools and Music Education Hubs
  • Phasing back to – and careful planning for – safe, in-person activity will be key towards the end of 2020 and in 2021

Since 1994, Wigmore Hall’s celebrated Learning programme has given people of all ages and backgrounds opportunities to take part in creative music making, enabling people who face barriers to taking part to be creative and express themselves through quality, co-created music making in safe, equal spaces. And this commitment has only been strengthened during the huge challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wigmore Hall may have temporarily closed its doors in March, but has since developed a range of innovative and impactful remote activity for some of those most isolated and hardest hit by the pandemic, working in partnership with a range of dedicated and skilled musicians, workshop leaders and partner organisations, whose creativity and willingness to experiment has been integral to this new way of working.

Music for Life, its sector-leading programme for people living with dementia, now includes regular online creative music workshops and choirs, as well as 1:1 phone calls for those who are unable to access the internet. Working with people living at home and with care homes, the wellbeing of people living with dementia and their carers is more important than ever as we live through and emerge from these extraordinary times. Participants say the sessions help them feel “less isolated”, part of a “unified group” and describe the experience of taking part as “uplifting” and “inspiring”

“Every Tuesday I feel inspired. It just is extraordinary what has emerged from this weekly meeting, it is absolutely wonderful. Thank you.” Singing with Friends (details below)

Singing with Friends participant

Come and Create, its ensemble of young musicians with Autism Spectrum Conditions, continues online, offering a safe space for young people to connect, share music and create pieces together.

Some members of the Come and Create ensemble taking part in an online session

Chamber Tots at Home has enabled families with children under five to come together to sing, dance and listen to live music in online adventures into space.

Online Chamber Tots session

Music leaders preparing for Chamber Tots, available at: https://twitter.com/lucy_drever/status/1283356357547237382?s=20

“The content was excellent … Having live music performance was exciting for our child and us parents alike. Attention to individual children by the teachers was precious.” Parent

Wigmore Hall Learning also launched its Music at Home resource hub, which provides a range of free creative music-making activities, resources and concert live streams for families, teachers and learners.

“It was accessible to everyone and the children were really imaginative and creative in their approach to finding instruments and using body percussion to produce sounds. They were able to share their finished compositions on our learning platform, giving an opportunity for performance, collaboration and feedback. This was a fantastic way to get the pupils engaged and motivated in this new style of education we are all now exploring” Teacher, on the Create your own Musical World resource

Wigmore Hall Learning is now reconnecting with its partners at Cardinal Hume Centre, Solace Women’s Aid and Chelsea Community Hospital School in order to once again engage people in creative music making who have experienced homelessness and poverty, women and children who have experienced domestic violence, and children and young people in hospital. It will also revive its pioneering Partner Schools Programme, to once again co-create activity that responds to the needs and aims of schools and Music Education Hubs – aims which have changed significantly, and which music can play a huge role in achieving.

Wigmore Hall’s Learning Director, Daisy Swift, said, “We are passionate about giving people who face barriers opportunities to take part in creative music making. In 2020, these opportunities are more important than ever. It has been an incredibly challenging year and we have been working hard to ensure that people can still make connections through – and to – music.”

Wigmore Hall’s Director, John Gilhooly, said, “I was sad that that we to suspend our learning activity in early lockdown, but these creative digital solutions have helped us to reach out and connect. Music and the arts can play a vital role in the national recovery from this pandemic. Everybody is entitled to participate in the arts, if they want to engage, and more than ever the arts can play a vital role in the wellbeing of the nation.”

For more on Wigmore Hall Learning: https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/learning

For details of forthcoming ticketed events: https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/learning/forthcoming-learning-events

Wigmore Hall Learning Music at Home Resource Hub: https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/musicathome