Children can continue to practice music when their lessons move online after the Easter holidays.
Durham Music Service (DMS) provides small group lessons to over 4,000 primary and secondary school pupils across County Durham and Darlington every week, in addition to sessions for entire schools, with 18,000 young musicians involved.
Government mandated social distancing means these sessions can no longer go ahead in schools. So, DMS, which is funded by Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and Arts Council England, has been working hard to put the technology in place to offer online lessons to both regular and new students.
Video conference style calls will enable children to continue to learn and socialise with their teacher in their usual groups.
A daily video will be produced for school use, educating the children of key workers, and will be accessible for youngsters being taught at home. These videos will be based around a daily theme, including: Groovy Moovey Monday; Tiny Tunes Tuesday, Ukulele Fun Wednesday; Sing-along Thursday; and Rockin’ Rhythm Friday.
The DMS team is also busy creating fun-filled music videos, which it is uploading on YouTube and sharing on social media under the hashtag #DMShomesessions. It is encouraging families and individuals to capture and share their own musical moments using the hashtag to inspire and bring cheer to even more people.
Mike Summers, manager of DMS, said: “In times of uncertainty, it is important to help create a sense of normality for children, which is why we were determined to continue to deliver our music lessons in a safe and accessible way.
“Thanks to technology, our teachers can continue to connect with their pupils, allowing the children to continue their musical education, while experiencing the sense of joy creativity evokes.
“Face-to-face contact like this is so important when youngsters are not able to see their friends or socialise outside of the home.”
Cllr Olwyn Gunn said: “Michael and the team have done such a fantastic job at moving DMS online in just a few weeks.
“Singing and playing a musical instrument can do wonders for our wellbeing and it is especially beneficial for children. It is more important than ever that we look after our mental health and I am delighted youngsters in County Durham and Darlington can continue to enjoy their music lessons while social distancing.
“I would encourage everyone to join in the fun and share their musical adventures using the #DMShomesessions hashtag. I can’t wait to see and hear what everyone has been up to.”
DMS will launch the online sessions after the Easter holiday and has written to schools and the parents and carers of children currently receiving tuition. Any parents who have not received an email can also fill in a form online at: www.durhammusic.org.uk/news/email-to-parents-and-carers