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More Music from Home

Posted by Kathryn Macdonanld on 10 June 2020

“One of the things I take out of lock down is the conviction that solutions do exist”
Francois Mattarsasso tweeted last week.

By March 20 we had closed our building, cancelled our sessions, gigs and events and our spring community festival. All staff were sent home to work. It was strange and so sad leaving and locking the building for the last time, wondering if and when we would return and how we could possibly maintain contact and connection with the More Music family.

How could we support and engage people for whom our work is more than just a music session? How could we conceive work that would be meaningful when everything we do is about bringing people together in an inclusive setting? What could it be without a welcoming building and face to face encounters with the 400 plus people who pass through our doors each week?

Days of endless sunshine, the Easter holidays and a furlough for the team left those of us still working in a very quiet bubble of isolation not quite knowing how the days were so madly busy and how the time passed so quickly.

The return of the team meeting after three weeks was a huge relief and very exciting, though not at all the same via Zoom and without the snacks and the coffee! A frantic week was spent reflecting on ideas and confirming the programme we had begun to imagine before the furlough!

More Music From Home was launched on May 4 and since then there have been weekly Folk sessions, Baybeat, Clapping Song, Young Leaders, LYVE, Bay Youth Voices and Stages, (facilitated by an instrument home delivery service) each week via Zoom.

We have worked with our partners Unique KIDz and Co to make beautiful music as part of the Unique Beatz programme, on line.

Our county wide work has continued too, with Lancashire Children and Family Wellbeing Service and with Lancashire Music Hub.

Teams of strolling musicians have played to residents and staff outside Morecambe’s care homes. We have sung to housebound people from their doorsteps and driveways and distributed a newsletter to our elderly Seagull Café participants.

Musicians have recorded songs in their different homes and glued them together to be shared on new platforms.

Young people have made playlists, made songs, made films, made a gig.

We reimagined our neighbourhood festival which became That Little Spring Thing; we delivered sunflower growing kits, postcards and cakes to our West End neighbours, commissioned 9 songwriters, storytellers, poets and musicians to each make a new piece on the theme The Power of Small Things. We borrowed a pink shed and made a film in our back garden called West End Window.

Things don’t have to stay the same forever and we know, now more than ever that things shouldn’t and can’t stay the same forever. Sometimes challenges like this present us with opportunities to do things differently, to learn and to take chances in the ways we reach, meet, and make music with our community. The importance of the continuity of connection and showing that we care has never been more important and this work that brings people together and does effect social change is more necessary than ever.

There will be another four weeks of More Music From Home from June 15 and in that time we will present a youth arts week amongst other extraordinary activities and after that who knows what the world will look like?

One thing is certain, there will be always be more music.

You can find out more and watch films about these projects here

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