Virtual lessons and gigs in gardens have ensured the sound of music continues in Oldham

Date published: 23 May 2020

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The band has continued to play for Oldham’s young musicians as they have been digitally supported through the Covid-19 crisis by the Oldham Music Service.

When it became apparent that the Covid-19 crisis would mean massive disruption to music lessons in schools, the Music Service started to develop a ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ to enable its students to continue to engage with their teachers and for them to make progress remotely.

Some 8,400 music students have been given the opportunity to receive bespoke and unique online lessons.

Young musicians were even encouraged to hold ‘garden gigs’ with family members or to use virtual technology and post online using #gardengigoldham.

Check out some examples on the video (below). 

There are now even plans to invite pupils to send recordings of themselves playing the music provided and mix them into a virtual concert.

And in the past few weeks extra-curricular online rehearsals have been offered to members (of all ages) of local bands, choirs and orchestras.

Gerard Booth, Head of the Oldham Music Service, which is normally based at the Lyceum building in Oldham, said: “The Music Service team has been working non-stop since the start of lockdown to ensure that our fantastic musicians continue to receive the most inspirational and educationally valuable tuition possible under the current circumstances. 

“Pupils engaging with our online offer are receiving direct and bespoke lessons from their regular teachers while in lockdown and are able to return to them recordings of their efforts for a real two-way learning experience. 

"This means that progress is continuing despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19.

“We have also started online, virtual Music Centre rehearsals for members of the Lyceum’s bands, orchestras, choirs and other groups and the take-up has been generally excellent.

"These efforts, coupled with daily videos for pre-school children through our social media channels and website as well as a host of other resources, are making a real difference to so many of Oldham’s musicians whose normal activities have been otherwise halted by the pandemic."

The response that the Music Service has received from users has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Oldham Council Leader Sean Fielding, Cultural Lead for the Council, said: “Music is one of the cultural foundations of Oldham and I applaud teachers and the budding musicians who have shown creative skills to battle current challenges.”

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Young musicians were even encouraged to hold ‘garden gigs’ with family members or to use virtual technology and post online