London youth music charity Sound Connections has decided to continue running its courses online for the foreseeable future.
According to Abi d’Amore, the organisation’s Workforce Development Programme Manager, the temporary measure to take training courses and networking events online during the pandemic lockdown was surprisingly successful.
With over 500 participants joining their courses and one-to-one mentoring of 60 individuals Sound Connections realised they were able to reach educators, children and young people who might not otherwise benefit from their services.
Thanks to Arts Council for England support, the charity was able to fully subsidise the courses, consultancy for music teachers and events between April and July.
In future, it will not be possible to make all its services and events free of charge, but Sound Connections will continue to make bursaries available to those who need them.
‘We know that finances remain a barrier for many, particularly freelance practitioners,’ says Abi d’Amore. ‘So, we will waive fees or provide bursaries for those individuals who need this.’
Over the coming year, Sound Connections is planning to offer a broad programme of on-line training events covering topics suited to the current situation and requested by their client network. There will also be a conference focussing on diversifying the music education workforce, events for early years music practitioners, a series of Music and Social Justice events and more.
In keeping with the charity’s emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, it will be working with singer and Goldsmiths College lecturer, Brenda Rattray Calo to create a ‘listening and healing space’ to support music educators following the events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement this year. Rattray Calo’s company, Voice Expressions, has earned a strong reputation for working with many orchestras and charities to create educational workshops using music to promote personal confidence and to build bridges between communities.
Full details of forthcoming events can be found on the Sound Connections website.