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The beat goes on as school music service moves online

Published April 06, 2020 9.45am

Children can continue to experience the joy of music when their regular lessons move online after the Easter holidays.

Durham Music Service COVID-19

Young people can access music lessons and fun videos

In normal circumstances, Durham Music Service (DMS) provides small group lessons to more than 4,000 primary and secondary school pupils across County Durham and Darlington per week. This is in addition to whole school sessions, which see 18,000 young musicians hone their skills on a whole range of instruments - from brass and woodwind, to singing and the ukulele.

Government social distancing measures currently mean these sessions can no longer go ahead in schools. However, DMS, which is funded by us, Darlington Borough Council and Arts Council England, is determined to continue sharing the uplifting benefits of music.

Over the last few weeks, the team has been working hard to put the technology in place to allow it to offer online lessons to all its regular pupils, and any new students wishing to get involved. Video conference style calls will enable children to continue to learn and socialise with their teacher in their usual groups.

Daily videos

A daily video will also be produced for use in schools 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; Singalong Thursday; and Rockin' Rhythm Friday.

But the musical mischief does not stop there. 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.

Education and creativity

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, Cabinet member for children and young people's services, 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."

Get involved

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:

For more information about DMS and how to get involved in #DMShomesessions visit Durham Music Service or follow @Durhammusiconline on Facebook, @TrustDurham on Twitter and Durham Music on YouTube.

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