Ideas for working with groups online

One area of music-making online which needs particular planning and consideration is how to work effectively with groups.

The Connect: Resound CPD series focused on this topic in a webinar featuring colleagues from the English Folk Dance and Song Society, West Midlands Music and Live Music Wales. Tune in to hear them share their learnings and the different approaches they have explored:

National Youth Folk Ensemble residentials: creating a new group digital experience

Sarah Jones from the Society explains that they lost no time in making the decision to host their upcoming National Youth Folk Ensemble Residential online, “It was vital for us to keep connected during this period and we adopted a positive, can-do attitude as we moved the bulk of our educational work online.”

The sense of being together was critical, as Sarah describes, “Every morning we met for a warm up session and set creative tasks for the day. For group music-making we used Zoom’s gallery view so we could all see each other. We played tracks that the Ensemble had previously recorded and then each participant played over top.

The social side of the week included optional sessions in everything from photography and nature art to clog dancing, as well as the ever-popular music quiz and Listening Club, where everyone shares their favourite tracks.

Similarly, the EFDSS put a lot of energy into their pastoral offer, “The Residential was held at the beginning of lockdown and it was such a confusing and scary time for everyone. Our pastoral team was on hand all week to chat to individuals and help them get through it. Meanwhile the social programme proved a welcome distraction!”

 “There have been some unexpected benefits of working together online. The young musicians have extended their digital skillsets, from recording and mixing music to creating new arrangements and pieces of music together online.

With the Residential under its belt, the EFDSS has gone on to host eight Youth Folk Sampler Days online, enabling it to meet around 100 young people across the country who are interested in playing folk music.

“I’ve been really impressed by the music education sector’s ability to adapt rapidly to new ways of working and I’m glad we’ve been able to provide an online space for young folk musicians to learn, create, and connect with each other this year.”

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