Keeping the music playing

10 Mar 2021 01:11
Published by: Scott Callan


CHILDREN across the borough have continued to enjoy their music lessons in lockdown thanks to Bolton Music Service.

The service teaches around 8,000 children a week to play a musical instrument, working in almost all local primary schools and running 45 weekly out-of-school bands, choirs and orchestras and ensembles.

Many of its students have gone on to play in regional ensembles like the Halle Youth Orchestra and the Greater Manchester Youth Brass Band and in national groups like the National Youth Choir.

During lockdown, many young people have missed out on the chance to make music together in face-to-face settings.

Even during the autumn term last year, despite schools being open, musical learning and tuition was much more challenging due to the need for social distancing, increased ventilation and the repeated cleaning of musical instruments and equipment.

The service has transformed the way teaching is carried out. This included developing a wide range of digital solutions for teaching music, running choirs and ensembles all online and creating a vast library of video tutorials for specific groups of learners.

Carolyn Baxendale, head of Bolton Music Service, said: “We know how much benefit young people get from their music lessons and ensembles, and we feel that it is very important to maintain a sense of musical continuity for them, even if we are not able to work face-to-face.

“Music can have such a positive impact on mental wellbeing and has helped to keep a sense of community during these difficult times.”

She added: “We hope to be playing together in a face-to-face setting very soon.” 


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