Online learning resources (COVID-19)

The ISM has collated a selection of online learning resources from our corporate members and partners. These include resources for primary, secondary and instrumental learning, as well as other useful resources. Many are free or discounted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope you find these ideas helpful whether you are a music teacher, a parent home schooling children, or a learner looking for inspiration.

Resources for primary teachers and students

BBC Ten Pieces has created Ten Pieces at Home, which offers weekly activities for primary schools, home educators and parents to share with their students. Each includes a Ten Pieces film to watch and enjoy, and a linked creative activity that can be completed by children at home without any special materials or preparation.

BCMG (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group) has developed online resources for children, Creating Music at Home. These resources are a collection of fun ways to create music at home with new activities added each week. Designed for both children who play an instrument, including at a beginner level, and those who don’t. Each resource has a downloadable PDF as well as online pages.

Charanga has produced seven new resource packs (one for each year group) using Yumu, Charanga’s online learning space. The ‘Music At Home’ series complements all existing, shareable content available in the Musical Schooland Music Professional programmes. Teachers can upload and share their own resources via the platform too. For complimentary access to it, type in the name of your school here.

Collins Music are offering free access to Music Express, their digital resource for teaching primary music that’s easy to use and accessible to non-musicians as well as music specialists. Teachers can visit their teacher support page. Free access for parents can be obtained by visiting their learn at home page.

Hal Leonard Europe have published 27 free lesson plans for teaching music lessons at home on the Musicroom blog, all written by Rhinegold Education authors, covering KS1, 2 and 3. They also contributed the sheet music for Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus, which attracted thousands of singers every day through the lockdown. A commemorative book to support the project is also available, with some of the proceeds supporting the NHS.

Hertfordshire Music Service has put together a page of free online content including weekly online music activities collated by their Primary Music Consultancy team and templates for planning online resources. They are also encouraging people to share a #HertsMusicMoment.

Inspire-works are offering daily free live online drumming workshops for KS1 and 2 children. They have also created special home school versions of their award-winning online learning platform world music courses in African drumming and Brazilian samba drumming. Participants will be able to achieve their Arts Award Discover qualification by completing the course. ISM members get a 10% discount on course fees.

They have also launched the #BodyPercussion #RecoveryCurriculum; a toolkit of videos and online resources to improve the health & wellbeing of children and school staff upon return to school after the COVID-19 lockdown.

Lindsay Music offer curriculum packs suitable for KS1, 2 and 3 as well as several books with CDs that would be helpful to those getting to grips with instruments including ukulele, percussion and drumkit. Find out more.

M:Tech Education has created a free online music platform for all KS2 children and primary schools called Team Tutti.

Orff UK has put together videos to encourage young children to do simple composing at home.

Portsmouth Music Hub has launched Song Source, a free digital song bank with over 200 original songs for primary-aged children.

Pro Corda has launched Create Together, Wherever!, live online workshops taking place every Thursday and Sunday, specially created for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The resources can be downloaded any time.

Starshine Music are offering 30 free story and song downloads for KS1 and 2 through their new home schooling hub.

Resources for secondary teachers and students

BCMG (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group) has developed online resources for children, Creating Music at Home. These resources are a collection of fun ways to create music at home with new activities added each week. Designed for both children who play an instrument, including at a beginner level, and those who don’t. Each resource has a downloadable PDF as well as online pages.

Charanga are offering free access to VIP Studio Sessions, which gives young people online access to an award-winning range of music creation tutorials and a new-look online studio. KS3/GCSE/BTEC students can use VIP to record performances, to finish their coursework and to make music at home.

NMC Recordings has a range of digital education resources including their GCSE Composition Resource providing creative inspiration for students, r:strng, an app which allows students to create their own remixes, and a free GSCE Dance resource in partnership with Rambert Dance Company.

Steinberg has released a free, extended trial suite of music production, notation, editing and VST instrument software called the StayHome Elements Collection. It covers a huge number of music applications, from music composition, recording, mixing, mastering, podcasting, scoring, sound design and much more.

Resources for instrumental teaching and learning

Alfred Music are offering free access to Smart Music until 30 June. This is a subscription service for teachers and schools to monitor practise time, performance and accuracy. It allows the teacher to set repertoire, sight-reading, scales, and engage with the student. They are also offering an free trial of notation software Finale v26 for 60 days.

ABRSM has launched Performance Grades, a remotely-assessed exam focusing on performance, and PlayOn, an online platform designed to support and inspire music making at home. They also have a Teacher support page, and you can enrol on their Becoming a Better Music Teacher online course for free.

Composers Edition has put together a list of contemporary works for students broken down by instrument. Teachers and students can contact composers directly about their works, which can all be previewed online and purchased in both printed and digital editions. They are offering anyone who joins their CE Club mailing list during April a 10% discount.

Faber Music has pulled together some of their most helpful books and resources to make the transition to home learning easier. They are also offering 20% off all products on their online shop with offer code APRIL20, for a limited time only.

LCME (London College of Music Examinations) has introduced a range of Recorded Exams which assess a candidate’s musical performance by uploading a video of their playing to a newly developed, secure platform. The pieces can be selected from the relevant LCME syllabus, or from the equivalent grade of another accredited exam board.

Len Rhodes Music has published a free leaflet Composition in the Private Studio - twenty ideas to get you started and is offering Teaching Composition in the Private Music Studio, a practical guide to help teach music students about composing, at the special price of $3.95 during the pandemic.

The Music Teachers’ Board’s grade 1-8 exams will continue without disruption during the Covid-19 outbreak. They have introduced several new measures to support affected teachers and learners, including exams over webcam, free choice pieces and optional accompaniments.

Ocarina Workshop resources offer whole-family fun and musical learning for instrumentalists and singers. They are running video tutorials, and offering downloadable sheet music and a free book with every ocarina purchased.

The Curious Piano Teachers are giving piano teachers free access to their online membership site for one month. This includes 100% access to their library of ready-to-use teaching resources and videos, the member-exclusive forum and live community chats.

The Piano Teachers’ Course UK has launched PTC Online, a brand-new initiative bringing you easy-to-follow video tutorials and exclusive downloadable content from expert piano tutors.

RSL Awards are offering video exams for music students studying the Rockschool syllabus, and from other examination boards. They have extended the range of music accepted for use in their examinations, and will be donating £5 to the NHS National Fund for every Rockschool exam entered during the pandemic.

RSL has also launched Practise with Purpose, a free practice diary to help musicians vary their routine to stay positive and motivated. Aspiring teachers and musicians can earn an undergraduate level qualification in just 40 guided learning hours with Rockschool Professional Diplomas.

The Academy of Music & Sound are offering free guitar lesson videos, a free songwriting course and free online courses in hip hop and rap songwriting, and sound production.

Trinity College London has launched a range of free resources and videos to help teachers, parents and learners explore online teaching and learning whilst developing a range of 21st century skills.

WKMT (West Kensington Music Team) are running online lessons and offer a discount on trial lessons.

Young Classical Artists Trust artist Mayumi Kanagawa, awarded violinist of the 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition, has shared a scale practice video to help other musicians practising at home.

Other relevant resources

ABCD (Association of British Choral Directors) has published a page of online resources for choral leaders and choirs, as well as remote learning resources and some free sample articles from their Mastersinger archive.

Allianz Musical Insurance has relaxed and amended aspects of their cover during COVID-19 and published Coronavirus FAQs to help and support musicians. ISM members can get a 10% discount on an Allianz Musical Insurance policy.

BAPAM (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) has switched all of their healthy practice training to free online webinars. Topics covered include vocal health, physical health and injury prevention, and keeping mentally well.

Boosey & Hawkes have released a video showing how their4 Strings collections of contemporary string quartet repertoire can encourage and facilitate the development of ensemble playing during lockdown.

Dalcroze UK are putting on Zoom sessions to provide support and inspiration to Dalcroze practitioners.

Derbyshire Music Education Hub has launched Music at Home - weekly activities, ideas and resources for continuing music learning from home, for all ages and stages of education.

EFDSS (English Folk Dance & Song Society) offer an online resource bank. It contains free, downloadable materials for using English traditional folk song, music, dance, drama and other arts in formal and informal education, including primary, secondary, SEND, youth and community settings.

ERA (Educational Recording Agency) are offering various resources to help classroom teachers teaching remotely to find useful TV and radio broadcast material, including Subject Playlists, Subject Collections, Search Tool and Articles & Case Studies.

Gresham College are livestreaming music lectures for free online, including lectures on the Ballets Russes and Musical Endings. They also have a back catalogue of music lectures, which is especially strong in Christian music, guitar music, Russian music, and has an interesting series on listening.

Impulse Music Consultants
are offering a 20% discount on sheet music, exam music and CDs purchased from their sister site

Informance has made their two-week Practice Tools Email Course free and Penelope Roskell’s Yoga for Musicians is available to view without registration or subscription until the end of April. They also offer a wide range of online learning modules and resources, on which they offer special discounts to ISM members.

Lark Music has launched a new Practising from home policy, which covers musicians who will be playing their instrument at home during the coronavirus restrictions and therefore do not need travel cover. They have also put together some Coronavirus FAQs related to home insurance and working from home. ISM members can get exclusive discounts on Lark insurance policies.

Leeds College of Music are running Introduction to Logic Pro X, a five-week online course starting on 14 May. You will learn the fundamentals of this industry standard software, as well as how to record and edit MIDI and audio data, add effects, and mix and master your music. ISM members get 10% off all LCoM short courses.

London Sinfonietta has launched Lockdown Live, a new series of live digital content including concerts and performance guides, as well as Postcard Pieces, a composition challenge aimed at young people.

Making Music has produced a Staying Connected resource which offers ideas about how groups and individuals can make and share music during lockdown, and links away to various other external sites and resources.

The Mark Allen Group are offering ISM members a 20% discount on digital subscriptions across their music portfolio, which includes Music Teacher, Classical Music, International Piano, Choir & Organ, Gramophone and Opera Now. These offer a range of resources including the latest digital editions, their digital archive, reviews databases, online teaching materials and newsletters.

Music Education Solutions has reduced the price of all its online courses from £99 to just £10 during the current COVID-19 pandemic. There are courses for primary specialist and non-specialist teachers, instrumental and vocal teachers, and secondary teachers, which are delivered through a mixture of video tutorials, interactive study guides, and online research.

Music for All has listed some recommended some online learning platforms and resources listed on their website (click on online resources).

Music Mark has put together a page of Home and School Online Resources for students, parents and teachers. There are categories for EYFS & primary, secondary, parents and general music education resources. They also have advice on speaking to young people about coronavirus.

Music Production Nerds is a research-driven blog dedicated to finding the best music production gear and software, and providing helpful buyers guides and music production tips and tricks.

OCA (Open College of the Arts) are running online music courses. Their Foundations course takes you to a level approximately equivalent to Grade 5 theory and prepares you for further study at HE level, while their degree programme is designed to take students to degree level after four years of full time study. They also offer courses in visual arts and design subjects.

Practice Pal has developed a video teaching app for music teachers, offering automatic scheduling, virtual sheet music annotation and child safeguarding measures. To unlock a two-week free trial, email Encore Musicians referencing 'ISM Online Resources'.

RCO (Royal College of Organists) has made access to iRCO, their digital content hub for organists and choral directors, free to all. They are publishing weekly learning and development suggestions on their StopPress blog and have started a new series of webinars.

RCS (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) has launched RCS at Home, an online community to spread joy and combat isolation by showcasing work, ideas and conversations from students, staff and alumni. It offers livestreams, practical advice and support, and the sharing of heart-warming and humorous clips and stories.

RSCM (the Royal School of Church Music) offer various online resources to support churches and church communities, including webinars, daily Hymn for the Day, Sunday Self-Service and vocal warm-ups.

SAME (Scottish Association for Music Education) has released a package of support learning and activities, including COVID-19 info and guidance, as well as primary, secondary, music tech and instrumental resources.

Sing Up has launched Sing Up at Home, an online hub containing songs and resources. It has been specially curated to support parents, families, schools and virtual choirs to keep singing and making music during this challenging period.

Stagecoach Performing Arts has launched stagecoachathome, an online learning studio providing free singing, dancing and acting education for young people aged 4-18 years.

Take it away has published an article about the benefits of making music to encourage people to pick up and instrument in lockdown.

TiME (Technology in Music Education) has compiled a page of music tech resources for teachers, parents and learners, as well as audio exercises to help people with stress.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is offering a selection of online courses for musicians of all genres and experience levels to engage with during this period of isolation. They have also put together Making Music with Others, a free online course in collaboration with FutureLearn, giving an introduction to group music-making and the social contexts in which musicians participate.

The Voices Foundation are running #VFVirtualSing, a live daily 10-15 minute sing for children, parents and teachers. Tune in live on their Twitter page and view replays of their recent streams.

More COVID-19 advice