The ISM, Music Mark and the MTA launch #CanDoMusic campaign

On 11 August 2020 the ISM, Music Mark and the Music Teachers’ Association (MTA) launched a UK-wide campaign, #CanDoMusic. This campaign, launched as schools return in Scotland, aims to ensure all children and young people can resume their musical learning this autumn. Its mission is to celebrate and unlock the innovation of music teachers and senior leaders, to share practical ideas and resources that will deliver music in engaging and inspiring new ways, and to support schools in ensuring that music plays a central role in rebuilding their school communities.

Music is hugely important to the school community and to the wellbeing of pupils and teachers. It helps drive achievement and test the capabilities of pupils of all ages and provides unique, sometimes life-changing experiences for young people.

For all this, schools already grappling with the logistical, budgetary and educational complexities of returning in the autumn may assume that there are significant challenges when trying to put music at the heart of school life.

#CanDoMusic is a solutions-based campaign to help schools and music providers overcome these challenges. It aims to equip schools and other education settings/providers with clear guidance, resources and practical and creative ideas, so that they can make music happen in and out of the classroom. It also seeks to ensure that music is at the heart of post-lockdown school life.

This campaign has two strands:

  • A website (www.CanDoMusic.org) which acts as a signpost to practical resources from across the music education sector that teachers can explore and use to ensure that music is part of the solution in every school’s recovery plan.
  • A social media campaign (#CanDoMusic) which starts an online conversation, directs people to the website and helps to share and signpost great ideas, resources and solutions for keeping music at the heart of learning for all children and young people from the start of the autumn term.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM said:

It is vital that the inequalities in accessing quality education after months of remote learning are not exacerbated further as pupils across the UK return to the classroom. School leaders face numerous challenges in reopening schools, and we must give them the support and encouragement they need to put music at the heart of the recovery curriculum.

#CanDoMusic provides practical support and guidance to remove barriers teachers may be facing in getting music back into schools. The benefits of music are well documented and, now more than ever, it is crucial that we ensure every child has equal access to a quality music education.


Bridget Whyte, Chief Executive of Music Mark said:


Music has been important to us all during the past four months, keeping us going through the lockdown. As students return to school full-time, it must be at the heart of their day-to-day life. Not only as a statutory curriculum subject, but also as a way to reap the many social and mental benefits creative music making provide. I would encourage every school to talk to their local music education providers about how they can help support pupils to re-engage with formal music education this term.

Simon Toyne, President of the MTA said:


So many school senior leaders across the country believe strongly in the impact that music has - not just upon children's learning, student and staff wellbeing, and community cohesion, but in its own right as an invaluable discipline within a broad and balanced curriculum - that they are placing music at the heart of their schools' recovery curricula in this new academic year.

Allied to this, they are ensuring that the vital provision of specialist individual and group vocal and instrumental tuition - a profound lifeline for so many of our children - is not only maintained but develops further. And although it will be some time until the full range of musical ensembles can operate again in schools, there are so many imaginative and creative solutions to developing extra-curricular music in September.

#CanDoMusic is, therefore, such an important initiative in which these solutions can be shared between schools, with everyone involved in music education working in partnership - a 'one-stop-shop' to make sure that all children can do music when they return to school.

        About the ISM

        The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

        We support over 10,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

        We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

        About Music Mark

        The UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark is a membership is a membership organisation for individuals and organisations working in music education across the UK. We believe that there should be excellent musical learning in and out of school for all children and young people in the UK, which inspires and enriches their lives. Our primary aim is to support our membership in their work to achieve a high quality, diverse and inclusive music education.

        We have a membership made up of individuals, over 200 music education organisations and over 6,000 Music Mark schools. The membership represents all parts of the music education landscape in the UK. We support and develop the workforce and facilitate networking and the exchange of ideas across the sector. We advocate for and articulate the needs of the sector to the government and governmental organisations.

        We are a subject association and charity focused on the impacts and outcomes of music education for children and young people, musically, personally, socially and educationally.

        About the MTA

        The Music Teachers’ Association is the largest and longest established association of music teachers in the UK, supporting all who are connected with a school music department.

        It is the mission of the Music Teachers’ Association to provide first-class training, support and networking opportunities to all those who work in music education. Through our outstanding publications and our exceptional Annual Conference and CPD programme, we inspire a membership which passionately believes that schools and their pupils’ lives are deeply enriched by a high quality music provision.

        In challenging times we must work together and stand together for the future of music education.

        For more information, please contact [email protected].