The ISM responds to updated performing arts guidance for England on… Jump to main content

The ISM responds to updated performing arts guidance for England on singing, woodwind and brass

Responding to revised guidance for the performing arts in England published by the government on 13 August, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

'It is fantastic news that both professional and non-professional musicians in England can now engage in singing, wind and brass, and venues are welcoming live music back in line with health and safety guidance.

These welcome changes will enable many more of our members to transition safely back to work and help rebuild the music industry, which contributes so much cultural and economic value to our country. Some points in the guidance do need to be clarified and we call on the government to respond to the questions raised by the music sector so we can move forward with confidence.

For months the ISM called for further research into the safety of instrumental playing, which is why we published a global study reviewing the current research concerning COVID-19 transmission in the performance space. With DCMS continuing to develop its understanding of how to mitigate potential transmission risk, we urge the government for transparency around this process and to engage with this critical piece of research, which suggests that there is much to be learned from other countries that could help get music back more fully and safely.

However, the fact still remains that until performance venues can reopen without social distancing, creative workers like musicians will not be able to fully return to work. To prevent an exodus of talent, the government must extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until at least the end of the year, and widen the eligibility criteria for freelancers to access vital support during this difficult time.’

Notes to Editors

  • Revised guidance for the performing arts was published by the government on 13 August, confirming that non-professionals can now take part in singing, wind and brass activity, whilst keeping to the current social distancing guidelines.
  • DCMS has also confirmed that live music can take place in pubs and bars as long as they follow the appropriate government guidelines.
  • These guidelines apply to England only: guidance is still awaited in Scotland and Wales. Guidance for Northern Ireland is here.
  • The ISM has consistently called for further research into the safety of instrumental playing. In June we to wrote the Department for Education, calling on the Government to commission urgent research into the management of risk relating to the transmission of COVID-19 in music teaching environments, in order to get music teachers back to work in the safest possible way.
  • On 15 July the ISM published a global study which reviews the current research concerning COVID-19 transmission in the performance and music education space. The ISM has sent the literature review to both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education (DfE) as a resource for their development of further guidance on different risks associated with singing, brass and woodwind, and how to mitigate them.
  • 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.

    For more information, please contact [email protected].