New Year's message from Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive

Happy New Year!

It already feels as if the New Year has been with us for some time, probably because it does not feel so very different from the last year. We still have to get to the other side of COVID-19, and the complexities around Brexit seem to be increasing every day. On top of this, the Government is talking about even tougher lockdowns as the number of COVID-19 cases increase, and of course, we will advise you as to what this means for you in a professional capacity. Keep an eye on the website and our social media channels for updates.

The ISM, as ever, will be with you through thick and thin, as we have been since 1882. Wherever you are in the UK, do make use of the free resources on our website, such as our ever-expanding range for professional development. In such turbulent times, looking after your wellbeing is vital, and we continue to provide you with specialist services, including face-to-face counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and our ground-breaking physiotherapy service.

Over the course of 2021, we will continue to campaign to try and reduce the obstacles which musicians face if they want to work in the EU. The top priorities are frictionless travel, and reducing red-tape and expenses for touring with instruments. On our website, you can find new resources for performing in the EU and EU performers in the UK.

2020 was an incredibly busy time for our in-house legal team, who saw an increase of around 80% in cases from members. It is very important to us that we maintain a really strong legal service, so we have invested in new personnel to provide advice, as well as updating our comprehensive advice pages. Our services for members include everything from contracts to copyright and services that ensure you receive payment. Find out more about contacting our legal team.

One of our principal priorities at the ISM is the safeguarding of music in schools. In December, we published our report The heart of the school is missing, which assessed the damage to music provision in schools across the four nations as a result of COVID-19. Alongside our work lobbying Government on music education, in 2021, we will continue to make sure that you have everything you need in the classroom or in private settings to support you in your work as a music teacher. From safeguarding to COVID-19 risk assessments, we can help you.

The highlight of last year for the ISM was our free online conference, The Empowered Musician 2020. Over two days, nearly 50 industry experts provided key insights and advice, discussing the major issues of today and also sharing support and their experiences. In 2021, themes and subjects discussed in these sessions will inspire a new range of exclusive resources for members, including expert blogs, opinion pieces, how to... guides, advice packs, and interactive content.

Finally, our next Members’ Day and AGM will take place online on Saturday 24 April. Save the date, and we’ll contact you soon with details of the programme and how to book.

We are always happy to hear from our members and colleagues, so please do feel free to get in touch at [email protected], by telephone at 020 7221 3499 or via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

May I wish you and your loved ones a safe 2021. And do take care.

Deborah Annetts

Chief Executive, ISM