University Music are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students and staff to campus in 2020/21, and have planned a wide range of exciting activity across the academic year. As a result of COVID-19 however, there will be changes to the normal ensembles, coaching, and workshops offered by University Music to ensure music-making is safe for students and staff whilst on campus. This document outlines plans for University Music and Music Society activity in 2020/21 until Easter 2021, considering the limitations put in place because of COVID-19.
University Music will take a staged approach in rebuilding our offer and have met with representatives from other UK Music departments and Conservatoires responsible for running ensemble activity. This is to ensure that our offer is in line with that of other institutions, particularly with regard to our response to Health and Safety and student experience.
The key consideration for all of our planning has been the need to risk assess spaces in accordance with musician specific guidance. We are aware that this means some groups cannot run, but we will continue to review guidance in order to expand the offer over time.
· Government guidance for musicians and the performing arts
· Music course requirements UG and PG
· University Music impact on student experience and wellbeing
· Staff wellbeing
· Community engagement
· Ability to run sessions in ‘COVID-secure’ spaces
Looking forward, in order to participate in any of the activity, detailed below, this academic year you will initially be required to complete the University Music Virtual sign up form. Thereafter, you will then be contacted about individual groups based on your responses.
All participants must adhere to a COVID safety checklist for use of rooms and attending rehearsals. Details will be published before the start of rehearsals.
University Music Activity
Autumn term UM activity:
Chamber Music (inc. CEMPR small groups), Creative Exchange
and Jazz Collective groups of up to 6 players – professional support and coaching available. Outdoor / virtual performances in Welcome Week, Open Days and around Christmas.
Jazz Collective – supported with weekly online workshops with our freelance coaching team.
Staff Singers – trial social distancing / support staff wellbeing (not weekly)
Samba Band – trial social distancing with an open access group (Autumn only)
BMus/Scholars Choir – supporting UG singing students who take 1-1 lessons and trialling choral activity in groups of up to 30.
Symphonic Brass – will run after auditions in late October / early November to prepare for December graduations.
Conductor’s Workshops – un-auditioned ensemble conductors will receive professional coaching to support their development.
Spring term UM activity:
Our aim is to increase activity following Autumn term trials and develop programme to factor in platform time for UG/PG conductors, student/staff wellbeing, experience, and development. Include activities running in Autumn, plus the following subject to social distancing:
Sinfonietta – in lieu of the two main orchestras (20 players max in each session).
Jazz Orchestra – standard rehearsals.
Birmingham University Singers – standard rehearsals (30 singers max).
New Music Ensemble
UG Vocal Consort
University Women’s Choir
*N.B: ensembles not listed are considered too large to accommodate and / or cannot run due to scheduling. Ensembles not running would continue to work online / virtually until the Summer Festival of Music 2021, if necessary.
Autumn Weekly Schedule using Dome and Elgar Concert Hall:
ECH – 13.00-14.00: Staff Singers (Conductor: MA’s)
Dome – 17.10-22.00: Chamber Music groups
ECH – 18.00-20.00: BMus/Scholars Choir (Conductor: Simon Halsey)
Dome – 17.30-21.30: Jazz Collective
ECH – 18.10-19.00: Chamber Music groups
ECH – 19.30-21.30: Samba Band (Conductor: Stephen Plummer)
Dome – 13.10-20.00: Chamber Music groups
Dome – 17.10-19.00: Symphonic Brass (post November auditions)
Dome – 20.00-22.00: Jazz Collective bands
Spring Weekly Schedule using Dome and Elgar Concert Hall (tbc):
ECH – 18.00-20.00: University Camerata (Conductor: MA’s)
ECH – 20.30-22.30: Jazz Orchestra (Conductor: Jonathan Silk)
Dome or Aston Webb LT – 19.00-21.00: Birmingham University Singers
ECH – 19.10-22.00: Sinfonietta
Dome – 19.30-22.00: Flute Choir / Clarinet Choir (alternate weeks)
Dome – 14.10-17.00: New Music Ensemble (Conductor: Daniele Rosina)
Dome – 18.00-22.00: Chamber Music ensembles
Dome or Aston Webb LT – 19.30-21.30 – UG Vocal Consort (Conductor: UG’s)
Dome – 17.10-19.00: Symphonic Brass (Conductor: Stephen Roberts)
Dome – 20.00-22.00: Jazz Collective (Conductor: Jonathan Silk / coaching team)