• information and inspiration for Sound Sense members
News & Views
Community music during the COVID-19 pandemic
Date posted: 18 May 2021

This page is Sound Sense members' space to access and share resources and advice relating to safe practice during the pandemic.

As always, we warmly encourage you to connect with our community via our Gatherings, social media, and Bulletin Board newsletter for support, friendship and inspiration. If you have any COVID-19 related resources you would like to share with fellow community musicians please do get in touch on info@soundsense.org.

When resuming “face-to-face” or "in-person" community music activity, we urge members to follow these three steps:

  • Make sure you follow the government rules and guidelines that apply to your country. The rules differ depending on where you operate in the UK, you can find links to relevant guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland below.
  • Prepare a risk assessment for each community music activity you plan, specifically showing that you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. We have provided links to risk assessment templates below as well as helpful advice on safe working.
  • Where government guidance is not specific to your situation, make a record of your interpretation on your risk assessment so that you can refer back to your decision-making as required


Important note about insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic

We have been in touch with our insurer, who confirms that, as long as members are complying with the government guidelines for re-opening and social distancing, then the Sound Sense Public Liability Insurance policy (for individual members) will operate as normal.

We are also pleased to confirm that our PLI also covers members for the delivery of music sessions via online platforms, and that this information is now displayed on individuals' certificates. Members can download updated certificates as required via the Members Area Homepage.



We have now reached Step 3 of the government's road map (see COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021) and DCMS have published their updated guidance today. As expected, non-professionals may now take part in performing arts activity both indoors and outdoors, subject to legal gathering limits. However, you should note that there is a significant restriction placed on non-professional singing indoors, which should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people. See section 2.4 for more information:




Yesterday, 17 May, most areas changed their COVID-19 protection areas. You can find out information for your area at:


Scottish Government guidance for the performing arts and venues sector was also updated on 17 May, and includes operating guidance for non-professionals:




There was also further relaxation of restrictions in Wales yesterday. Now "up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities." Find out more at:



Northern Ireland

There are still strict restriction on indoor gatherings in Northern Ireland: no more than six people from a maximum of two households may meet except for a small list of exemptions including workplaces (if it is not possible to work at home) and education. An indicative date of 24 May has been given for some relaxation on the restrictions. Find out more at:



General interest

Please note that the resources listed below may not reflect the very latest situation with regard to national and regional lockdown measures. You should always check publication dates and read in conjunction with the latest Government advice for your country.

Making Music has published a Covid-19 resource to help you answer the question "Can my group get back to in-person activities?" which tracks the changing guidance across the four nations of the UK:



Anyone engaged in teaching or delivering music activities online should check out the excellent support and resources offered by Sound Sense member NYMAZ through their Connect:Resound project:



ABCD, the Association of British Choral Directors, has collected a list of useful links and guidance, particularly with regard to singing activities:



Sound Sense member Sound Connections offers a wealth of freely available resources on its website, including videos of recent training sessions such as Building your resilience and keeping well through music and Delivering Music Activities Online with Children and Young People:



ISM has published a range of useful resources, including a webinar on preparing a risk assessment and guidance summaries for resuming private music teaching, performing and working with amateur music groups:



Creative Scotland   If you scroll down this page you will see the risk assessment templates for use by applicants to Creative Scotland's Open Fund. The templates use a "traffic light" system to assess the severity of risk and the need for action.



Our colleagues at the Musicians’ Union have produced detailed guidance for music teachers following the July updates to government advice for England. Note that you do not need to be an MU member to access this advice



Freiburg University of Music, Germany   Risk assessment of a coronavirus infection in the field of music – fourth update of 17 July 2020



Our colleagues at Music Mark have produced an excellent guide for music services and other music education providers planning activities in schools, including guidance on cleaning instruments made from delicate and/or natural materials that are likely to be damaged by common disinfectant products:



Kate Fellows, Head of Learning and Access at Leeds Museums & Galleries recently delivered a presentation on Spaces for Learning: Covid Secure learning and engagement with groups for ArtWorks Alliance members. Available to download below, the presentation slides provide a useful starting point for anyone starting to think about the safety issues involved for groups sharing spaces and handling objects.


Sound Sense has created a COVID-19 Risk Assessment template to help members assess the safety of your community music workshops. The template is unbranded - so that you can tailor it to your own needs - and is available to download below and can also be found on our Resources & Publications page.