MAKING MUSIC (UK)
Member country: United Kingdom
Contact person: Barbara Eifler (Chief Executive)
Who?: Barbara Eifler is the Chief Executive of Making Music. Making Music is the UK organisation for leisure-time music groups, with over 3,500 member groups throughout the UK. Our members are choral societies, gospel choirs, community choirs, amateur orchestras, brass bands, jazz ensembles, folk groups, ukulele groups, drumming circles, handbell ringers, samba groups, hobby rock bands, etc.
What?: We support our members and the leisure-time music sector in 3 ways:
- Practical help for running a group. Most of our members are run by volunteers in their spare time, and they want to focus on making music, so we help them run the group: we have an insurance scheme, we help them with guidance on, for example, safeguarding for young people, contracts with conductors, marketing their group, setting up a website, organising their finances, and lots more.
- Artistic support: we have a project called ‘Adopt a Composer’ which has funding to match an emerging composer with one of our member groups for a year; they work together and the resulting piece of music is recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3; we also have a selection of young professional artists and singers that our members can book with a subsidy, so they can play and sing alongside the stars of tomorrow, at an affordable cost; and there are other artistic development projects and opportunities.
- Lobbying and advocacy: we respond to government consultations and campaign on issues which would make it difficult for our groups to continue or to do well; topics here in the UK include music education (young people and adults), music libraries, licensing for children in performances, and more.
Why join Amateo?: It is always good to connect to other similar networks and learn from what they are doing and how they operate. We are particularly happy that this is an affordable membership – we are only a small charity with no public funding. If meetings are in Europe in cities with cheap flights and hotels, then that is very good for us… Please only meet near Easyjet or Ryanair airports!
International connections give you a new perspective on what is happening in your own country; it can be really good for our members, too, to learn about how leisure-time music works in other countries; and music is a universal language – it’s an opportunity to connect, in a world full of divisions.
Future hopes?: It’s the people versus the machine. We are all artists, we are all musicians. Never mind what our politicians are up to – with the internet, we can just connect to each other and build the joy of making music in communities.
Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!