A year on: Wigmore Hall Learning continues its impactful remote programme

As we approach a year since we first closed our doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wigmore Hall Learning department reflects on how much they have learnt during this extraordinary time.

Working with some incredible musicians, we have found creative and innovative ways of connecting isolated people through music. A musician working on our Music for Life programme summed up beautifully just how meaningful this music making has been:

“I’m sure I’m not alone in having felt an acute sense of loss of identity during the past year. I wasn’t prepared to have such a strong emotional reaction after my first online session. I knew I’d missed working in this way but it hit home just how much I need this kind of human connection and outlet for creative expression in my life; to feel inspired by others in this way. Suddenly the inner void felt a little smaller than it had done for months.”

Here’s some of the work we’ve been leading over the past couple of months...

  • A range of Music for Life activity:
    • Monday Afternoons: Fortnightly online creative music making project for people with young onset dementia and their families and carers
    • Singing with Friends: Weekly online group singing sessions and phone calls for those who are unable to access online activity
    • Music for Thought: A creative music project in partnership with Resonate Arts and the Royal Academy of Music
    • Out of the Ordinary: In partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, a new project for people from UCL’s Rare Dementia Support groups from across the UK, to explore ways in which we can nurture our own and each other's wellbeing through music and the expressive arts
    • Projects in care homes, including group sessions and activity with those unable to leave their rooms. You can read more about this work here

“You elevate me, put me in another world”

Music for Thought participant

“I felt included from the very first minute of the first session ... I felt like I could make important contributions ... and that anything I contributed would be valued”

Out of the Ordinary participant
  • Music making with families:
    • Regular Chamber Tots at Home workshops, enabling families with under 5s to take part in online music making
    • New Family Workshops at Home for families with children aged 5-11
    • Online creative music workshops with a Solace Women’s Aid refuge, supporting women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. You can read more about this work here
    • New online resources and activities for our Music at Home hub. Visit the hub here

“I’ll never forget this”

Solace Women’s Aid parent

“The Chamber Tots sessions have been magical, one of the loveliest things I'll remember from this last year”

Chamber Tots at Home parent
  • Activity with young people:
    • Fortnightly online Come and Create sessions for young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. In December, the band released their first single created remotely called ‘Sea Sounds’. You can read more and listen to the track here
  • Our training and development programme, Pathways:
    • We appointed and started working with our new Pathways Placements cohort, who are taking part in activity across the programme to develop skills in workshop leading. You can read about the cohort here
    • We appointed and started working with two new Royal Academy of Music / Wigmore Hall Learning Fellowship Ensembles, who you can read about here

… And we’re looking forward to being back in person when the time is right