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Posted on: 4 March, 2020

Kent Music and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Update 21/05/2020:

We have made the decision that Kent Music will not be sending teachers into schools and Music Centres until the new school year begins in September 2020 at the earliest.

With the plans for potential reopening of schools and social distancing measures still uncertain, we have made this decision with the health and safety of our students and staff, and their families, at the forefront of our minds. We hope that making this decision at this time will give you confidence in your planning for the future.  

With the success of our various distance learning offerings, including our teaching and Music Centre courses, we are confident that we will be able to deliver high quality music education and resources for you and your children/wards until we are able to return to our usual service.  

We have also made the extremely difficult and very sad decision to cancel this year’s Kent Music Summer School at Benenden School, including all County Group courses to take place in July and August, as well as Orchestra ONE’s summer project. 

This is a sad blow for all of us at Kent Music – this will be the first year since 1947 that the Summer School will not be going ahead – however, the health, safety and well-being of students and staff is our highest priority. All those who are already signed on for the Summer School, as well as County Groups and Orchestra ONE members, will be contacted separately with more information and details on refunds and plans for future courses.   

For any questions regarding how our new decision affects you, please refer to the FAQs below. This page will also be regularly updated with courses and classes which have been affected. 

However – it’s not all bad news. Our team is currently working hard to ensure that you can remain engaged with us at Kent Music throughout the summer, and we will update you on our plans shortly.
 
Keep an eye out for new developments and announcements at the links below. In the meantime, we are continuing to share useful home learning resources, updates, good news, helpful advice and enjoyable videos from around the music community on our public platforms:

Monthly Newsletter – sign up here: www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukkentmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KentMusic 

If you require further assistance, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.  

We thank you for your continued support and patience while we adapt our offerings in this unprecedented environment. We are forever grateful for the whole Kent Music family, from staff to students, and their hard work and passion as we continue to make music throughout the county.

Kindest regards,

Peter Bolton
Chief Executive 

Having reviewed the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided to extend our suspension of in person instrument & vocal lessons, ensembles and other activities in schools, music centres and music labs until the end of May, i.e. the end of the half term holiday. 

This decision has been made with the aim of continuing to keep our students, teachers and their families safe. We will regularly monitor the situation and will inform you of any updates as soon as we can. We are still planning for our regular summer holiday activities, particularly Kent Music Summer School’s 73rd annual run of courses.

If you have any queries not answered by the FAQs below, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

We will continue to coordinate with our partners in the wider music industry to research and share news of other distance learning or listening opportunities for musicians of all ages.

Any updates on this, along with other useful resources from around the music and education worlds and Kent Music news on our public platforms:

Monthly Newsletter – sign up here: https://www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukkentmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KentMusic

As always, we would encourage all our students to explore the musical possibilities available to them at home alongside practice as usual!  

We apologise for this continued disruption to our service and wish you and your families all the best while our team works to maintain music education here in Kent.

Peter Bolton
Chief Executive

Following the announcement that schools in the UK will be closing from the end of the day on Friday 20 March, all Kent Music lessons, courses and events will be suspended until Tuesday 14 April. We will of course continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will inform you of any updates as soon as we can. 

All one to one and group teaching in schools and Music Centres is suspended. A full list of the other courses, classes and events which have been affected, along with FAQs for any queries you may have, can be found below on this page. 

If you have any queries not answered by the FAQs, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.  We will be sharing updates regularly on our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) and in our monthly newsletters – you can sign up to these here: https://www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/.

We are planning on the basis that all activities for next term and the summer holidays will be going ahead as scheduled though this may change once there is greater clarity about the length of school closures. 

The Kent Music offices in Maidstone and Aylesham are closed to anyone other than essential staff. This means that we will not be open for the collection or return of instruments. 

We are investigating options for distance learning from the start of the summer term should schools remain closed for an extended period of time and will update you with any new plans as they arise. 

In the meantime, we would encourage all our students to explore the musical possibilities available to them at home alongside practice as usual! We have prepared a short article with a variety of free resources for young musicians aged 8+: www.kent-music.com/news/keep-music-education-going-at-home.

We will also be coordinating with our partners in the wider music industry to research and share news of other distance learning or listening opportunities for musicians of all ages.  

We apologise for this unplanned disruption to our service, and send all our students, teachers and their families our best wishes at this difficult time. Our team is working hard to ensure that we will continue to deliver the same high standard of music education we have for the past 70 years. 

Peter Bolton
Chief Executive

Can I get a refund for lessons which have been cancelled?

Kent Music aims to deliver 33 lessons during a full academic year of 38 weeks. In an instance such as this where schools close for a period, we will make every attempt to make up any shortfall through online teaching, which has been offered to all our students who receive tuition. 

If we are unable to make up this shortfall, we will make a pro-rata refund or credit in respect of the shortfall. Due to the current circumstances we are unable to go into the office to check the previous term registers to be able to give a correct count of how many lessons have been missed, and as such decisions on this will be made after the end of the summer term in July 2020.  

You can find our full terms and conditions here: https://www.kent-music.com/terms-and-conditions/

Can I get a refund for a course or event which has been cancelled?

If a course has been cancelled, refunds can be issued for that specific course, or the balance could be transferred to a future course. Partial refunds may be offered to cover any pre-existing balances. All enquiries regarding County Groups courses should be directed to Valerie Cordina at vcordina@kent-music.com  

Can I get a refund for a future course or lesson which is not cancelled, but which I no longer wish to attend?

We are unable to offer refunds or credits for lessons missed by the student while the course or lesson is still planned to take placeThe only exception would be an absence of 5 consecutive weeks due to illness when the fee for 5 lessons will normally be refunded on production of a doctor’s certificate.  
 
You can find our full terms and conditions here: https://www.kent-music.com/terms-and-conditions/

Are there any County Groups courses planned for the future?

For those of you who are interested in joining any of our County Groups, additional musical activities are being planned later in the year but will be dependent on the guidelines set by the Government.

We will of course keep you informed of any additional activities and events that may be of interest to you as they are rolled out by Kent Music.

Will I still be able to audition for County Groups this summer?

Auditions for membership of any of our portfolio of County Groups will still be available and although initially this will only be available by video application this year, it is hoped during the Summer months we will be able to extend our auditions to offer face to face auditions around the County.  

All auditions will receive constructive feedback and help signpost applicants to develop their musical interests further. We will be offering auditions from end of July right through to the end of the Summer so keep practising and keep your eyes on our website for more information in July.   

I have a rented instrument which I need to pick up or drop off at Kent Music. Can I?

The Kent Music offices in Maidstone and Aylesham are closed to anyone other than essential staff. This means that we will not be open for the collection or return of instruments.  
 
For more information contact Nick Finlinson on 01622 358407 or nfinlinson@kent-music.com.

Are you going to be running distance learning or online lessons?

The whole Kent Music extended family has been hard at work on developing a range of offers for our students and other young people across Kent, which are now in place.   

These offers include:  

Online instrumental and vocal tuition for current students where possible  

Digital ensemble offers for Music Centre and Music Lab students of schools age  

Details of the optionfor current students have already been offered to those applicable, and we’ve been delighted to see a positive response rate. We are currently only opening our distance learning offers to current Kent Music students or Music Centre members.  

If you feel that you fall into one of these categories and have not been offered the chance to take part in our distance learning offers, please contact:

Tuition: customerservices@kent-music.com
Music Centres: musiccentres@kent-music.com

What happens if the lesson cannot take place or is interrupted due to technical difficulties?

The teacher will discuss an alternative date and/or time to reschedule the lesson with the student, or their parent/carer, if the lesson has not taken place. If the lesson is interrupted, the teacher will discuss adding extra time (if possible) to a future lesson.

If my child’s school reopens or they are selected to return to school in summer 2020, will they still be able to access online tuition?

If you or your child have been accessing our online tuition and will be returning to school before the end of the academic year, we will do our utmost to reschedule the lesson at an appropriate time.

If you are aware that this will be the case, please contact us on customerservices@kent-music.com with as much notice as possible so that we can facilitate this for you.

When will my lessons in schools restart?

We are planning to restart our usual lessons and ensembles in schools when the new school year begins in September 2020. We will continue to monitor government advice on social distancing and the easing of the lockdown and will update our customers should the situation change.  
 
Registered Kent Music students who were having lessons in the Spring Term of 2020 will have been offered online tuition by Kent Music Customer Services. If you feel that you fall into this category and have not been offered the chance to take part in our distance learning offers, please contact us on customerservices@kent-music.com 

When will Music Centres reopen?

We are planning to restart our usual lessons and ensembles in Music Centres when the new school year begins in September 2020. We will continue to monitor government advice on social distancing and the easing of the lockdown and update our customers should the situation change. 
 
Registered Kent Music students of school age who were having lessons in at Music Centres the Spring Term of 2020 will have been offered the chance to join our online ensembles. If you feel that you fall into this category and have not been offered the chance to take part in our distance learning offers, please contact us on musiccentres@kent-music.com

Will I be refunded for any concert tickets I have purchased if the concert is cancelled?

Refunds will be processed through the relevant theatre on a case by case basis.

If you purchased a ticket for the County Groups Spring Concert on the 9th April, you will have been contacted with more information; refunds are being dealt with directly through the Stag Theatre. The number to call is 01732 450175 and this will be available Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm. NB: The Stag staff are dealing with a very high volume of calls so thank you in advance for your patience.

How is Kent Music enforcing online security and safeguarding in digital lessons and ensembles?

Each Zoom lesson has a waiting room function, meaning anyone joining has to be admitted by the teacher running the lesson. The teachers will also lock the meeting room once the pupil/s have entered. Once the ‘room’ is locked, no one else should be able to access it.

While there are always risks when using new formats, Kent Music are confident that we have enforced all reasonably practicable measures to ensure pupils and teachers alike have a safe and positive learning experience while using digital platforms. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and ensure that all appropriate steps are taken where necessary.

All below courses, classes and events have been affected until further notice:

Ashford Music Centre
Ashford Rural Orchestra Day
Dartford Music Lab
Dartford Orchestra for Young People
Dartford Primary Orchestra Day – 10th June
Folkestone Music Lab
Gravesham Music Centre
Gravesham Primary Orchestra Day – 30th March
Isle of Sheppey Music Centre
Isle of Sheppey Music Centre Spring Concert – 31st  March
Junior Choir Rehearsal – 8th April
Junior Choir Rehearsal – 16th May
Junior Choir Rehearsal – 13th June
Kent Music Summer School – all courses – 9th – 27th July
Kent County Youth Orchestra Spring Course – 6th – 8th April
Kent Youth Choir Spring Course – 6th – 9th April
Kent Youth Choir Spring Concert 2020 – 9th April
Kent Youth Wind Orchestra: Spring Course 2020 (Fort Pitt) – 4th – 5th April
Kent Youth Wind Orchestra: Spring Course (Sevenoaks) – 9th April
Kent Youth Wind Orchestra and Choirs Spring Concert 2020 – 9th April
Maidstone Music Centre
Maidstone Primary Orchestra and Choir Concert – 8th July (Postponed)
Medway Towns Music Centre
Medway Towns Music Centre Spring Concert – 21st March
National Youth Folk Sampler Day – 31st May – Moved Online
Orchestra ONE Project 25 – 6th – 9th April, Summer Project August 2020
Sevenoaks Music Centre
Sheppey Schools Orchestra Day – 21st May
Sheppey Sings (Summer)
Thanet Music Centre
Thanet Music Centre Spring Concert – 25th March
Tonbridge Music Centre (West Kent Youth Orchestra/WKYO)
Tonbridge Primary Orchestra Day – 20th March
Thameside Schools Music Association (TSMA) Choral Festival – 30th June
Tunbridge Wells Primary Recorder Festival – 20th March

Last updated 21/05/2020