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Posted on: 11 January, 2021

Kent Music and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

January 2021

In response to the new government restrictions, we have decided that we will be moving all our ongoing music tuition and ensembles online until the end of the spring term.

While this is not an ideal situation, we are pleased that we can continue to provide high quality lessons and ensembles despite not being face-to-face. We hope that continuing lessons, courses, and ensembles in this way during the new national lockdown will provide some much-needed stability for you in ever-changing times.

During this term, we will be working hard with schools, teachers, parents, and students, as well as closely following government guidelines to ensure we can, we hope, return to teaching face-to-face lessons in the summer term.

We are still accepting students for our online offers this term, as well as looking into one-off courses and events which can be run online and in-person as the term continues. Find out more about learning with us here:

Music Lessons

We can offer high quality one-to-one lessons with our expert tutors for students of all ages and skill levels. Lessons are delivered via Zoom.

Online Music Centre

Since the start of this academic year, we have been running weekly online ensemble courses for students of all ages, including adults, in a safe online environment.

We will release updates on our plans and what we have on offer here on our website and via the links below:

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Please refer to the FAQs detailed below for more detailed information on specific Kent Music offers and guidance.

If you have further questions you can contact our excellent customer services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

Thank you so much for your patience during what has already been a turbulent start to the year. We will be in touch with any future updates and look forward to continuing to offer you a brilliant music education experience in 2021.

About Online Lessons

Some of you may not have had music lessons online before or might be uncertain about their benefits or how they work. Kent Music has been delivering high-quality tuition online for nearly a year now, and our teachers are experts in providing great experiences for students. Online lessons can even be more accessible for some students, removing limitations of travel and having to carry instruments with you to school!

We provide support for our teachers and students to ensure online lessons are a positive experience for everyone. We have prepared a guide for students, parents and carers having online lessons which we’d encourage you to read: Online Instrumental and Vocal Lessons: Guidance for Parents, Carers and Learners.

Here is a flavour of some of the feedback we have been receiving about our online teaching since March:

“I’ve been really pleased with how the online lessons have panned out…I feel that [my child] has still been making good progress and that the lessons have been beneficial. Her teacher…has done an amazing job of adapting her teaching to manage the challenges of online delivery. Having weekly contact has helped my daughter stay focused and kept her motivated.”

“Excellent teaching – my daughter is making wonderful progress”.

“She’s enjoyed the online lessons and said it’s as effective as sitting next to her teacher in class.”

“Just as good as an in-person lesson, sometimes better”

Frequently Asked Questions:

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

Each Zoom lesson has a waiting room function, meaning anyone joining must 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 will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that all appropriate steps are taken where necessary.

When will face-to-face lessons and courses restart?

We are not planning to restart face to face lessons until after the spring term. We will continue to closely monitor government guidance and update all our students and customers with any changes of plans.

Will County Group courses still be taking place?

We are currently reviewing how our County Groups will be taking place in 2021. The team is looking at options for courses later in the year and will keep all County Groups members informed of our plans.

While we aren’t holding auditions at the moment, we are still welcoming new members to our various County Groups.  If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Valerie Cordina on vcordina@kent-music.com.

Music Centres and Music Labs- how will I know if they are open?

Decisions about opening music centres and music labs will be made on a centre-by-centre basis. They will be opened in full or in part when it is safe to do so. We will remain in contact with centre and lab members directly as the situation unfolds and will keep regular updates posted on the relevant pages of our website as well as on our social media pages (FacebookTwitter) and in our monthly newsletter.

In the meantime, we have been running a successful Online Music Centre, with ensembles including an online Music Lab, orchestras, choirs, and more running weekly, with reduced-cost membership. Find out more here: Join our Online Music Centre.

If you have questions about music centres and music labs, please contact musiccentres@kent-music.com

Instruments: can I hire an instrument, or pick up/drop off one I’ve hired?

Our offices in Aylesham and Maidstone are currently closed, so we are not able to accept returns. If you need to hire an instrument, then deliveries may be able to be arranged, so please get in touch!

Please contact the team on musicresources@kent-music.com to discuss hiring an instrument.

You can find out more about hiring a musical instrument on our dedicated Musical Instrument Hire page.

Is Financial Assistance still available?

We have continued to offer financial assistance throughout the pandemic to both existing and new beneficiaries.

At Kent Music we offer financial assistance for children and young people aged 5 – 18 years, living in Kent (not Medway), which can assist with the cost of music lessons, instrument hire, Kent Music ensembles, Kent Music County Group Courses and Kent Music Summer School Courses. You should have an offer of a confirmed lesson, ensemble or activity before making your Financial Assistance application.

Existing beneficiaries from the autumn 2020 term do not need to re-apply for spring and summer 2021, their award continues for the rest of the academic year.

Applications may be made throughout the academic year but are only awarded from the term and academic year when the application is received and are not backdated.

To find out more or make an application, please refer to our dedicated Financial Assistance page or contact our financial assistance administrator Gail Batty via email gbatty@kent-music.com or via phone 01622 358413.

December 2020 Update

December 2020

The whole Kent Music team is working hard to ensure that existing and new students can continue to access high quality lessons and ensembles with us.

We are working with schools and teachers to return to face-to-face activities in a safe manner as soon as possible. As of December 2020, we are teaching over 50% of our music lessons face-to-face in schools, with that number increasing all the time. Meanwhile we are continuing to deliver high quality online teaching for those who we cannot teach face-to-face, or who prefer remote lessons.

Returning to face-to-face lessons

In order to ensure that our offers are as safe as possible, we are talking to each school and venue we work with individually. Every face-to-face offer is subject to the following strict safety criteria:

  • The school/venue allows external teachers to attend.
  • The school is able to comply with our own risk assessment and we are able to comply with theirs.
  • We are able to provide a workable timetable for the teacher(s) going into that school/venue.

Our over-riding priority is to keep our teachers and students safe and so please be assured that we are not putting students and teachers back into schools unless we have done everything we can to ensure they will be learning and working in a safe environment.

Guidance

All the criteria we are working to has been developed based on guidance provided by the Department of Education and Music Mark, as well as consultations with local schools, teachers and health & safety experts.

We have now developed our own comprehensive guidance for teaching in schools, and have prepared the guide below to inform parents, carers and students of how we are teaching safely. We would encourage all parents, carers and students to read the guidance so that they have a good understanding of our safety measures when going into lessons.

Guidance: Keeping Students Safe During Covid-19


Please refer to the FAQs detailed below for more detailed information on specific Kent Music offers and guidance.

If you have further questions you can contact our excellent customer services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

Keep an eye out for new developments and announcements on our website and via the links below:

Monthly Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Many thanks from the entire Kent Music team for all your continued and enthusiastic support during this difficult time. We are excited and positive as we move forward with excellent music education offers and resources for you in 2021.

July - September 2020 Updates

Update September 2020: Guidance

At Kent Music we have developed organisational guidance for schools and teachers with regards to returning to schools in September 2020. This has been disseminated to all out own staff and teachers, as well as to all schools we work with. We would encourage any interested parents or students to read the guidance for a full understanding of how we are teaching safely this term.

Guidance for returning to schools in September 2020

 

Announcement 16th July 2020: New Academic Year

Now that the government guidance on returning to schools in September has been published, I am writing to outline our approach to the next academic year.

Our general approach is to ensure we can continue to teach as many students as we can. We are working with schools and teachers to return to face-to-face activities in a safe manner as soon as we able. In the meantime, we will be continuing to register online teaching until we can return to teaching in schools and other venues.

As you know, this is a fast-moving situation, and so we are talking to each school we work with individually to ascertain the best and safest way we can return. We have set the following criteria for our return to schools:

  • The school allows us to return and we are able to comply with their COVID-19 risk assessment criteria.
  • We have undertaken our own risk assessment of the school and their arrangements for instrumental and vocal teaching and are satisfied that it is safe to return to the school.
  • We are able to provide a workable timetable for the teacher(s) going into that school.

We are currently developing our own comprehensive COVID-19 guidance, which will be published on our website before the start of the new school year.

If you have already been enjoying our online tuition and would like to continue in the Autumn term, please contact our excellent Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.

If you wish to start online tuition in the Autumn term, you can register from Monday 20th July via our website: https://www.kent-music.com/music-lessons/

Applications for Financial Assistance for the academic year 2020/21 will be accepted via our Kent Music web page https://www.kent-music.com/financial-assistance/ from Monday 20th July 2020.

I am sure you will appreciate that we are unable at the current time to say how and when we will be re-opening our music centres. Each music centre will be assessed on a venue-by-venue basis using the criteria set out above. We will maintain regular communication with music centre members, with the aim of opening them as soon as we can but only when it is safe to do so. We are currently looking into extending our online ensembles programme in the autumn and will communicate separately about this.

We are planning our 2020-21 County Group courses and Kent Music Summer School on the basis that they will be going ahead as normal. Dates and schedules will be available as soon as venues can be confirmed. Please contact Valerie Cordina at vcordina@kent-music.com if you would like a County Group audition arranged. Auditions may be virtual in the first instance until face-to-face can be safely arranged. It will not be necessary to audition twice – either virtual or face-to-face will be sufficient.

Our over-riding priority is to keep our teachers and students safe and so please be assured that we will not be putting students and teachers back into schools unless we have done everything we can to ensure they will be learning and working in a safe environment.

We have excellent channels of communication with schools throughout the county and will continue to work with them closely over the coming months.

Meanwhile if you have any further questions please refer to the FAQs detailed below. If you have further questions you can contact our excellent customer services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

Keep an eye out for new developments and announcements on our website, and via our monthly newsletter and social media:

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

I want to express thanks from myself and the entire Kent Music team for all your continued and enthusiastic support during this difficult time. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and keeping well, and we will keep you updated as new information is available.

Kind regards

Peter Bolton

Chief Executive

The government guidance for full opening in schools can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

21st May 2020 Update

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

3rd April 2020 Update

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

19th March 2020 Update

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