Severn Arts – creating an online performance


We asked Min Sowden, Marketing and Communications Manager at Severn Arts to write us a blog on what they did for Make Music Day 2020 and how they rose to the challenge under COVID-19. Read on for the Severn Arts story and fantastic video creations!

Severn Arts is a cultural charity based in Worcestershire.  We provide music education in and outside of school, run an arts development programme supported by the County Council and manage and deliver a Festival programme funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

For over 60 years our team of music teachers have been providing music education to young people across Worcestershire and this includes setting up opportunities to perform in front of an audience.

We had always planned to take part in Make Music Day this year having spotted it as a great way of potentially getting our young performers in front of national/international audience. What we hadn’t planned for was taking our performances online and this was a big learning curve for us.

Severn Arts is part of West Midlands Music and luckily for us the West Midlands Music collective had staged ‘The Big Play’ – a major online celebration of music making, and we were able to follow the same procedure the group had adopted back in March.

Our idea was to invite everyone across Worcestershire to send us a video (no more than 90 seconds long) of them performing a piece of music on the theme of #MusicAtHome. Our promise back was that we would make sure we shared it on our social media channels as part of the Make Music Day UK celebrations. We also added in an optional challenge to use the film creation as an opportunity to fundraise.

Our messages obviously hit mark – on 12 June we had 85 wonderful videos to process! Download, upload, label, add a picture, write message, tag and schedule! This did take quite a bit of time but by Saturday lunchtime on 20 June we were ready to join in with the Make Music Day celebrations. On the day we put out 64 Facebook posts reaching over 10,000 and 66 tweets resulting in 14,000 impressions and our videos were viewed around 500 times. We were delighted with how the day went but were especially pleased with the messages we received from parents.

Would we do it again? Yes, definitely but we would build in more admin time, get our musicians, parents, teachers and schools more involved so that we could increase the level of engagement and put our wonderful performers in front of more people. And we would invest in a more sophisticated scheduling tool to take away some of the stress on the day.  But it was brilliant to be part of and I definitely feel as though we have up-skilled as a result.

You can watch all our #MusicAtHome videos on our YouTube channel and please email me if you would like more information about what we did and how we did it.

– Min Sowden, Marketing and Communications Manager, Severn Arts

Visit the Severn Arts website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.