The co-directors of Make Music Day UK, Rob Guest and Paul Gudgin, spoke to us about this annual celebration of musical heritage and diversity, and share resources and ideas for anyone thinking about taking part.

Make Music Day started in France in 1981, but has been embraced by many more countries since then. How would you say Make Music Day UK has made the event its own, but also retained the spirit of the original event?

Make Music Day is a fantastic idea because it's really simple - one day a year for everyone to make their own music. It's now being embraced all over the world, with every country championing their own musical heritage and diversity. In the UK, Make Music Day is a network of independently organised events taking place in communities in every corner of the UK. Some of the events are small and some are huge. Some feature professional musicians and some encourage people to play an instrument for the very first time. What is clear to us is that people love music in the UK, and Make Music Day is an opportunity to share that passion with each other and contribute to this amazing worldwide initiative. The original idea back in 1982 was that music can be everywhere and anywhere, for everyone and anyone, and that idea remains at the heart of the day in the UK.

The pandemic saw many creative groups embrace technology like never before. How would you say Make Music Day UK has changed as a result of that?

The way people embraced technology during the pandemic was remarkable - you would think an entirely online Make Music Day would be impossible, but people learned new skills and really had a go. But people also really missed the closeness and human interaction that is at the heart of music making, so most Make Music Day events are back to being 'in person' and live. Now the skills people developed over lockdown are used to enhance these live events by livestreaming to wider audiences and sharing videos with each other. 

Some people will want to make a big splash with their Make Music Day UK event, while others will need to keep it small. Can you give some examples of how groups and individuals can get involved on a small or large scale?

The range of Make Music Day events is huge. This year, some of the Music Education Hubs are doing some big projects that involve lots of children and young people. Durham Music Service is running their 'Big Play' event on Make Music Day, which they hope will involve 20,000 musicians! Music Partnership North are hosting an event in Newcastle's Vertu Motors Arena featuring ten popular songs about summer and sunshine, arranged for beginner instrumentalists and singers, which will also be livestreamed. It's great to see that so many young people will be involved on such a big scale.

At the other end of the spectrum, activities are taking place in libraries and other public spaces that involve just one musician, or small groups. That's the beauty of Make Music Day - people can take part in a way that suits them.

What resources can people find on the Make Music UK website to help them get involved in the day?

The Resources page on our website offers loads of support for people thinking about putting on a Make Music Day event. We have downloadable posters and images to help people to promote their event, advice on some event management basics (such as how to hire a venue), and guides on getting the most out of social media. We also run online sessions for people to ask questions and receive advice. 

And finally, why should people make this a regular date in their diary and get involved - either as a participant or viewer?

Imagine a day of live music playing out in every community in the country, showcasing the diverse breadth of talent and passion for music that this country is renowned for, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people, all for free, supported by the whole of the music industry. A musical version of ‘World Book Day’ but reaching people of all ages, uniting the professional, amateur, and education sectors to celebrate what we have in common and speak loudly about the passion we all share for music as performers, participants or audiences - that’s what we think Make Music Day could be. 

Music can bring people together, inspire people, celebrate diversity and everyday creativity, support economic activity and connect you to people across the world. Make Music Day is an opportunity for everyone to be part of that on one very special day.