Music making has so many proven therapeutic benefits, particularly when you share it with others

If you make music, whether it's in a band, orchestra, choir or any kind of amateur group, becoming a member of Making Music could bring all kinds of benefits, says Membership & Operations Director, Ben Saffell.

How would you describe Making Music and what it does?

"Making Music is the UK’s membership organisation for leisure-time music groups. We represent over 3,800 groups and 220,000 music makers of all levels of experience, across all musical genres.

We support the unsung heroes who run these groups – from symphony orchestras to community choirs, jazz bands to local festivals – by providing them with practical services, guidance, artistic development opportunities and a collective voice for lobbying.

We help them run their groups, so they can get on with making music!"

Who can join Making Music?

"Group membership is open to any leisure-time music making or promoter group, regardless of repertoire or size. To apply to be a full member you need a constitution that establishes your musical aims and that you are a not-for-profit group. If you don’t have a constitution, we can help you to adopt one, or you can choose to become an associate member instead."

How much does it cost?

"Membership starts at £98 and depends on the annual income of your group. We offer discounts of up to 50% for groups formed in the last six months, youth groups and groups that are already members of our affiliate partners."

What are the benefits of joining Making Music?

"There are lots! Including:

  • Access to very competitive insurance designed for music groups, including public liability;
  • PRS fee collection scheme, taking the hassle out of royalty payments;
  • Access to hundreds of online resources including guidance on access and inclusion, dealing with copyrighted music and templates for governance, contracts and safeguarding and much more;
  • Online meetups and events on key topics such as increasing your income and recruiting members, plus special guest speaker events;
  • Project opportunities such as our Adopt a Music Creator scheme including the possibility of radio broadcast, and the chance to enter for our leisure-time music awards;
  • Regular news and updates from the sector by email, social media and our exclusive Highnotes member magazine;
  • Being part of a wider community – we connect groups with each other through our events and advocate on their behalf to policymakers on the topics that matter to them;

 . . . and if you need one-to-one guidance, we have a team with lots of experience on the phone and email to support you!"

How do you feel it benefits people to play music with others in a group?

"Engaging in music making has so many proven therapeutic benefits, particularly when you share it with others, either in rehearsal or at a performance. It connects people with a shared goal, alleviates loneliness, encourages collaboration and problem-solving, and it gives people an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and expand their perspective."

Covid has been particularly hard for music groups, in what ways has Making Music helped them through this difficult time?

"We helped our members get to grips with livestreaming software and video/audio troubleshooting, as well as how to stay together as a group online.

We moved all our events online, adding even more to support music groups throughout the pandemic, including member meetups to connect them with each other and hear about the latest developments on the pandemic, and guest speaker events on key topics.

To help groups understand what the guidance in each nation means for them at every stage of the pandemic, we have created a whole host of online resources, from an interactive tool to risk assessment guidance and templates for rehearsals and performances.

We ran a series of virtual concerts, showcasing the wonderful variety of music that groups were making online despite the pandemic, from all corners of the UK nations. We introduced new awards such as Group Hero to celebrate and champion music groups and the people that work with them.

Working with the Association of British Choir Directors, we launched the WellRehearsed app to anonymously report and track Covid infections within music groups, which was a vital step to get accurate data to help us give guidance on how to make music safely. We also lobbied the government for clearer guidance and spoke up on behalf of the leisure-time music sector."

If people are interested in joining a music group near them, can you help with that? And if somebody used to play music but hasn't for some time, how would you encourage them to return to playing and join a group?

"We offer a free 'Find a music group' listing on our website, which allows you to find the music group of your dreams depending on what type of group, repertoire or location you’re after:  

Music groups are friendly and welcoming, so reach out to a local group you find interesting - perhaps ask to sit in during one of their rehearsals to see if it would be a good fit for you. Music is a lifelong adventure, and it’s never too late to get back into it!"

How can people get in touch and find out more?

"Our website is and has all the information you need. You can also call the membership team on 020 7939 6030 or e-mail them at [email protected] with any specific questions."

[Credits: main photo Baque de Axe; Middle: South London Jazz Orchestra; Bottom: Wessex Male Choir]