Corona advice for musicians

This page has been created to be a central source of support and advice for all musicians during the coronavirus period. We will update regularly as the situation develops.

Government advice

Coronavirus guidance and support

Read the very latest Government updates, guidance and advice here.

health
advice

If you are feeling unwell

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

mental health and wellbeing

Public Health England guidance on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Business
support

Bounce Back Loans scheme

Small businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 as part of a 100% government backed loan scheme. The first 12 months of the loan are interest free.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employees or PAYE zero hour contract workers could be entitled to the Job Retention Scheme. Employees placed on temporary leave known as furlough could receive 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme is now live.

Furlough scheme extended to end of October

Workers furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500

HMRC Tax Helpline

HMRC’s tax helpline offers advice for businesses and self employed people concerned about their tax payments due to coronavirus. If you’re unable to pay, HMRC can discuss payment plans, suspending debt collection and cancelling penalties and interest when administrative issues arise.

8.00 to 20.00 Mon – Fri, 8.00 to 16.00 Sat, closed Bank Holidays.

SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME

The UK Government’s income support scheme for self employed and freelance workers. From June, if you’re self employed you may be eligible for a taxable grant of 80% of your average trading profits, in a single instalment of up to £7,500.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary measures to support businesses across the UK through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19, including SMEs.

across
the UK

Wales

Find out about support available for individuals and organisations in the creative and culture sector in Wales

This Fund is now paused following a very large number of applications. The Welsh Government is currently considering what further support businesses, charities and social enterprises need. We will update the site with further details in due course.

scotland

8.30 to 17.30 Mon – Fri

Grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, with recipients receiving funding in early May.

northern ireland

NI Executive offer one-off grants of £10,000 to businesses currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief

Advice is also available from:

Money worries

Financial
hardship

We strongly recommend that you follow current government advice and apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

Help musicians

The Health and Welfare team offers structured support to professional musicians in times of personal crisis. Our approach is person-centred; building tailored support around an individual’s specific needs. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, Help Musicians is unable to replace lost earnings. But we are able to provide financial support in cases of significant financial hardship as well as signposting for debt or welfare related issues.

Help Musicians Coronavirus Hardship Fund Phase Two

Help Musicians’ second wave of hardship support will help those ineligible for government emergency safety nets or unable to survive on what they receive. 

This support initiative is targeted at self-employed musicians who do not qualify for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and other unemployed musicians who are experiencing significant financial hardship.

For those who are eligible, to the extent that funds allow, the charity will offer grant payments for the period 1 June to 31 October, to top up Universal Credit payments where relevant. Where an applicant does not qualify for Universal Credit but is still experiencing significant financial hardship, an assessment will be made based on individual circumstances.

To enable us to assess eligibility in the most efficient manner, applicants will choose one of three application routes depending on their individual circumstances:

  • Route 1: I am accepted or applying for Universal Credit
  • Route 2: I am not eligible for Universal Credit but am experiencing significant financial hardship
  • Route 3: I have complex needs that go beyond financial hardship and would like to speak with a caseworker

We do not have the capacity to offer all musicians all the financial support they require. We strongly urge you to apply for Universal Credit if this is a viable option for you – not only will it provide vital funds but it will speed up our assessment of your circumstances.

The application process for this new fund will begin on Friday 5 June 2020. Read more about this phase of support on our site here.

The initial £5m Help Musicians Coronavirus Hardship Fund received well in excess of 17,000 applications and is no longer accepting any new applications. This fund was launched quickly to provide immediate financial relief to musicians while Government support options were revealed. We recognise that musicians’ needs during the Coronavirus crisis continue to evolve and our hardship funding has been designed to support those most in need.

ISM

Musicians’ Union

Various membership organisations operate their own benevolent funds:

Other sources of useful
financial assistance & advice

Debt
advice

Debt advice and support

Advice about business related debts

Advice in Response to Closure of West End and Regional Theatres

Contractual Issues and Income Loss

GLA PAY IT FORWARD LONDON

GLA is offering 100% free fundraising to help small businesses stay afloat by pre-selling vouchers, goods and services to clients and customers.

INSURANCE

ISM LEGAL SUPPORT

If you are an ISM member, you can contact the in-house legal team via legal@ism.org. Please include your membership number and supporting documents (contracts, correspondence etc) for review.

ISM offer specific legal advice for members working in the following areas

MU FUTURE LIVE PERFORMANCE AGREEMENTS

Three vital points to look out for in rescheduled gig contracts

music education resources

The ISM has collated a selection of online learning resources for primary, secondary and instrumental learning. Many are free or discounted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Musicians’ Union supports National Education Union’s five tests for Government before schools can reopen  

Latest guidance from the MU for self-employed, employed and zero-hour teachers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Advice from the MU on teaching groups online

self employment income support scheme

UK Music advice to businesses on coronavirus

UK Music has collated advice for music businesses affected by the impact of coronavirus 

Working in theatre

Health issues

Help Musicians

The Health and Welfare team offers structured support to professional musicians in times of personal crisis. Our approach is person-centred; building tailored support around an individual’s specific needs. We provide financial assistance for health interventions and access to music specialist health assessments for performance related health issues.

BAPAM

BAPAM is a specialist healthcare charity giving medical advice to performing arts professionals and students. Their expert clinicians understand the demands of a performing arts career and can help with problems including work-related injuries and pain, tension, voice problems, hypermobility, performance or career-related anxiety and other psychological issues. BAPAM clinicians are from a range of backgrounds including general practice, physiotherapy, psychology, osteopathy, rheumatology, and orthopaedics.

BAPAM is offering a series of free online training sessions for musicians covering a range of performance health issues.
Click here for details

staying healthy

Sport and Exercise Nutritionist James Collins writes for ISM on looking after your health during lockdown.

How to set up a home work station to avoid back pain.

Mental health

Immediate
help

music minds matter

A free, confidential, around the clock helpline run by Help Musicians for the entire music industry. Whatever you do in music and whatever you’re going through right now, contact Music Minds Matter for a listening ear.

music support

A support service and helpline for anyone in the music industry suffering from alcoholism, addiction, emotional or mental health issues.

Information and guidance for musicians including details of Music Support services and links to further health and wellbeing resources

ISM

A 24 hour helpline for ISM members. Counselling (telephone and face to face) can also be arranged through the support line.

Mind

For urgent help and support. Plus advice on how to support others. 

emergency numbers

Resources

ArtsMinds

ArtsMinds brings together resources for performers and creative practitioners facing mental health issues. The ArtsMinds website is a collaboration between BAPAM, Equity, Spotlight and The Stage.

BAPAM mental health resources

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, BAPAM has created a page of mental health resources for those in need of immediate help as well as ongoing support and advice.

Coping with Change

Read Psychotherapist Helen Brice’s blog post for Help Musicians on the link between change and anxiety, and how mindfulness can help.

CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR WELLBEING

Helpful information from mental health charity Mind on looking after your wellbeing during the outbreak.

MENTAL WELL-BEING IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC

MUSIC INDUSTRY THERAPISTS & COACHES

Available as a free download from the MITC website.

PRS Members’ Fund – looking after your mental health

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, PRS Members’ Fund has created a downloadable guide to self care and good mental health

THRIVE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING PHONE APP

The NHS approved Thrive app offers 24/7 mental health and wellbeing support as well as help with early detection, prevention and management of common mental health disorders. Thrive’s partnership with Music Support offers 1,000 free download codes for the app available through Music Support’s website here.

Help Musicians’ partnership with Music Support also offers free access to the Thrive app for 4,500 musicians. Click here for more information.

Creative development

Help Musicians

Every year, Help Musicians give grants, provide opportunities and offer advice to talented musicians.

Help Musicians’ Funding Wizard – a quick way to find funding opportunities relevant to you.

Arts Council England

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

A funding programme to support artists and performers during the COVID-19 crisis. The Artists Emergency Programme (AEP), worth £500,000, offers freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £5,000 each.

Creative Scotland

Three new funding programmes launched to further support Scotland’s creative community during the outbreak

Arts Council of Wales

PRS Foundation

Free tools and resources for musicians

ism advice pack: How to connect with a digital audience

CMU’s Chris Cooke tackles the world of streaming, music rights and finding an audience once your music is online. ISM members can access this online resource here

Practice videos with the Stringcredibles

Bitesize videos for all players to help you stay connected to your practice and performance at home.

Working online

Copyright: Where you stand as an online musician

Practical advice which considers some of the copyright implications involved in moving to an online teaching or performing environment.

How to put on online concerts & gigs

Advice on setting up, promoting and monetising online performances.

How to work remotely as a musician

Advice blog from Audrey Riley, cellist, composer and ICMP music tutor on how to adapt your practice as a musician for remote working during the lockdown period.

Digital Culture Network

Arts Council England’s Digital Culture Network helps artists and organisations develop digital skills and find new ways to reach and engage audiences.
Read about the resources, events and support available here

teaching music online

livestreaming

how to earn from livestreaming

RECORDING FROM HOME

Trumpet player and contractor Paul Spong of Music Creation talks about working remotely as a session musician and getting the right set up to record at home.

Musician Charlie Glover-Wright explains what you’ll need to start recording music at home.

Setting up for online performance

social media tips for musicians in lockdown

Other helpful information

Recording session safety during the outbreak

8 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR CAREER THROUGH RADIO DURING LOCKDOWN

advice for parents on working from home

AMA FREE WEBINARS FOR CREATIVES

Creative Industries Federation (regular updates)

GUIDANCE FOR MUSICIANS ON HOUSING

HOW TO REACH FANS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PERIOD

ISM (Regular Updates)

ivors academy

MU survey identifies key gaps in government support for self employed workers

MPG guidelines on reopening recording studios and production rooms safely

MPG petition for more support for self employed members

MU offer Online Meditation courses

Next steps: picturing possibilities for the return to work.

uk music