Three members of the jazz community, all good friends of LJN – Matt Fripp, Emily Saunders and Phil Meadows – are responding to the pandemic in the deeply positive and instinctively community-building way that jazz musicians do, writes Rosa Sawer. Each of them has launched an interesting initiative concerned with highlighting and building awareness of the problems caused by a shutdown in activity, and the need for further action, at both grassroots and government level, and has done it in a joined-up and deeply positive way.
JazzFuel recently published the comprehensive International Jazz Musician Survey of 266 professional jazz musicians from across the globe, to determine the difficulties faced specifically by this industry not just at the moment, but also in the future.
Amongst other concerning results, the survey found that “55% of jazz musicians surveyed said they had no live performances scheduled for 2021.”
With the average musician’s optimism for the jazz scene in the next 12 months being rated as 4.2 out of 10, the pessimism is perhaps not surprising when 56% of participants’ income comes from live concerts. The average musician surveyed had 35.5 performances cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. During this time, jazz musicians have had to be incredibly adaptable – with or without the help of their government. Moving their performances onto a digital platform has proved a popular alternative with 49% of all surveyed musicians having performed a livestream concert since lockdown. Matt Fripp says “musicians are constantly reinventing themselves and evolving as both performers and entrepreneurs.”
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Another survey is being undertaken by the digital platform Connects Music (including JazzConnects), created to collate information and understanding of how performers, composers and music educators are being affected by the loss of live performance. Creator of ConnectsMusic.com, Emily Saunders explains “As a performer, composer myself who looks towards a financially bleak 2021, this comprehensive UK survey directly demonstrates an in-depth understanding of how we’re being impacted in these tough times. We need as many people as possible to fill this out and help spread the word, as for lobbying we need stats – the anonymous information of real-life experiences that we’re all going through is really needed.” Supported by The Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy, the outcome will further identify needs for support structures from the government and funding bodies. The link to the survey can be found below for any artist to anonymously share their experience.
LINK: #ArtsNeedStats #Artists4Artists ConnectsMusic Covid19 Impact Survey
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#MakeMusicWork, the campaign partnership between Musicians’ Movement and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), has received an impressive list of 1,200 signatories in support of petitioning the government to follow two key routes to get the creative industries safely back to work.
The first is the Freelance Performers Support Scheme to “help musicians return to live performances in COVID-secure spaces, with a guaranteed minimum fee for freelancers, and scalable grants that give promoters and venues the confidence to programme events by paying out regardless of local lockdowns”.
And the second makes changes to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, “to provide a tailored safety net for musicians who cannot work while venues remain closed due to government safety restrictions”. The open letter provides tangible evidence not only of the great need for implementing changes that put musicians first, but also of how music will always unite people in a common goal.
Managing Directors of Musicians’ Movement, Phil Meadows & Christopher Barrett said: “#MakeMusicWork represents the overwhelming consensus in the arts sector that freelancers are the bedrock of our industry. These principles have the potential to reunite local communities whilst simultaneously supporting creators, performers and venues.”