The ISM responds to the government’s announcement that indoor live performances can resume on August 1 with socially distanced audiences

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has published (15 July) a global study which reviews the current research concerning COVID-19 transmission in the performance and music education space. The study was commissioned by the ISM to collate the extensive available information, provide further clarity on the transmission pathways of COVID-19, and to share this knowledge with the wider music community.

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive said:

‘We welcome that the government is developing the evidence base on the risks associated with singing, brass and woodwind instruments. This is crucial for getting musicians and music professionals safely back to work.

‘However, with conflicting views regarding the level of risk in different settings and gaps in the available evidence, the ISM commissioned a global study to review the current research concerning COVID-19 transmission in the performance and music education space. The purpose of this document is not to give guidance but rather to bring together the wide amount of available information and share it with the rest of the music community.

‘We are pleased with the outcome of this critical piece of research, which suggests that there is much to be learned from other countries and a range of behaviours that will minimise the risk of transmission.


Notes to editors

  • The literature review was written by Kathryn Williams and Dr Jodie Underhill. The study commenced on 19 June 2020 and was completed on 11 July 2020.
  • The literature review explores COVID-19, transmission and risk management in both the performance and music education space. The first section focuses on COVID-19 issues in relation to performance and covers aerosol transmissions, instrument hygiene as well as issues relating to choirs and ensembles. The second section looks at the music education space and transmission with reference to children and young people and the mitigation measures for music education that countries have taken across the globe. Read the full report.
  • The ISM has sent the literature review to both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education(DfE) as a resource for their development of further guidance on different risks associated with singing, brass and woodwind and how to mitigate them.
  • The ISM undertakes research into all areas of interest for the music sector. This year we released reports on the impact of Brexit on musicians, as well as a report on the current UK immigration system and the impact it has on musicians travelling to the UK from outside of the EEA (European Economic Area). Read the full report at ism.org/reports.

      About the ISM

      The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

      We support approximately 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

      We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.For more information, please contact [email protected].