Incorporated Society of Musicians

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Incorporated Society of Musicians
Founded 1882
Country United Kingdom
Key people Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive; Richard Hallam MBE, President 13/14; Professor Barry Ife CBE, President 14/15
Office location London

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and subject association for music.

The ISM is a wholly independent non profit-making organisation.


The ISM has nearly 6,500 members, who come from all branches of the profession – performers and composers working in a variety of different disciplines and genres; private, peripatetic and classroom music teachers; academics, advisers, music managers, music technology professionals, music therapists, and music administrators.[1]

There are also other levels of membership for students and those just starting out in the profession as well as for bodies such as schools, conservatoires and orchestras and those who want to support the organisation.


Services range from legal advice from the in-house legal team to insurance cover which includes public and employer’s liability insurance, legal expenses insurance and 24 hour legal, tax and counselling helplines.



The ISM campaigns and lobbies stakeholders to protect the interests of the music profession and to make sure the views of members, the music industry and the arts and education sectors are made known to policy makers. Recent campaigns include:

Protect Music Education[edit]

In 2013 the ISM launched a cross-sector campaign to call for confirmed funding for music education hubs from 2015. The current level of funding provides critical support for music education in England.[2]

Bacc for the Future[edit]

The ISM led a successful campaign to secure the place of music in the English Baccalaureate as part of a sixth pillar of creative and cultural subjects. The campaign achieved nearly 50,000 signatures to a petition and support from over 110 organisations. On 7 February 2013 the Government withdrew its EBC proposals and introduced a new performance measure for schools that will include creative subjects.[3]

Instruments on Planes[edit]

An ongoing campaign to help musicians travel by air with confidence, taking fragile, hand-held instruments in the cabin as part of hand baggage allowance.[4] easyJet announced a more musician-friendly hand baggage policy following discussions with the ISM.[5]


The ISM holds memberships with many industry bodies, including the British Copyright Council, Council for Subject Associations,[6] Creative Coalition Campaign, Creators' Rights Alliance, Educational Recording Agency, Music Education Council, National Campaign for the Arts and the National Music Council.


In 1976 The ISM established the Distinguished Musician Award to acknowledge outstanding contributions to British musical life. Recipients have included: Malcolm Arnold, Janet Baker, Sarah Connolly, Pierre Boulez, Adrian Boult, Julian Bream, Janet Craxton, Peter Maxwell Davies, Colin Davis, Norman Del Mar, Jacqueline du Pré, Mark Elder, James Galway, Alexander Gibson, Evelyn Glennie, Reginald Goodall, Charles Groves, Christopher Hogwood, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, George Malcolm, John McCabe, Antonio Pappano, Peter Pears, Simon Rattle, John Stephens, Michael Tippett, William Walton, Fanny Waterman, Judith Weir and David Willcocks.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "ISM: what we do". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Protect Music Education". Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Bacc for the Future". Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Instruments on planes". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Music to their ears". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Council for Subject Associations: ISM". Retrieved 24 October 2012.