Making Music (organisation)

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Making Music
Making Music logo.png
Formation February 23, 1935 (1935-02-23)
Type Umbrella arts organisation, Not for profit
Legal status A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales no. 308632. Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 249219 and in Scotland no. SC038849
Purpose To be the leading ally and advocate for voluntary music making
Headquarters 8 Holyrood Street, London, United Kingdom SE1 2EL
  • UK
Key people
Barbara Eifler, Executive Director
Formerly called
National Federation of Music Societies

Making Music (formerly the National Federation of Music Societies) is a UK organisation for voluntary music, with around 3,000 member groups.[1] Its members include choirs, orchestras, music promoters, jazz and wind bands, community festivals, and samba groups, among others.


Making Music aims to be the leading ally and advocate for voluntary music making, and to help communities and individuals flourish through music making.

The organisation believes that there are three principal objectives it needs to fulfil if it is to succeed in its mission and realise its vision. These are:

  • Help members flourish
  • Increase and diversify its membership and the use of its services within the community
  • Undertake wider advocacy[2]


The National Federation of Music Societies (NFMS) was founded in York on 23 February 1935 primarily to support amateur music groups in the wake of the Great Depression. At the time, there was concern about how the economy was affecting professional musicians. Amateur choirs, orchestras and music clubs were struggling to promote concerts and even to survive, and, as a result, they were offering fewer engagements to professional artists. A group of influential musicians decided to create Regional Federations of Music Societies to help amateur choirs and orchestras to exchange information and music, avoid clashes of concert dates and arrange professional artist tours in order to make their events more financially viable. By the end of 1934 there were 11 federations representing 486 societies. In 1935, these federations united to form the NFMS with the support of the Carnegie UK Trust and at the instigation of Frederick Woodhouse of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Sir George Dyson (1883-1964), the first Chairman and President.

Historically they distributed public funding to music societies, beginning in 1935 with those of The Carnegie UK Trust in 1935. When The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) was created, it invited them to allocate funds to larger performing societies and music clubs who were not eligible for support from Carnegie. This role continued when CEMA became the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1945. They stopped administering national funds to amateur music groups in England in 1984, but did continue this practice until 2007 with funds provided at a regional level by some of the English Regional Arts Boards. And in Scotland they continued to provide this role for the Scottish Arts Council until it became Creative Scotland in 2011.

In 2000, the NFMS rebranded to Making Music to reflect the diverse nature of the amateur music sector and its membership.[3]

How it works[edit]

Making Music is a registered charity. They have an office in London and a team of Area Managers who work alongside volunteers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Making Music has seven non-executive directors on its Board of Trustees, who work for the organisation on a voluntary basis, and are responsible for the overall wellbeing of the organisation with the Executive Director, Barbara Eifler.

Making Music has full and part-time members of staff. Most are based in London and look after administration, finance, member services and communications. Making Music also has 3 Area Managers who are based within England, Scotland and Wales. They work alongside a team of volunteers to support the members’ needs with their region or country.[4]

What it does[edit]

Making Music is a membership organisation that offers a comprehensive range of financial, artistic and administrative services as well as development and training opportunities to voluntary music groups. It also campaigns on behalf of the voluntary music sector and its members at a national and local level.

The services offered to members include public liability insurance to cover events and rehearsals, trustees and property; a PRS for Music royalty payment scheme; child protection advice and criminal records checks; discount artists booking schemes; music bank; information sheets on everything from PR and marketing to recruiting a new musical director.

Making Music works to create partnerships with media organisations, musical organisations and charities to develop opportunities for their members. Past and current partnerships include the BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, the Southbank Centre, the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Sound and Music, PRS for Music Foundation, St Martins in the Fields, Sing Up, British Association of Barbershop Singers and Superact.[5]


Making Music runs a range of projects and programmes, with the aim of creating inspiring opportunities for music makers everywhere. Some projects include …

Adopt a Composer[edit]

The Adopt a Composer scheme pairs amateur choirs, orchestras, and ensembles with a composer for one year. It is funded by the PRS for Music Foundation and run by Making Music and Sound and Music.[6][7][8]

Bandstand Marathon[edit]

The Bandstand Marathon was run in partnership with Superact and saw individuals and music groups organise and perform at live music events across the U.K on Sunday 9 September 2012, as part of the largest closing event of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and London 2012 Festival. Events were hosted at 225 bandstands, parks and town centres all over the UK, with approximately 9,000 volunteer performers taking to the stage.[9]

Radio broadcasts[edit]

Making Music regularly partners with Classic FM and BBC Radio 3 to broadcast members' recordings on its primetime programmes. These include Christmas carols, the annual Adopt a Composer commissions and ad hoc broadcasts during the remainder of the year.[10][11]

Jubilate! Jubilee![edit]

Making Music commissioned by Royal Wedding composer Paul Mealor to write Jubilate! Jubilee! in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, to be performed by as many choirs as possible, in the UK and all around the Commonwealth. The music is free to download from the Making Music website and the project is funded by the British Council.

Learn to Sing[edit]

Learn to Sing is a series of singing courses run by Making Music, in partnership with Choir of the Year [12] and the British Association of Barbershop Singers [13]

Making Music Overture[edit]

The Making Music Overture was part of the Cultural Olympiad, launched during Music Nation, a Countdown Event for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. Making Music commissioned Orlando Gough to write the Making Music Overture Traditional Values' with his friend the Guyanese/British poet John Agard, which was performed by Making Music member groups in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.[14] The work was supported with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation and the RVW Trust.[15]


Making Music and Sound Sense are working together to help community development by creating choirs in areas of deprivation around the UK. Eight singing groups have been set up with funding from the Headley Trust and the Rayne Foundation. These are based across the UK, in rural and urban locations, working in villages and housing estates, with a broad mix of the population or with a community of interest such as refugees and asylum seekers.,[16][17]

Voices Now[edit]

An annual celebration of all things singing and choirs at the Roundhouse. On Sunday 4 March 2012, Making Music and the BBC Singers presented a celebratory day of some of the UK's best choirs at the Roundhouse in London. Groups ranging from folk and world to beat-boxing and classical, and from every corner of London and the UK performed throughout the day, following performances given in their local areas on Saturday 3 March. All this activity culminated in a mass performance of Orlando Gough’s Making Music Overture Traditional Values', which was commissioned by Making Music as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. It was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.[18][19]


  1. ^ About Us,, 3/4/2012
  2. ^ Making Music for everyone Archived 2012-09-23 at the Wayback Machine. Making Music Strategic Plan 2011-2015
  3. ^ 75 years of Making Music, Highnotes magazine, Issue 14, September 2010
  4. ^ Our People, 20/09/2012
  5. ^ Partnerships Archived 2012-09-22 at the Wayback Machine., 20/09/2012
  6. ^ Making Music website Archived 2012-10-22 at the Wayback Machine., 20/09/2012
  7. ^ Sound and Music website[permanent dead link], 20/09/2012
  8. ^ PRS for Music website, 20/09/2012
  9. ^ Superact website Archived 2012-09-02 at the Wayback Machine., 21/09/2012
  10. ^ Classic FM broadcast opportunities Archived 2012-08-30 at the Wayback Machine., 21/09/2012
  11. ^ Classic FM website 27/09/2012
  12. ^ Learn to Sing,, 20/09/2012
  13. ^ Sing Barbershop website, 20/09/2012
  14. ^ Daily Telegraph website 27/09/2012
  15. ^ Voluntary Arts website 27/09/2012
  16. ^ Vocality Archived 2012-10-22 at the Wayback Machine.,, 21/09/2012
  17. ^ Headley Trust Annual Report, December 2011, p9
  18. ^ Voices Now Archived 2012-09-04 at the Wayback Machine.,, 21/09/2012
  19. ^ Voices Now website Archived 2012-04-23 at the Wayback Machine., 21/09/2012

External links[edit]