Adaptation Series - Concerteenies with Polly Ives
Following the Partner support session with schools, Create Sheffield met again with its Partners and a few other brilliant cultural practitioners on the 29th July to ask how they had changed their practice to respond to the Covid-19 situation, what innovations they were proud of, and what had been successful enough to repeat. Here is what Polly Ives had to say:
I am a freelance musician (cellist, music workshop leader, concert presenter, teacher trainer) working with various organisations including London Philharmonic Orchestra, Music in the Round, London Mozart Players and nurseries and schools across Sheffield and the UK.
I also set up my own business in 2017, called Concerteenies, which in normal times is a live concert series for 0-5 year olds and their families. I run several series at the Crucible with Music in the Round, Greystones Backroom, Whirlow Spirituality Centre and Kommune. I’ve also run pop-ups including at Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Libraries, Tetley in Leeds, Hepworth in Wakefield and run a 0-5s marquee at the Folk Forest and lots more…
So, my main aim is to provide audiences with top quality music, performed up-close by highly renowned musicians, in exciting cultural or leisure venues, with highly engaging props and percussion, with an opportunity to participate, meet and relax with friends and new people…
So Lockdown has given us a huge challenge to achieve anything like what we were doing before. Another thing I’m particularly aware of, as a performer, I’m used to turning up to a concert venue or a recording studio and everything (other than the music) is done by other people – lighting, sound, filming, editing, marketing, social media etc.
So, again it’s been really challenging and a huge learning curve. It’s certainly dragged me into the 21st century! But I’m reminding myself every day that this experimental and creative period has got to be a positive development for future direction that my work goes.
How have you changed your practice to respond to the Covid-19 situation?
One of the first things I did was sort out my YouTube channel – at the start of lockdown I had 25 subscribers, I now have 510.
I enrolled two wonderful people Hannah and Will to help me – particularly on filming, editing and social media.
I started organising Home Concerts with live musicians from their own homes. 30 minutes concerts via YouTube.
I have been filming lots of Musical Activities for home learning
I have recently launched a 24-Hour Soundtrack for families with 0-5 year olds; short films, performed by musicians from around the world, that represent each hour of the day in a ‘typical’ day and links to creative activities.
I’ve tried various new social media initiatives – including launching a competition for people to share the YouTube and Facebook page and the winner gets a private Concerteenies in their garden.
I’ve performed with my trio at some care homes with Age Better and SYHA, which we will do a lot more of in future.
Concerteenies is now a partner with Twinkl, working to create more music resources for teachers and parents around the world. This is something I’ve been interested in pursuing before but never had the time.
What innovation are you most proud of and why?
- The very fact that my business is actually functioning online at all is incredible when people who know me, know I’m a real techno dinosaur!
- I’m incredibly proud and grateful to Hannah Jones and Will Ives for what they have achieved.
- I am really proud of the 24-Hour Soundtrack but need to work on getting it out to more people.
What has been successful enough to repeat?
- Short musical films (if I can find ways to fund it). It has the potential to engage so many more people in classical music than my live concerts could.
- Performances in care homes (and possibly intergenerational sessions).
- Working in partnership with other organisations and businesses.
- Social media initiatives.