Make Music Day 2020

This time last year, the Music Library team were busy planning and preparing to take part in their first Make Music Day of all-day live music sessions in Central Library. This year things are a bit different. We hand over to Douglas from the Music Library to tell you how Make Music Day will be celebrated later this month.

Douglas with other members of the Music Library team on Make Music Day 2019

Make Music Day is an annual worldwide celebration of live music making, this year will obviously be a bit different, with practically all of the performances being either recorded and broadcast online or live streamed on one of the many social media platforms.

With Make Music Day fast approaching. We thought we would try and highlight some of the ways you could get involved.

There are three main different strands to how you can be involved on the day or in the lead up to Make Music Day on 21 June: Perform, Create, Watch.

The starting point to any of the mentioned strands – Perform, Create, Watch – should be a visit to the Make Music Day website: Once there, depending on how you wish to be involved in the day, there are many guides and pointers on what to do.

If you are a music fan and wish to pack your Sunday 21 June with live streamed performances, Make Music Day’s website has an interactive event map, with a list of all the performances available on the day and links to join them.

If, for the past few months you have been locked down and are looking for new ways to entertain yourself and the folks you may be locked down with, apart from watching, you could take part by joining the virtual choir in a performance of Auld Lang Syne. You can also find instructions for how to make your own various musical instruments courtesy of Bang The Trash!

If you had hoped to perform, either at the library or somewhere else in Edinburgh on the day, there are many ways to do that and again, the Make Music Day website has many useful hints how to achieve that. For those of you like me, not particularly adept with technology, there are many ways to put your performance out there. All the social media platforms have a live element and although that might be something quite daunting it is not to be feared – pressing the LIVE button does not take you LIVE immediately, they all ask a second or even third question to confirm you are ready to go.

The decision on which platform to use, depends on who you wish to reach. Certain platforms may have a different demographic mostly based on age and how people consume their media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have pros and cons and all are fairly simple to use.

If you are in a band or group and wish to practise social distancing, there is a program called Streamyards which allows users to appear on the same screen at the same time  but not in the same room.

Once you have a lot of all this set up you could also look at Make Music Day’s official  Facebook Frames and Twibbons to frame your performance. Don’t forget to include the Make Music Day hashtag (#MakeMusicDayUK) and tag Central Library (@edcentrallib) and Make Music Day (@MakeMusicDayUK) so that we can help promote your event in advance.

If you or your group already have a Facebook page and followers there then that might be the best place for your performance. Facebook allows you to schedule a recorded performance or put on a live performance. The same can be said about Twitter and Instagram. You may wish to think about using either YouTube or one of the meeting platforms like Zoom or Jitsi. YouTube has a ‘Creator Academy’ training area which is a great resource. Zoom might serve your purposes but bear in mind that there is a 40 minute time limit on the free version which may limit what you want to do.

Now that you have sorted how to stream your event and on what platform you are going to appear, you should put some thought to the performance. It goes without saying but I’m going to say it now anyway – be prepared, rehearse well and as often as you can. Think about where you are going to perform and how it is going to sound.

Some top tips for making a video:

  • Use a tripod
  • Frame the subject
  • Consider your lighting.

If you don’t have a tripod, something like a music stand might do. Some phone cases or tablet cases turn into stands, which could also be useful. Don’t stand or sit in front of a window as you might end up backlit.

Tips for ensuring good sound quality:

  • Using a phone, tablet or laptop is quick and easy, but the sound can be variable depending on the surroundings and how many players, singers you have round the device. The microphones on devices tend to be Omni directional, recording everything in a radius around the device. The sound loudest or closest to the device may overpower everything else. A separate directional microphone many be preferred.
  • USB microphones can be fairly inexpensive
  • Use a quiet space
  • If you are unable to get hold of a microphone before the day, a pair of headphones or a small speaker can be used as a microphone but check this first as the quality may be no better than your phone or tablet’s microphone
  • Check how it sounds a few times before the real event. Try a few test recordings.

Tips for promotion of your event:

  • List your event at the Make Music Day website
  • List your event wherever they are still providing local events listings
  • Advertise and schedule posts across your social media channels
  • Tell as many people as you can – word of mouth is still a big part of promotion
  • Design a flyer or poster to put up wherever you can. is a great free website for with loads of useful templates for creating eye-catching posters and flyers.

If the music you are planning to perform is not your own you will have to check out the copyright and/or whether you are covered by Performing Right Society (PRS).  One or two of the social media platforms have blanket PRS licence but check all this out before you start.

You could Make Music for Macmillan. Edinburgh Libraries are hosts to Macmilllan Cancer Support with information and support hubs in four of our libraries. If you register your event with Macmillan, you can then ask any attendees to think about making a donation. All events for Make Music Day should be free as that is one of the mainstays of the day, but it is quite within the spirit of the day to suggest a charity to donate the equivalent of a ticket price to.

Make Music Day session in Central Lending Library, 2019


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