by Author MAC Makes Music

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MAC Makes Music: Virtual Open Mic

Hosting Open Mic sessions online has helped us meet new participants who are keen to share their music without the pressure of performing live.

Our Virtual Open Mic has been a real highlight of the MAC Makes Music calendar over the last few months. Using Zoom has meant that our young musicians can share their performances in whichever form they feel comfortable. Some people have chosen to sing or rap to a backing track, others have shared pre-recorded videos, there have been guitar solos, an energetic song and dance routine, and one participant played us an audio recording of a piece of classical music he had composed for an orchestra. Despite the occasional technical issue, coming together online has led to some really varied sessions. Each participant brings a different style of music and a different level of ability and confidence, so everyone helps to support and encourage each other.

We had held Open Mic sessions for young people with additional needs before the pandemic in MAC’s Hexagon Theatre. Although it was great for participants to use a professional performance space, the emphasis was on performing live. Since we’ve started hosting these events on Zoom, we’ve opened up to a wider audience, including those who don’t feel ready to perform live but would still like to be part of the group and share their pre-recorded music. Our Virtual Open Mic sessions have now become listening parties for our young people to take part in whichever way they would like, in a safe and supportive environment.

Participants are encouraged to give each other feedback, which has been one of the biggest positives of these events. The varied interests of the group have meant the young people have been given opportunities to listen to styles of music they may not have heard before. Their reflections and recommendations have helped give them confidence and inspiration to explore their music further. There has even been talk of future collaborations between participants.

Our Virtual Open Mic will be running on the first Saturday of every month at 2-3.30pm on Zoom. We are limited to 6 participants each session, but if you know of any young people aged 13-25 with additional needs and who would like to share a performance, please encourage them to sign up. The details can be found on our website: