Research undertaken by LJMU academic, Dr Simone Krüger Bridge, has investigated how Liverpool Cathedral’s music outreach programme, one of the vastest in the UK, helped people through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Krüger Bridge is a Reader in Music within the School of Humanities and Social Science, and her research has since 2019 focused on the value of music. She believes that music is a powerful tool for personal, intellectual, social, psychological, and educational development and wellbeing for children and adults.
When the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown in March 2020, Liverpool Cathedral's School of Music switched most music outreach activities to online delivery so that they could continue to provide vital personal, emotional and social support to its many participants and their families.
Dr Krüger Bridge commented: “I was immediately supported by Liverpool Cathedral to launch a concentrated programme of in-depth empirical research to explore the social value of the Cathedral’s online music outreach programme during 2020-2021.”
The research asked questions about the social value of online music participation and involved both online questionnaire and zoom interviews with many adult participants, including parents of infants, babies and young children.
Through these discussions Dr Krüger Bridge found that online music participation really did positively help those who took part.
The research culminated in a substantial report, titled The Digital Turn: Exploring the Social Value of Liverpool Cathedral's Online Music Outreach Programme during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
It illustrates Liverpool Cathedral's online music outreach portfolio and its wide-ranging value—socially, culturally, educationally and in terms of health and wellbeing—for its participants during the pandemic.
Stephen Mannings, Director of Music at Liverpool Cathedral, commented: “Simone's research helped us gain insight into the reward that our programme gave participants of all ages, in the most challenging of times. This insight has helped us steer what we do now as we’ve slowly returned to more normal methods of operating, albeit retaining many digital engagement methods to enhance what we do.”
Tara Delve, who leads Teeny Maestros music sessions aimed at infants, babies and toddlers, commented: “We are so honoured to have been involved in the research study. We know first-hand how important the online classes were during lockdown, for us as much as the participants, but it’s so amazing to have this recognized in an academic paper. Dr Krueger Bridge spoke to loads of parents from our groups about their experiences and also attended some of our Cathedral sessions to observe how we work.”
Image: Dr Simone Krüger Bridge and Mr Stephen Mannings, Director of Music at Liverpool Cathedral, during the research presentation in the Lady Chapel on 12 July 2022
The report was formally launched during a research presentation, held onTuesday 12 July 2022 at the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel, which was also livestreamed on Liverpool Cathedral's Facebook page.
Dr Krüger Bridge added: “In the research presentation, I wished to acknowledge the important work conducted by Liverpool Cathedral’s music staff during these difficult times. They provided much-needed support and real hope to people suffering the negative consequences of the pandemic.”
Stephen added: “A brilliant night and most excellent report. Thank you for carrying out this research.”