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Help PiPA Understand the Lived Experience of Classical Musicians With Parenting and/or Caring Responsibilities

MU members working in the classical sector are encouraged to engage with Parents and Carers in Performing Arts’ (PiPA) focus groups and help shape their future work.

Published: 13 May 2021 | 5:52 PM
Photograph of two parents cradling a tiny baby. The mother is holding the baby in her arms, the father has his hands on the baby and a soft cloth slung over his shoulder.
This study will identify specific challenges and opportunities within the sector. Photo credit: NappyStock

PiPA is running a series of focus groups in partnership with Association of British Orchestras, Help Musicians UK, the MU, Liverpool Philharmonic and SWAP’ra to better understand the lived experience of classical musicians, composers, singers and conductors who also have parental and/or caring responsibilities.

This study will identify specific challenges and opportunities within the sector, and will help us create a sector-wide survey focussing on practical strategies that organisations can develop to support parents and carers. They hope this survey will be live in Autumn 2021.

Our Head of Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion John Shortell explained why the study is such an important initiative:

“As we start to reopen the music industry it is really important for us to understand the challenges of being a musician and a parent or carer and how those challenges have changed because of the pandemic.

“PiPA’s work helps us as a sector to respond to issues and ensure parents and carers are fully supported and are able to work. Balancing parenting and caring and having a career as a musician is an ongoing issue for MU members and I would encourage members working in the classical sector to engage with Pipas focus groups and help shape their future work.”

A survey of the wider performing arts industry that they carried out in January this year identified that existing challenges faced by parents and carers working in Music have been further exacerbated by the pandemic due to venue closures, home-schooling and full-time caring responsibilities restricting the ability to work/ practice, and increased stress.

Take part in one of PiPA’s focus groups

PiPA are looking for 36 participants to take part in one of three focus groups of 12 participants each during the week commencing 7 June 2021. All focus groups will take part on Teams and will last no longer than 90 minutes.

Each participant will receive compensation of £50 (non-taxable)

In order to be eligible for the focus group you must meet the following criteria:

Your main job must be one of the following:

  • Classical Musician
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Opera Singer
  • Choral Singer

You must have caring responsibilities. Either:

  • Parenting responsibilities: Mother, father, adoptive parent, foster carer and/or legal guardian of a child under the age of 18


  • Care responsibilities: Anyone who is responsible, unpaid, for the care of a friend, family member or another person who, for a variety of reasons, is not currently able to cope without their support.

So that our focus groups represent the full diversity of parents and carers in music, we are particularly keen to hear from people from a culturally diverse background (including Black, Asian, Dual Heritage and Other Ethnic Groups), D/deaf people, individuals with disabilities, people who are from a working-class background, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, or any underrepresented group in the classical music sector.

How to sign up

If you would like to join PiPA in changing the way music works for parents and carers by participating in their focus groups, please fill out this very short form by 10:00 am on 31 May 2021.

If they are oversubscribed they’ll use the demographic information to ensure that they have a representative balance across the focus groups.

Please contact them by email if you would like more information, or you have any questions or concerns at

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