Following its highly successful performance series last summer, the Cochrane Music Society (CMS) is set to do it again, and has added two new series of virtual classes. The first one begins next week.

Here's what's in store.

The Virtual Creative Music Workshop starts Feb. 23 and is a fun series of four classes playing music-making games and creating music in a jamming/contribution fashion. No experience required. No theory required. No classical-style notation. Just bring your voice or instrument and some curiosity and excitement to make music.

CMS music director Adam Mailman says they've partnered with the Music Creators Academy, created by Dr. Ben Taylor, of Indiana.

"He's created this system where people can really figure out how they can contribute to music without necessarily knowing how to write it down or anything like that. It's more like the way you would jam with a rock band, and you create these new musical ideas together, collaboratively. That's going to be a lot of fun for our members to reconnect with each other, reconnect with music and make something new that's never been heard before."

With your membership fee, you get access to Dr. Taylor, as well as CMS band director Mailman, choir director Diego Bechthold.

The Music Meet Ups – Building Concert Repertoire series starts Mar. 10. It is a run of seven classes that will explore the many facets of selecting repertoire for a concert program. Each participant will build a concert program to share at the final session.

"People will have a chance to truly explore what kind of turns them on when it comes to why they like the things they like, and why they don't like the things they don't, and to make some real choices about what kind of pieces they would put together," says Mailman.

For the Performance Series, starting Apr. 28, the members will download sheet music, and over five weeks the music directors will email the program notes – all the musical techniques and styles they would teach during rehearsals – to guide them as they practice individually. As the weather and COVID-19 permit, they will schedule rehearsals and performances throughout the summer.

Mailman says they are optimistic about the return to performing for the community and have several back-up plans prepared to take into account a variety of scenarios.

Last summer, they successfully performed pop-up concerts by carefully working within COVID-19 health regulations

"That preparation lead to some really efficient rehearsals where everyone walked in, kind of felt like professionals, because we only really had one or two rehearsals before the concert started, and that worked really well. So we're hoping to do something similar again this season."

Zoom has become to be an important way for musicians to connect. Since the pandemic, the technology has been enhanced to allow for a more fluent exchange of ideas.

"We can't really do precision things together on Zoom, but what we can do is connect, and we can make new things. I think that aspect of always putting the community first, when we talk about community band and community choir, is what Zoom is really going to allow us to do as we move into the spring. The important parts of the Cochrane Music Society that people love are still there for them."

For full details visit the CMS website here.