MUSIC FOR WELLBEING
Long before it was a career, making music with others gave me joy, connection, support and personal growth. Two decades of experience as a professional performer, teacher and leader of ensembles, and my more recent academic research, give me confidence that these feelings touch the heart of music’s role in our lives.
The benefits of music participation on wellbeing, mental health and other key social outcomes are well documented, but it is my firsthand experience after becoming disabled that confirms to me the value of this project. Chronic pain forced me to stop working in music as I had done, but has also given me a more intimate knowledge of how important access to music is, and how many barriers block participation. These workshops, and the experiences they draw on, allow me to return to musical work with an approach sharply focused on breaking down barriers and maximising participation for others within our community.
Evidence confirms that making music together is a vital part of what it means to be human. Our brains are intrinsically, maybe uniquely, evolved to share a beat. The power of music is not just a lucky miracle: it is essential to how our species has come together to survive this far.
My growing understanding of music’s importance has been accompanied by increasing awareness of the barriers to access faced by so many. Sadly, the barriers are often highest for those who have most to gain and most to give by making music, especially with others. My ambition is to help break these barriers down.
In my Now Hear This! practical music workshops I provide a range of accessible musical instruments. By learning traditional and well-known tunes, and by using group composition and improvisation, and facilitating flexibility around the rules and formalities that can accompany more standard music training, we will all make music as equals. Everyone is welcome. My formal training and experience allow me to ensure that the skills we develop will continue to provide access to other musical study and collaboration, whether applied in a formal academic setting or to sharing a song with a friend.
Please chat to me about what you need for music-making to be accessible to you or your community. I will do everything I can to help, applying the spirit of flexible, creative and connected cooperation at the heart of music. For group projects, my long experience running a range of ensembles allows me to offer support tailored to meeting your community’s priorities and needs.