Blog 6: Found Sound Track – Our Final Workshop – Reflection & Summary

Group: Ophelia Neville, Rosie Mountjoy, Sarah, Walker, Chloe Hepburn

Age of workshop: Primary School Children

Age consideration:

At first we were thinking of doing a workshop for dementia patients. However, we knew this would be a very tricky subject matter as there are so many complex things to take into consideration.

We decided to aim for primary school kids as we could make it fun, wacky, imaginative and colourful. However, the workshop could be adapted to suit other ages as well, perhaps senior school children with an adapted story, introducing rhythm and more complex instruments?

What was out initial aim/idea?

  • To teach kids that you can make music from anything you can find – you don’t need to have any prior music knowledge or experience
  • Using some kind of homemade instrument (plastic bottles) – everyone makes their own instruments and then create a percussive piece

First meeting with Simon/development of idea:

I made sure I wrote down lots of notes from this meeting, to help as we moved forward.

Some of the questions raised:

  • What is the purpose? End goal? Objective?
  • What is the piece of music going to be? A percussive piece? Or could it be different elements of a band? What instruments make up a band?
  • Health and safety – are the kids going to be making the instruments themselves? Will that take up too much time? What equipment will we need? Supervision? Are there certain materials off limits?
  • Is our workshop portable?
  • Are we going to use the format of having a conductor? If so, the workshop needs to be conductible…


 The main thing I took away from our meeting with Simon was that we needed a journey and a concept for our workshop.

I suggested to our group that we could get the participants to write a story. We could write the beginning and the end so we could still hold some control. We would stand in a circle, going around, getting each participant to come up with a random word which contributed to the story. Then there would be different groups of instruments that they would use to play along to the story. So the concept of the workshop would be to create a soundtrack to a story using homemade instruments.

Discussion/tweaking/more questions

The next bit was the hardest bit. Refining this story idea into a successful workshop format…

  • Would the children make the instruments? No. We needed to save as much time as possible. If we had longer for our workshop, this is something we could perhaps think about in the future.
  • What instruments were there going to be? Fun, interesting, unique. We used websites such as Pinterest to look for inspiration with ideas already in mind of what kinds of sounds we wanted.
  • Were we going to repeat each instrument to make it fair? Or have 21 unique instruments (a lot of work, unnecessary)? Repetition of instruments – this meant the kids could pair up or feel part of a group so could help each other out if they were struggling with their instruments / more inclusive.
  • If we get the kids to write the story, will there be enough time? 
  • Could we write the story but get them to contribute a few words? Still keeping them involved?
  • How do we keep their attention if they’re kids? Bright colours, fun words, interesting sounds and instruments
  • We don’t want the focus to be on the story over the music, we want the focus first and foremost to be on the music
  • How are we going to give the instruments out to prevent chaos and everyone messing around with them? Don’t give them to their hands – ask them to stand away from them? leave them on the floor?


Main points sorted from this discussion/tweaking/question time:

  • We will write the story to save time
  • We will have four groups of instruments: wind, percussive, textured/scrapers, strings
  • Within each instrument group, there will be two different kinds of instruments:

Wind: French horn, kazoo

String: Baby banjo, shoebox string

Percussive: Rattle drum, tambourine

Texture/Shaker: Castanets, Plastic bottle scrapers

  • We will apply four different colours to each instrument group, to act as a score and signify when the kids/different instrument groups will play in the story – there will be one colour to signify playing all at once
  • The story will be written out on word by white on white card and stuck to the wall before the kids come in. There will be certain words linked to the sound of the different instruments, i.e. bang, tap, fireworks, squeak etc. These words will have a colour pre-applied to them, apart from four of them. The four spare words will have a colour applied to them after discussion with the kids about what sound instrument would go well at that moment in the story.
  • We will call the workshop: Found Sound Track


Here are some photos of the discussion, the rough plan sheet of what the order of the workshop was going to be, and the first draft of the story with matching colours.

I would have liked to attached a photo of out homemade instruments, however, WordPress is being temperamental and won’t let me. 


Changes we made between our worksheets/plan draft 1 and our final assessed workshop:

  • To assign instruments, we were going to hand coloured slips to the kids as they walked into the room which they would then put on the floor in front of them and we could hand out the instruments depending on what colour slip they had put down. This was also to make them feel like part of the instrument deciding process was more fair. But, to save time, upon arrival, we lined the kids (our peers) up and walked them into the room to stand around a pre-lay out semi-circle of the instruments.

This worked very well and meant we didn’t eat into the rest of our workshop time. Sarah, the team member who lined the kids up, gave them instructions not to touch the instruments when they saw them and to leave them alone.

  • We decided to factor in a bit of time for the kids to pick up their instruments and play them and encouraged them to see if there were different ways of playing them or playing them at different volumes. In doing this exercise, it meant that we didn’t have everyone losing patience and starting to pick up the instruments and play around with them, disrupting everyone else as we explained the next part of the workshop. It built suspense because after playing them once, the kids wanted to play them again.
  • We also decided to split the description of what the next step was, into two. Initially we were going to describe what the colours were for at the same time as discussing with the kids which sounds (from the instruments) would go well with the blank words in the story. However, we thought to keep it very simple and easy to understand, we would not mention the role of the colours until after applying the sounds to the blank words.

To save time also, we changed the amount of blank words there were for the kids to discuss their sounds with us. Rather than each instrument group having 3 words to put their sound to, they only had one. This saved us a huge amount of time and faffing. Even with only four words in total to discuss with the kids, it was hard to stick the words up onto the correct colours quickly. Also, one of our group members stuck three of the four words onto the wrong colours which had been discussed and therefore Rosie had to go back and fiddle with them when we should have been on the next step.

In future I think we could come up with a more succinct way of physically sticking the words to the colours – maybe using a less delicate kind of coloured paper or card, or slowing down the discussion process (as we did have some spare time) so we could properly focus on sticking one word at a time and doing it correctly.

An area that we could also improve on in the future, was the way we got the kids playing along to the story. I started by shouting the story out and clapping on each coloured word to help them know when to come in as well as the colours. This worked well, although it was quite hard without a set rhythm. This is something we could also incorporate in future developments, however, the lose, random element did bring a bit of surprise and a fun quality to the story. During this activity, with more time, we could have worked out for a better way to include our whole team in this process (in my opinion), rather than three of the team stood at the side with nothing to do. I tried to get them involved after a couple of times through the story, but it would have been nice for people to have more of a speaking role etc.

Here is a copy of what I wrote on everyone’s Cue cards, just to remind us what order we were going in and notes on what to say if we forgot:

START (Sarah)
  • Queue everyone up outside
  • Explain that they need to follow her in and once in the room stand in a semi-circle in front of each instrument but don’t touch the instrument 
  • Hey everyone, welcome to our Found Sound Track workshop! Today we’ll be giggling around the way you might think about instruments and making music using instruments made of found household objects!
  • But before we start, let us introduce ourselves. I’m phe……
  • Now, when I say go, you’re going to have 30 seconds to play your instrument and work out what noise it makes & experiment with it. We’ll be coming around to help you if you need it! And at the end of the 30 seconds, we want complete silence. GO!
PLAY COUNTDOWN MUSIC  (add a fun timed element to make it a challenge)
WORDS (Rosie)
  • Now I need your help to work out what instrument you thing sounds like this word… Discuss which instruments apply to each word.
  • Now you’ll see that each of your instrument groups (wind, percussive, strings and texture) are a certain colour. You can see on the wall, we have written a story, and there are certain words which match the colours of your instrument groups.
  • What we’re going to do is make a piece of music to go along to the story by playing when we see our colour! E.g. so when the wind see (whatever colour they are) they play as a group, same applies to the percussive instruments etc.
  • You’ll notice that there’s a spare colour. Whenever this colour appears, we want you to play all at once as loudly as possible! Apart from at the end when we want you to play as quietly as possible.
STORY (phe)
  • I’m going to read through the story for them slowly first and I’m going to clap when a coloured word appears, to signify a group to play. We’ll see how we do the first time!
  • If time, ask what they enjoyed the most? Or what is the one thing they’re going to take away from this workshop today!
  • Say thank you, encourage them all…
  • END

What concepts and skills learnt throughout the module did we utilise or use as inspiration for our workshop?

The practical workshop sessions we took part in throughout the module were a real help. For example, in reflecting on the beatbox workshop, I was able to remember to positive and negative aspects and try and apply that to when we did our own workshop. For example, trying to be engaging and passionate, excited for our idea and communicating that with the participants.

Also learning from the negative things I took away, ‘expect the unexpected’. We wanted to go into our workshop with a lot of bases covered, for example, as our workshop utilised colours, what if one of our participants was colour blind? We made sure they were in groups with more than one person with the same instrument, so they could copy each other.

I also remember the first trial workshop that Bart & Dan did in the class, teaching us how to use MakeyMakey, with a drawing exercise. Although this was great fun, two things I remembered from this workshop, were to give clear instructions, and not to contradict one another. So this influenced how we planned out our workshop, ordered our instructions and looked at the finer details of things. Another point I took from this experience and tried to apply to our workshop, was how to respond to participants questions. There was one point when I asked Bart a question, and rather than telling me the answer and me being able to do it myself, he took over and did to for me, so then I didn’t have anything left to do. It really resonated with me that we needed to remember that our participants are capable, they just sometimes need a bit of guidance. But it’s how we give the guidance which is important – don’t take over.

After learning about Oxytocin Boosts and how creativity can boost oxytocin levels, we wanted to make the workshop as bright, colourful, fun, wacky and imaginative as possible for the kids to help them have fun and enjoy themselves. Remembering how participation, co-ordination and cooperation helped Richard at The Music Works grow in himself, we wanted to get everyone involved in working together to create something, without putting people on the spot individually.

Lastly, I really wanted to incorporate into our workshop the inclusive quality of the relationship between client and therapist during psychodynamic music therapy. It’s inclusive and creates trust. This is why we wanted one of the team to read the story out along with kids in the workshop and had the clapping element also so that the other team members could clap along, creating an inclusive atmosphere where everyone was involved at once.

Positives & Negatives of the group work:

  • At times I found the group situation really really tough – there were a few moments where we just really needed to decide something or get something down or started i.e. writing the story, which felt at times like it was just two of us doing it.
  • I think at times we worked really well together, like when we all shared ideas about different instruments we could make on our group chat. Everyone did a great job and we were all bouncing ideas off each other and had a very productive discussion.
  • Really honestly, there were times when it felt like the amount of work each of us were putting in to make the workshop happen, was not equal across the group. For example, supplying different equipment/things we needed for the workshop and preparing the card with the story on etc. This, along with the lack of input in some of the discussion times made it really frustrating and hard work at times.



Blog 5: Gloucester Music Academy Beat Box Workshop

Music Works – Gloucester Music Academy Beat Box Workshop

As part of our Community Music module, we went on a trip to Gloucester Music Academy to take part in a beat box workshop run by The Music Works in partnership with band ‘5 Mics’.

I think the aims and objectives of the workshop were thought out and mostly realistic for our group taking part in the workshop. They knew we were a group of music students so they told us that they had tailored the workshop a bit more with that point in mind.


  • to breakdown our pre-conceptions of beatboxing and encourage us that we could all do it
  • show us exciting new styles and ways to create a piece of music
  • to create a group performance at the end of the day utilising the skills the beatboxing skills we had learnt on the day, whilst also utilising skills we already knew i.e. song writing etc.

Although they knew we were music students, they still started us off like we were beginners with beatboxing which I think was very important. This did not mean that we weren’t challenged, but it meant we weren’t too overwhelmed at the start and the outcome that we would be able to beatbox by the end of the day felt very achievable.

I thought the room was a good size and the team running the workshop was just the right size. You could see they had a good relationship with each other which, I think, helped the rest of us settle and feel comfortable when we walked in. There was a good number of them to be able to help us throughout the day, for the games we played and for various group work, but there weren’t too many that it felt intimidating.

We didn’t need any equipment until the end of the day with the group performances and the microphones. I think we could have done the performances without the microphones. We had done the whole day without using microphones, so when we suddenly got given them, it felt quite intimidating and a lot more formal than what the rest of the day had felt like. And they didn’t tell us at the start of the group work that we would be using the microphones for our performance until they suddenly said we had a practise which we then used them for. This made me feel quite uncomfortable.

The day was a challenge, but I didn’t mind that, because in my opinion, when you go to a workshop like that, you know you’re going to be pushed out of your comfort zone slightly and need to try and embrace it. There were a few particular exercises which demanded some skill or experience from the participants and although some people flourished in this environment, it isolated some others. One of which was when we got pointed at individually and had to come up with a sound or a noise. This really highlighted and put the focus on who in the room was confident and happy to do it, and who in the room felt anxious about it, and I don’t think that was good. The motion of pointing at someone and the pressure of the rest of the group waiting for that person to respond with a sound or song etc, is very daunting and I think that could have been thought out in a much more sensitive manner.

I thought the order of the day was fantastic and well thought out. The games we played, made us all feel at ease with each other, giving us a chance to relax and get to know the team running the workshop a bit better. It was also very clever how the games incorporated skills we would be using later on in the workshop, for example certain sounds and rhythm.

The task we did where we all had our own sound and one of the team conducted in the middle was brilliant (apart from the points I raised earlier). This made us feel like we could all actually beatbox as the final result sounded great, which then encouraged us going into the afternoon activity. The team were very clever with this as they made sure they had a couple of their members dotted around the circle among us (the participants) so they could interweave a much more complex and exciting beatboxing rhythm or phrase into our piece which helped our collective sound have a bit more momentum and enabled us to feel it more.

It was a good idea to have the group performances as something to work towards in the afternoon as it meant we could use what we had learnt in the day and apply it to something. The only issue was; I think the facilitators of the workshop applied a label across all of us that ‘they’re used to performing because they’re music students’.

I find performing really challenging and very daunting and although I could see the team were trying to encourage us/me in our group work, they came across as very pushy. I didn’t want to sing the lead vocal for our group as I knew the song we had written was much more Leah’s style, and it would have been stupid for me to sing it instead of her, yet one of the team kept pushing me to do it and said I’ll enjoy it. This made me feel even worse because I knew in my head I couldn’t sing in that style.

This was pushed a bit more in our group practise with the mics, when another member of the team was encouraging Lottie and I to sing a lot of runs and improvise.  I said how I didn’t have that kind of voice, I’m not able, or use to being able to sing runs etc. but she kept saying I could. This wasn’t a lack of confidence with me, it was the fact I knew I couldn’t and she kept pushing it – it ended up amplifying what I see as weaknesses to my voice in my head because it was presented like there wasn’t any other way of being able to sing in that situation.

I think this is an area that the team could really work on, which will probably come as they gain more experience as there’s no textbook answers. I think they could have just been a bit more aware and sensitive of different personalities and characteristics in the room, i.e. being able to tell the difference between a lack of confidence and how deep that goes, or something like social anxiety etc. and knowing how to work with that.

It was a shame that I left the day feeling like my weaknesses were amplified rather than enjoying the fact I had learnt to beat box earlier on.

Final Thoughts

The team were very charismatic and passionate about music and beat boxing, which you could see throughout the whole day and this made it easy for us to get on board with the whole concept of the workshop. They had a lot of energy and knew the different elements of the workshop like the back of their hand so it was able to run quite smoothly. I think there are just a few finer details which they could iron out to make the workshop feel a bit more inclusive and less intimidating.

Blog 4: Malaki Patterson – The Music Works

Guest Speaker: Malaki Patterson – The Music Works


It was very interesting having Malaki Patterson, Creative Director of The Music Works, come into one of our lectures and speak about their charity. It was interesting to find out a lot about different areas of the organisation, in particular the three sections below:


The Music Works have to take safeguarding & the legal side of things very seriously as they work with so many young people and young adults, many of which are vulnerable. They do this by:

  • Making sure at least one person involved in recruitment has undertaken appropriate safe recruitment training
  • They use the same recruitment processes across all staff, volunteer or paid.
  • They use DBS and other checks – regularly reviewed and updated
  • The GlosMM safe recruitment process and checklist are followed
  • Communication is key. The line managers are informed of the level of responsibility that a new workforce member has.
  • Mark Bick (Designated Safeguarding Officer) – lead for vulnerable young people and safeguarding
  • All staff, volunteers and board members are given a copy of relevant The Music Works policies, given induction training and asked to sign to confirm they have read and understood them.
  • The Music Works publish the rights of children or vulnerable adults on their website
  • They log all incidents including children or vulnerable adult protection issues, accidents and behavioural incidents etc. This is confidential but with relevant access allowed by the Designated Safeguarding Officer, the CEO and the trustees/directors.
  • They ensure that safeguarding is included in all contracted, sub contracted or partnership delivered services.

By ensuring they have all of these details covered, it means the staff and volunteers of The Music Works are protected, alongside the participants of any of their programmes and it also means their reputation can be kept intact.

It’s important for The Music Works to have all these things in place, as some extreme circumstances can arise when working in this kind of environment and area. These precautions and laws mean, as well as being able to help people musically and invest in their creativity, confidence and skill etc, The Music Works can also help people personally in their lives as well. The Music Works are not just a surface level organisation. They want to help people, as best and as properly as they can.

Local/Regional considerations

They’re primary focus is Gloucestershire and areas local to them. The Music Works mention how there are a nationwide network of practitioners using similar approaches to them, however, it is obvious that the organisation has a heart for their local community.

Quoting an area of their website, this particularly stood out to me:

‘We aren’t interested in one-off projects that don’t have an ongoing impact. We want to make a significant difference to young people’s lives in Gloucestershire.’

It could be easy for The Music Works, being so successful and having such a positive impact on local communities within Gloucestershire, to start to spread itself thin. Rather than increasing their area of impact and trying to become a larger organisation, they have stuck to the local area and continue to invest time and time again in young people of the area, rather than perhaps more fleeting visits or quick fix ideas. This kind of sentiment is becoming increasingly rare yet I think it’s very valuable.

The Music Works have their foot in many areas:

  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Special schools
  • Alternative provision schools
  • Hospital education
  • Their studios and festivals/events
  • A key partner in Make Music Gloucestershire

Through all of the programmes The Music Works run, they have a long list of partners, from many different pockets around Gloucestershire:

  • Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service
  • Gloucestershire County Council Youth Support
  • Gloucester and Forest APS
  • NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning
  • Create Gloucestershire
  • Prince’s Trust

(and many more)

This shows they’ve got an amazing infrastructure of contacts and support from across the region, whilst also building a positive reputation for themselves through all the work they’re doing. Without this LOCAL network of inspiration, friends, organisations, charities, support from schools, hospitals, businesses etc., I don’t think The Music Works would be as impactful or successful as it is today.

Career potential and progression

 The different staff have a plethora of experience – they have come from different backgrounds with different areas of expertise.

During his talk with us, Malaki spoke about how the CEO of the music works, Deborah Potts, doesn’t initially come from a music background or have that kind of experience, and yet she is a vital part of the team and keeps things running. Her 20 years’ worth of experience in national charities, her specialism in strategic development and growing charities to maximise their impact has enabled Malaki and his team to have a lot of freedom with their ideas creatively and musically. They pitch their ideas to Deborah, and she confirms whether she thinks it’s right using her background of experience.

I think this is a very clever way of running The Music Works, as the core team have the knowledge and passion for their target audience, but also have the experience and knowledge outside of that to enable the charity to flourish into its potential.

The Music Works keep their word when they say they want to have an ongoing impact in people’s lives.  Robin Jones, now the manager at The Music Work’s studio in Cinderford, SoundSpace Studios, was once one of The Music Work’s after school club students.

The Music Works also run an Artist Talent Development programme called UPSURGE. The programme works with young adults age 18-25, who are in a position of advancing their musical skills to a professional level, and who have the potential to progress onto a career in music. An example of how The Music Works have helped a young person start their career in music, is Beth ‘Grove’. She was in her final year of sixth form when she came across Malaki. He introduced her to Studio 340 in Cheltenham and other musicians which she started to collaborate with and get booked for gigs. She is now part of two Gloucestershire groups, 5 Mics and BAAST. Malaki continues to invest in her, he booked Beth to be an assistant music leader on a week-long project in partnership with Gloucestershire Young Carers, and working within a team from The Music Works. This role then led onto other job opportunities which have already given her a strong portfolio for a music career ahead of her.

Blog 3: Technology & Community Music

Organisation: OpenUp Music

Open Orchestras & Technology

I found out about OpenUp music’s work from researching into the national charity YouthMusic.

OpenUp Music empowers young disabled musicians to build inclusive youth orchestras.

What is the Clarion? A bit of background?

OpenUp Music have spent the last 8 years working alongside young disabled people, teachers and music leaders to create the Clarion.

The Clarion is an accessible musical instrument that can be played independently with any part of the body, including the eyes!

It all started with an idea to create a multi-sensory musical device for young disabled people.

In 2012, the designers of the Clarion, OpenUp Music’s CEO Barry Farrimond and friend Dr Duncan Gillard, launched a programme “Listening Aloud’ in which they made many prototype musical instruments based upon face tracking algorithms, eye-tracking, 3D motion capture, accelerometers, EOG sensros, EEG sensors, joysticks and many more.

Inspired by the British Paraorchestra’s performance with Coldplay at the 2012 olympic closing ceremony, Open Orchestras programmes were formed.


‘It isn’t a single instrument at all, but a near-infinite number of instruments all contained within a single piece of musical software’ – Barry Farrimond


  • The musician can easily alter the sound the instrument makes, number of notes available to play, position and colour of notes and how you can play them…
  • The instrument adapts to the musician, so the needs of the musician are met


Who has it?

  • 100s of young people across the UK are benefiting from the Clarion even those with a very broad range of additional support needs.
  • Any young disabled people from people with physical impairments, autism or learning difficulties to people with cerebral palsy.
  • A lot of the previous attempts and prototypes during the development process needed a dedicated music technologist to set things up. But the last 8 years have payed off as Clarion is completely accessible and you do not need a specialist present – it only takes about 10 minutes to learn how to use Clarion.


How is it used?

  • It uses technology that is already available and works with assistive technology hardware that young disabled people use in their everyday lives, such as EyeGaze, SmartNav and the iPad.
  • Notes are represented on its surface as shapes that can be coloured, resized, reformed and rotated.
  • Shapes can be moved anywhere on the surface the musician wants
  • The young people can use movement of body parts and even just eye movement to create sounds


Why is it used?

  • To enable young disabled people to explore music more easily and enter into a world they may have never thought possible
  • Barry Farrimond contacted Special schools around the country enquiring about orchestra’s and music within these schools. None of the schools had an orchestra. He said ‘It was this tragic paucity of provision, expectation and musical progression that led to the founding of OpenUp Music and the launch of the Open Orchestras programme. – The Clarion gives access to music to young disabled people who are kicked off the radar a lot of the time


It’s amazing to see how much of an impact this instrument is having on the disabled world & how much it is enabling them to play music and take part in music like never before. It’s a shame that it’s still quite a new thing as I would have like to been able to research it further, but there seems to be limited resources around the topic at the moment.

Blog 2: Richard’s Story at The Music Works

‘Richard feels accepted and grows in confidence’

Richard, a student in year 10, was getting heavily bullied and lacked confidence when he started going to the after school club at SoundSpace Studios, Cinderford.

A lot of people in Richard’s situation, being bullied and suffering from extremely low confidence, end up isolating themselves or spending more time to themselves as a coping mechanism. So if Richard is being thrown into a nurturing, positive and encouraging environment with support from some trained helpers, it creates a safe environment to combat the isolation, immediately increasing contact you have with people.

Through Richard getting to share his passions and talking to others about musical interests, it will be triggering positive social feelings towards the others he’s in discussion with.

Reading what Richard felt like before the after school club, and what he felt like afterwards shows such a progression and shift in himself. This after school club environment created by The Music Works is so drastically different to what Richard was faced with before in his day to day life, that I think it could have easily been slightly overwhelming for Richard. Yet because of the activities and format of the after school club, Richard excelled. I think these four elements below can be seen as evidence to having helped Richard:


The Music Works helped Richard by placing him in contact with others. He took part in conversations with others about musical interests and passions.

An article in the Guardian talks about our need for face-to-face communication in our digital age.

‘Over the last decade huge population studies have shown that social integration — the feeling of being part of a cohesive group — fosters immunity and resilience to illness and loneliness.’ (Pinker, S. 2015)

Richard’s participation in these conversations will have fostered immunity and resilience in him to loneliness and his bullying. It will have built bonds with others over shared interests and passions and they will have given him a place to fit in.


Richard was listened to and valued by others in his environment. One of the activities he did was write songs with the other young people. This will have helped the young people as a group, feel empathy for each other as they would begin to understand what each of them think, feel and how they might behave. Richard may have even begun to share some of his personal experiences with bullying with the others, which would encourage them to feel empathy towards him and strengthen their bonds as a group.

Oxytocin Boosts:

In an article online, words of encouragement, listening to others, being listened to and being creative, are all shown to increase Oxytocin levels in your body. From The Music Works article, we can see that Richard was being listened to and listening to others, with his ideas, in conversations with other young people and by The Music Works team. He received positive feedback which he said ‘boosted his confidence’ which could be as a result of the increased oxytocin levels in his body.

As the whole process of joining with others to write songs and performing is a creative one, it seems Richard has associated good, enjoyable, nurturing and comfortable feelings with The Music Works, which again I think is a result of his increased Oxytocin levels whilst working with them. It has become a positive place for him. I think even more so, because it is such a stark contrast to what he was used to before he started at The Music Works.

Cultural Cohesion:

Music is a way of communicating belonging which Richard really needed. We can see from the impact that The Music Works had on Richard, that he begun to feel accepted and he was therefore, able to sing a solo.

‘Music works a lot like language does – except instead of words and ideas, emotions and intent are communicated.’  (Suttie, J. 2015)

Richard struggled with bullying and confidence before starting the after school club in Cinderford, but with the experience of The Music Works team, I think they were able to create a coherence of emotion and intent across the after school club to help people like Richard feel like they belonged.




 Pinker, S (2015) Susan Pinker: why face-to-face contact matters in our digital age Available at: (Accessed: 11th January 2018)

Blog 1: Psychodynamic Music Therapy

Psychodynamics is a type of psychotherapy that attempts to explore the patient’s unconscious thoughts and emotions so that the person is better able to understand him or herself.

It can involve reviewing emotions, thoughts, early life experiences and beliefs to gain insight into someone’s life and present day problems.

A question that I found particularly interesting and which stood out strongly amongst my research on psychodynamics was:

‘Have they (the client) developed any patterns over time?’

Going deeper, are there recurring patterns or defence mechanisms as a method of coping?

It made me think, I don’t want to run a workshop where a participant is merely coping, I want to run a workshop in which the participant thrives and enjoys. This really made me apply the rest of my research into psychodynamic musical theory to the situation we will be in when creating and running our workshops.

Some stand out notes from looking specifically at Psychodynamic Music Theory:

  • Non-directive and the client does not need to have any musical inclination
  • ‘As they build their therapeutic alliance, the client and therapist can both participate in the music making as a method for strengthening their bond and accessing deeper tools of communication.’

From my research I have understood the importance of specialist training in some areas of psychodynamic music therapy e.g. for the job role of Analytic Music Therapist, however, I believe there are fundamental ideas which can be drawn out and applied in a more universal context for our workshops.

Some of the goals in psychodynamic therapy will be very good to keep in mind as we form our workshops; self-awareness, resolution of inner conflicts and self-expression. I think it is important to encourage self-awareness, independency and capability through our workshop. We also have to keep in mind, whoever our workshop is aimed at, there will be all sorts of different personalities and backgrounds. Although I don’t think it wise to put the pressure on ourselves to act as a psychodynamic musical therapist through our role, we have the opportunity and privilege to encourage resolution of inner conflicts we may become aware of, for example, a lack of self-confidence. To run parallel to these other things, providing a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment to encourage self-expression in our workshop is also very important.

A word that kept propping up through my research has been ‘relationship’. In all psychodynamic music therapy, ‘relationship is essential’.  This is good to have in mind when planning and running our workshop as a good relationship can be seen to provide a safe environment to be vulnerable, breaking down walls and barriers which otherwise could be huge blockages to further progress in an area and I think most importantly, it shows trust. Without trust, I think it will be hard to maintain control in our workshop and disunity would be evident in the group as people would be scared or dis-interested, rather than a unified, comfortable group working with one another to create something.

I wanted to see what an actual Psychodynamic Musical Therapy Session was like, so I watched this video of a session between a therapist playing the piano and an elderly woman, Beverly.

It’s amazing. The therapist started by playing some chords and singing random sounds which the women then felt like she could join in with. Nothing they were singing made sense, until the therapist started singing ‘Hello Beverly, Hello’. This seemed like he was perhaps starting to go a bit deeper with her and trying to evoke some other emotions or feelings.

I have written down a small transcript of the rest of the phrases Beverly came out with.

The therapist started to repeat the phrases Beverly would say in his song. It’s like his narration with the song is encouraging Beverly to go further with her story and express more phrases out loud. It’s very light hearted and a very comfortable setting which is obviously subconsciously helping Beverly enjoy herself and perhaps become more open.

Other words she said included:

‘Yes I did, he used to be’

‘I was a dump’

‘He told me that’

‘Oh boy’

‘Oh boy oh boy oh boy’

‘I want it now’

‘I’m gonna get it’

‘Oh boy oh boy’

‘I love you’

‘Are you still for me?’

‘I liked her to, but I didn’t love her’

‘Too sweet, nice though’

‘My friends’

‘But I could be’

‘Yes sir, I could do it’

Through this video you can see that relationship is very important. It is obvious that Beverly is used to the therapist, and trusts him, so she is therefore comfortable to make sounds and join in with the process. It is also clear that perhaps the therapist has taken note of patterns that have developed over time. You can see clearly the client and the therapist are building a bond as they both participate in the music making which is helping them access deeper tools of communication.

From my research, it’s exciting to see how Psychodynamic Music Therapy is accessible for all ages and many different backgrounds, for example an elderly person (perhaps suffering from dementia?) or a young person suffering from PTSD. It could be impactful for all walks of life. In the future, I would like to further my research in seeing if Psychodynamic Musical Therapy has any links with breakthroughs in dementia/Alzheimer’s patients.