In the second of this three part series, some of the young people we work with at More Music share their experiences of how coming to projects and playing music has a positive impact on mental health and well being.
Through our work at More Music, we have recognised the personal, social, physical and emotional benefits of music for many years now. Whether its running beatboxing workshops in primary schools, community choirs or songwriting sessions for young people, the benefits of playing and listening to music is wide reaching and increasingly well documented.
For the 100 plus young people who attend our weekly projects, coming to a session a means more to them than just a chance to improve their musical skills. Sessions are the social event of the week and a chance to meet up with or make new friends as well as be creative through music, songwriting, fashion and art.
I believe that having a safe and supported space for socializing, creativity and self expression is of the upmost importance for young people’s personal, social and emotional development and having the opportunity to explore those little sparks of creative interest can be an essential for building confidence and self esteem and developing future progression routes musical or otherwise.
It is also a well know fact that taking part in musical activities or even just listening to music can have a positive impact on mental health and well being. For those of us working with young people there has never been a more crucial time to recognise and raise awareness of these benefits.
Over the past year, at a point where the state of young people’s mental health is now, more than ever, at crisis point, we had some of the highest levels of attendance at our weekly sessions than we have had in years. With over 50 young people aged between 12 and 19 regularly coming to our young bands project on a Thursday night, it’s clear that our participants value the session not just for the rehearsal spaces it provides.
Here, some of the young people who come to our young bands project, Stages, share their feelings and experinces of managing mental health and participating in music making.
‘I find coming to more music and being creative with my band makes me calmer generally as I know I have something to look forward to’ - Reece
‘music is my therapy, its how I express myself’ - Margaret
‘Stages and Friday Night Project have really helped my social anxiety, I couldn't even leave the house at one point and now I go there every single week and I've made so many friends and learnt so many cool things! I can even sing on stage now and it's really helped me relax more and not stress out too much’ - Racheal
‘I always look forward to going to stages as it has a friendly and fun community where you can feel comfortable whilst expanding your musical experience and knowledge’ - Harrison
To hear some of our young people talk more about how music has helped to support their mental health and well being, check out this radio show co presented by Racheal and Margaret called 'Girls can at More Music' [recorded July 2017 as part of 'Stages through the Ages' - More Music's Youth Arts Week in partnership with Beyond Radio]
Next week ... can we do more?