This week we are thinking about how to connect with people through music as part of our ‘Six Ways to Wellbeing’ programme in Maidstone in Kent which is funded by Kent County Council, with investment from Artswork and the Royal Opera House Bridge.’ Music is all about connections - connections with people, ideas and creativity. As music organisations we create safe spaces for young people to connect with each other, share their interested, be creative, perform and share their work and celebrate their achievements. Here Lucy Stone, our Strategic Director reflects on the minutiae of music making and how music making enables young people to connect with peers and their communities.
Much of our work at Rhythmix aims to improve the life chances of children and young people in the most challenging circumstances by supporting them to achieve their full potential through engagement and progression in music-making. We hope to develop the resilience of children and young people through musical and wider development. These are big aims with what we hope are life changing outcomes but I’m not sure how often we think about the smaller changes that take place in our sessions.
Six Ways to Wellbeing encourages people to make small changes to their lives which can make a big difference to the way they feel and the way they cope with challenges in life which gives us an opportunity to look more at the minutiae of what we do. I’ve heard tutors talking about these small things - a young person staying in the room for the whole session, a father in an early years group removing his hat, a young person sharing a packet of crisps- but there are so many of the big changes that that these smaller ones don’t always make it to the evaluation of a programme.
How can we celebrate the small changes?
Connecting with peers
‘The individuals that attend these sessions seem to have a positive interaction towards one and another and I am sure this is making a positive impact in the music session's and improving their team working skills’
‘Collaboration and equality were central to all of the music workshops at M4S. All music activities took place with us all seated or standing in a community music circle in which everyone's contribution was included, listened, valued to and responded to. Participants each were given equal turns to begin and to lead the music making. Due to the level of special educational needs of the participants, verbal communication was often not accessible for some participants, an in these cases non verbal communication through music enabled them to connect and participate with the group. A weekly refreshments and social-time break was given in the middle of the session for the group to chat more informally and to build relationships outside of the constraints of the structured parts of the session. On a weekly basis the sessions concluded with parents being invited into the last few minutes of the workshop in order for the young people to demonstrate or perform for them what we had been working on. Parents coming in to listen and observe would be given pieces of percussion to play as part of the music so that they became part of the piece and participated with the young people beyond just being an audience member.’ Tutor feedback from a Six Ways to Wellbeing project in Maidstone
Young people connect with each other during the music sessions in lots of ways that develop their social skills
- they work in a group and work as a team
- they learn to co-operate over which lyrics or beats get used
- they show leadership at times when working together and making creative and practical decisions
- tutors encourage them to reflect on their interactions with each other and on their creative and learning journey
- they develop their listening and analysis skills which helps them to interact with others
Amazing to think that so much of what we do develops participants wellbeing!
Connecting with their communities
‘The project has brought together a new bunch of young people who have never met before but are now a tight knit bunch. The younger people have been connecting with the elderly community and have been learning repertoire from the 1930’s and 40’s.’ Tutor on a Six Ways to Wellbeing project in Maidstone.
Young people make connection with lots of significant adults through music projects beyond the music leader. Workshops are often an opportunity to develop their understanding and appreciation of their local community and understanding of other cultures. There are often other adults in the room such as social workers, support workers, youth workers, doctors, playworkers, teachers… the list goes on. They are also audience members of performances and sharing opportunities of the music making that’s taken place. There has been lots of interesting debate and discussion on the Youth Music Network about the role of those other adults and the positives and challenges of having other adults in the room so we won’t go into that here. On this programme we are interested in the impact of having a positive relationship with a music leader can have on improving their wellbeing and resilience.
More information about Six Ways to Wellbeing
We are interested to hear what other organisations think about the Six Ways to Wellbeing and will be blogging over the coming weeks about our learning and experiences of the pilot programme.
The Six Ways to Wellbeing are:
- Connect: People
- Be active: Body
- Take notice: Place
- Keep learning: Mind
- Give: Spirit
- Care: Planet
You can find out more about Six Ways to Wellbeing
Twitter: https://twitter.com/liveitwelluk @liveitwelluk
PREVIOUS SIX WAYS BLOGS
Ways to Wellbeing Through Music: Here we introduce the ‘Ways’, look at how our tutors have adopted the ‘Six Ways to Wellbeing’ using music to engage the ethos behind the project and Russ Grooms (Project Manager) reflects on the programme as a whole. Article here