by Author Simon Glenister

Published on

You are here:

Impact report for Noise Solution's Child adolescent mental health pilot in Suffolk

A while ago we reported that we had been commissioned to conduct a pilot on using Noise Solution with a view to engage hard to reach young people involved in the CAMHS service. Our aim was to raise their confidence, sense of self determination and to find positive progression routes for them. The results of that report are now in and we thought we'd share.

NSFT CAMHS Pilot 2013

Over the summer of 2013 Noise Solution worked with seven CAMHS’ clients in a pilot project to test the appropriateness and effectiveness of Noise Solution’s methodology for this client group.

Noise Solution increases the self confidence of learners who, for whatever reason, are hard to engage or struggling. We do this by making them good at music making – quickly. We then share that success through social media (blogging). The combination of success and recognition has a dramatic impact on self esteem. From increased self-esteem flow other increases in functioning that are important for recovery.

Noise Solution is an outcomes driven organisation providing bespoke 1 to 1 support through music and technology and aims to:

  • increase the learner’s confidence
  • foster a greater feeling of self determination
  • provide a successful educational experience with qualification where appropriate
  • increase musical skills
  • facilitate a positive progression to education/volunteering etc


Each client had up to ten one on one sessions with a specialist Noise Solution tutor. For the most part the first five of the sessions were held in the client’s home, using a laptop, portable keyboards and other available resources, and the second five were held in a professional recording studio.

Sessions included specific tuition around music technology to create the style of music learners found relevant to them including drum n bass, grime and hip hop. As well as production the clients received tuition in instruments including piano and drums, recording instruments, vocals and ‘found sounds’, manipulating recordings using EQ and many more techniques.

The content of each session is led by the student’s interests and builds on the work of previous weeks. The progression from home-based sessions to studio-based ones is particularly important for clients who may not be comfortable going out. The lure of the facilities at a professional studio, and understanding how the work they have done at home can be built on in this environment, can be a key driver for clients.

The musical output and qualitative evidence we captured through the sessions can be seen on the students’ blogs. The blogs are a core element of Noise Solution practice: the tutor will upload students’ comments, video and audio clips to a personal (and protected) blog. The blog can be shared with the people important to the learner including professionals, peers and families, and it is a way of sharing success. It is also importantly a way to feed back others recognition of their success through comments.


At the beginning of the intervention a baseline questionnaire was completed with the client, gathering data related to the five intended outcomes. Participants were asked to score these questions on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). This questionnaire was repeated upon completion of the sessions. We want to measure how far the learner progresses between their initial score and the maximum possible score of 5. By doing this we are able to provide a percentage score for the progress made by each student, and also by the students collectively.

Across the group we saw:

94% Attendance rates

65% Increase in their perception of their own confidence

53% increase in their perception of their own interest in new things around them

63% increase in their perception of how good they felt about themselves

20% increase in their perception of their ability to make good decisions for themselves

19% increase in their perception of their sense of self determination

All 7 learners secured a recognised qualification in the Bronze Arts Award [1]

Progression - 6 of the 7 have progressed to other activity some to several:

1 x Suffolk New College (with support for a year with Noise Solution - facilitated by NS)

3 x volunteering at CSV on the VXM Project - working with peers on producing radio ( plus one attending Rock school project over the summer holidays)

2 x socially anxious learners are now pursuing music in mainstream group work music provision (clubs).

[1] Arts Awards are recognised and contribute points on the Qualifications and Certificate Framework (QCF) that can be used to secure a place at college.

Qualitative evidence

As well as the learners blogs, evidence of impact was collected from the tutor and also importantly feedback from those referring or close to the learners ie. family or professionals. This provides independent reflection on the impact of the sessions on the learners.

Some examples of independent reflection from workers and family:

The flexible and child centered approach to music education has enabled her to be engaged in learning for the first time in months and may contribute we hope to an early discharge to the community. (CAMHS professional)

He seems to have been calmer and more able to occupy himself since coming along to his sessions, choosing to listen to music and watch music clips instead of kicking off as bored. (Family)

When he became very ill it was difficult for him to find a way to express his feelings. however, once he engaged with the noise project it instantly opened up his world again to music, interest in something that he likes, his behavior changed from becoming uninvolved to involved with others, his family and community. (Family)

What was fantastic was giving X something outside of home - something he engaged with - he had done nothing for a whole year - he got on with the Tutor really well which was a huge achievement in itself- one day he came back having played drums - what was important was that he recognised he could be successful at new things - which was fab to see - it's been good for his confidence.(Family)


The pilot lasted from May to October and involved 204 hours of delivery to seven young people.

This pilot achieved successful engagement and recognised qualifications with 100% of learners, progressed all but one to other positive activities, achieved an attendance rate from a very challenging client group of 94% and in terms of improved functioning every one of the participants reported improvements in key indicators to wellbeing. These improvements were backed up by independent feedback from those closest to the client confirming that improvement.

The evidence clearly indicates the value of extending it to more clients. The client-reported enjoyment of sessions is reflected in the impressive attendance data for this client group. Professional and parent/carer comments provide rich feedback evidence and show very high satisfaction levels from both learners, professionals and family.

Of the seven students one was identified by Noise Solution as having benefitted less than the others. Issues around transport and support to get him into the process of leaving the house meant we didn’t have as much impact as we’d hoped – we feel a longer programme would have been more appropriate for this client. Another interesting case was a client where the programme was shortened as we felt the work satisfactorily completed early with the aims achieved of raising confidence and helping ease transition into a new school environment.

Simon Glenister

Project Director

Appendix: A detailed analysis of participant B

To drill down further into the evidence we have included below the results of one of the learner’s individual evidence sheets (the information as it would be shared with the keyworker at the end of a set of sessions). These sheets also detail their blog address, details of progression etc.

Below are the assessment questions along with his baseline self assessment scores, potential increase scores (what our target was), the follow up score and actual increase.

It was felt at the time that he was initially marking himself high out of a sense of bravado – something he volunteered himself in one of the later sessions. The POPI score represents the Percentage Of Prospective Increase – i.e. the distance the learner perceives themselves to have travelled.

In the last month I've been feeling confident

Original score 3

Potential increase 2

Actual increase 2

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved - travel from 3 to the maximum possible score of 5) 100%

In the last month I've been interested in new things

Original score 4

Potential increase 1

Actual increase 1

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 100%

In the last month I've been feeling good about myself

Original score 4

Potential increase 1

Actual increase 1

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 100%

I make decisions that are good for me

Original score 4

Potential increase 1

Actual increase 1

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 100%

I feel that what I say and do will make a difference to my life

Original score 5

Potential increase 0

Actual increase -1

Final score 4

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) -20%

I feel well connected to others in my community

Original score 4

Potential increase 1

Actual increase 1

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 100%

I am pleased with my current level of musical ability

Original score 3

Potential increase 2

Actual increase 2

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 100%

I can express my feelings, thoughts and emotions through music making

Original score 5

Potential increase 0

Actual increase 0

Final score 5

POPI (percentage of potential increase achieved) 0%

About Learner B

Prior to sessions starting and in the initial referral for B we received this:

B has been clinically depressed in the past and is therefore on medication as well as in psychotherapy with me. He moderated the frequency of his sessions from weekly to three weekly. B has struggled with school education more or less all his life. At the moment he is on 5 hrs home tuition at the school's library and 2 days NACRO. He has a terribly low self confidence and struggles with new situations. I have a strong feeling that he has been neglected from professionals due to his skin colour. He comes from a Black Caribbean background. His parents grew up in Ipswich but have themselves a history of being bullied at school. They are tight financially.

The referral agency/family feedback (answered by 12 plus worker and mum)

Here are the comments from mum and the notes from the latest TAC meeting for this client

TAC (Team Around The Child) Notes: Prior to attending Noise project B had experienced, low self esteem and confidence, only communicated with a few people who had to work very hard to engage with him, especially those seen as authority, or he struggled with trust, he did not view he had the ability to learn about anything, especially within educational setting. He had minimal engagement with school, specially involvement in music. B used music as a way to express himself, say how he was feeling and escape from the world and challenges that he saw as very overwhelming. When he became very ill it was difficult for him to find a way to express his feelings. However, once he engaged with the noise project it instantly opened up his world again to music, interest in something that he likes, his behaviour changed from becoming uninvolved to involved with others, his family and community. He has shown interest in diversity of music and the diverse instruments to create music. ie. drums, ukulele, diggeridoo, indian music instruments, electronics, computer music and lots more. The project due to the creativity, support and excellent tuition from Simon, it has lifted B’s spirits, shown him that there are lots of opportunity for him, built his confidence, interest in learning, and helped him to believe in himself. B has aspirations for his future now and making decisions about where he would like to go in his journey through music and media, alongside improving his wellbeing and becoming a more mature and happier young adult. It has been very important that because of the partnership work with CAMHS, CYPS with noise project it has played a significant part in helping B in his recovery and grounding him for his future. This has all had an impact on how B feels within his family and we have seen the positive change in him.

Other notes extracted from a TAC  (team around the child meeting) meeting near the end of the intervention.

Mum spoke of how far B has come in the last few months, echoed by Lucia (CAMHS consultant). From being very withdrawn and unhappy, and staying at home much of the time, B has been able to go into school to take GCSE exams, get himself a part-time job, get a media qualification, meet a lot of new people and enjoy social contact. Mum spoke of B getting back a sense of himself, and of his self-worth. She and Lucia feel that Noise Solution played a big part in this; B was very reluctant to engage with the project at the start, but it has been hugely beneficial for him to work and achieve at something he has a talent for. The mentoring has helped him to gain confidence and feel a lot more positive about his future. CAMHS support has also helped, and will shortly finish.

We also received this follow up email from mum a few months later, showing that the family recognise that progression continues as a result of the intervention.

Dear Noise Solution

I hope all is continuing to go brilliantly with Noise Solution and you are well.

Just to update you what is happening with B. He started Suffolk College last week September and is attending the L1 Creative music & media Course three days a week, the guy who runs the course was impressed that B had attended Noise Solution and said to say Hi. Sorry forgotten his name! And on Thursdays he is on IO Radio at CSV media. He did a session yesterday, but we missed hearing it, so will listen out for him next week Thursday. The radio station can heard through the internet.

Anyway, I thought I let you know that your hard work has taken B to another level in his journey through music, learning and recovery.

Regards B’s mum

Recommendations for future programmes

Programme length

The pilot has been successful in providing a relatively quick intervention and increasing the students’ confidence and engagement. As mentioned for more challenging students a longer programme would be preferable. All the students we worked with in this pilot completed a bronze Arts Award qualification. Recommendation: consider offering longer programmes, potentially working towards a Silver Arts Award (GCSE equivalent level).

Key worker liaison

Better results are obtained if we get more engagement from professionals and family. This is best demonstrated by people commenting on the blog – allowing participants to realise that their success is recognised. What we sometimes find occurs is that professionals are so busy that they feel the case can be left alone as the client is doing something positive. In reality what we are doing is creating momentum for the client, breaking them out from a negative view to a positive one. For that change to have long term impacts we need the involvement and support of those professionals to support that upward trajectory smoothly once our intervention has completed.