Music as therapy

Good Vibrations – music to reduce reoffending

Supporting vulnerable people (eg prisoners, ex-prisoners) to develop life skills through gamelan music, a communal music-making genre from Indonesia.

Addressing multiple, connected problems: high rates of reoffending in the UK, long term unemployment of people with disabilities and mental health conditions, poor well-being and violence in secure institutions, people lacking the basic skills they need for successful social participation, people with complex needs in challenging circumstances lacking confidence, motivation, lack of engagement in education.

This isn’t really about music. Music is simply the tool through they create a range of impacts, which will help tackle the problems in prisons.

Impressive impact in many areas including encouraging prisoners to engage in education courses, building staff-prisoner relations, preventing future offending, helping long-term unemployed into work.

Contact: Katherine Haigh –; 07535 145 797


Chiltern Music Therapy – music for neurological, mental and learning conditions (South East)

 Provides music therapy to all ages covering a wide range of specialisms including: early years, ADHD, learning disabilities, dementia, mental health, brain injury & neuro-disability, medical music therapy, life limiting conditions, palliative care, neo-natal.

Impact? “Neurologic music therapy is an evidence-based, scientific approach, which works around a specific patient’s needs –such as speech or upper body movement. It is proven to work in ‘re-teaching’ the brain to join up the ‘cerebral highways’ needed to regain those skills.”

Many projects ongoing with evidence of their impact. Eg patients with strokes, MS, visual impairment, premature babies:

Contact: Katie Shuster –; 01442 780541


Mindsong – music for dementia (West Midlands)

Provider of music therapy to people in care homes with mid to late-stage dementia.

They are currently working in 30 care homes and are delivering a pilot project aimed at individuals living in their own homes who are presenting with challenging behaviour that causes distress. Music therapy is being used as a tool to reduce stress and help in the transition from home to acute hospital unit or care home.

The benefits of music therapy to people with dementia are well documented. They also use their own ratings score to record data. Currently they are part of two national projects, A Choir in Every Care Home and the CHORD project, both documenting the use of music in care homes.

Contact: Karen Lawton –; 07989936270


Music in Detention– music for immigration detainees (national)

Participatory music-making with immigration detainees and excluded groups in local communities

MID addresses the psychological stress and stigma experienced by immigration detainees and other excluded groups in the wider community, and the fear and ignorance which is so widespread in attitudes to migrants.

They run song-writing projects in which community groups with experience of exclusion and stigma exchange lyrics, songs and music with immigration detainees. The groups interact creatively without meeting physically. They share experiences, feelings, hopes and fears. They co-create recorded tracks and develop solidarity.

These projects increase participants’ resilience and confidence in their own value and potential. They also increase empathy and understanding in a fraught attitudinal climate. They have a mass of evaluation material which shows these outcomes.

See  and

Contact: Liza Figueroa-Clark-