‘The Power of Music’ at the Recovery Academy

21.06.2019

The Recovery Academy is a programme ran by the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust that offers free educational courses and resources for people with mental health problems, their carers, families as well as health care professionals.

Manchester Camerata were approached by the Trust to deliver our own course at their centre in Prestwich about the power of music and how it can help improve mental well-being. Throughout May and June, Kate Pearson (composer) facilitated three composition and musical improvisation workshops alongside musicians Heather Bills (cellist) and Dave Tollington (horn) to a wonderful group of service users, their carers and health and social care professionals from around Manchester.

By the end of three short sessions, the group had written a beautiful song about moving forward and making positive changes within difficult relationships, as well as discovered the joys of ‘in the moment’ music making which they wrote a poem about during their last session together. The group, alongside with the Camerata practitioners, performed their song and a musical improvisation at the Greater Manchester Mental Health Conference on Thursday 6th June which was a huge achievement for the group members and brought some tears to the eyes of those in the audience.

This small-scale project had a large impact on a variety of people and is a great reminder of the power that music can have on mental wellbeing. See below for the full poem that the course group wrote together about their feelings toward music:

‘Dear Music,

Thank you for helping us communicate without words

And talk in a different way

For allowing us to make new friends

And build a community without prejudice, anxiety or stress

To focus on the sounds and rhythms of the present

Dear Music,

Thank you for clearing my head

Healing my heart

And lifting my spirits’