‘The Power of Music’ at the Recovery Academy
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:
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
Thank you for clearing my head
Healing my heart
And lifting my spirits’