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Mark Scott

Music For The Mind Case Study: Louis

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During Covid-19 SoCo delivered Music For The Mind, an online weekly songwriting programme for service users of Southfield, a specialist mental health inpatient service, as part of our Southampton City Council funded Community Learning programme. Participants explored various lyric writing techniques and activities and, following the easing of restrictions, recorded their original compositions at Hightown Studios.


Tell me about your musical background and interests

When I was about 14 or 15 I found Drum’n’Bass and fell in love with it. I just love the heavy bass lines. I just remember going to a Drum’n’Bass rave and there was a guy on the mic and I thought, you know what, I’d love to do that, and that was sort of the turning point for me.

I started writing lyrics when I was 15. The older I got the more focused my lyrics became and they started being about me and my life or the lives of others. I started off writing for Drum’n’Bass and wanted to be a Drum’n’Bass MC and did an open mic at a club in Basingstoke. The guy who runs it asked me if I wanted to headline the next show. So I was quite happy about that but unfortunately alcohol got in the way – I was quite drunk and had to leave. I think I really found hip hop at around the same time too.


What activities did you take part in and how did they impact you musically and personally?

First off, I found Jim really accommodating – he seemed like a really nice guy. We had zoom meetings every week going over different techniques of writing and some other activities. It changed the way I looked at things and I think I have improved – more like the use of language. You can be more abstract with your lyrics is what I got from that. It was good to give me another way of looking at things. It’s given me the opportunity to go in a different direction and I’ve written quite a bit lately. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s opinions on things, especially when they know what they’re doing.

It was good to get in the studio and to see how it worked – the production side of it. It was really nice getting in the booth and getting a proper mic – the whole process really. It definitely supported my confidence. Performing on the mic in front of people, even though I’ve done it years ago, it’s quite different. When you’ve been in hospital for 3 years it knocks it out of you but getting in the studio, yeah, it’s amazing! Very empowering. I got in the booth and they’d give me a bit of feedback and then I’d get back in the booth. Getting in the studio and just hearing positive feedback from people that’s what really did it for me.

I just love music, listening to it, making it. Getting stuff off my chest is good you know. It feels like a release of negativity. I can put it out in a song rather than sit and deal with it. Music definitely helps when it’s been a struggle.

“From the very beginning Louis was engaged, enthusiastic and keen to show me the lyrics he’d previously written and what they meant to him. I’d noticed that there was a real lack of confidence not only with his creative work but with social interactions with me and we spoke a lot about how lyric writing could help to improve his wellbeing. As the sessions went on his confidence notably progressed and he started instigating more and leading topics and areas of discussion. When he took part in the recording session at the studio he was really buzzing and focused on learning specific recording techniques and the whole process. It lifted his confidence and gave him the ability to look at his own talent and his own music and to understand what he needed to do at that time to make it the best it could be.” – Jim Chorley, Community Music Practitioner, SoCo Music Project

What do you want to do next?

I write lyrics pretty much every day and I’ll be going down to a friend’s studio in Portsmouth after the lockdown to record. I wanna do open mic nights and eventually do some gigs. That’s the foundation because I wanna be traveling the world sharing my music with people.


“Louis was really keen to get involved with SoCo due to his passion and talent for music. The programme facilitated this passion brilliantly, providing him with the confidence that his work was of an excellent standard as well as guiding him to consider different techniques for songwriting. Jim was really adaptable to the direction that Louis wanted to take. Having the opportunity to record his own work in the studio was a real high. Taking away a high-quality recording I think really improved his self-esteem and showcased his talent to the rest of the unit.” – Lydia Lansdowne, Occupational Therapist, Southfield


Hear Louis’ track, recorded at Hightown Studios, below:

SoCo Academy: It’s Launch Day!

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We are proud to announce that, brand new for 2021, we have launched our very own online learning platform: SoCo Academy.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, SoCo can continue to provide you with some awesome creative lessons and support any time, any place! You can currently choose from guitar, bass, drums or try your hand at some instrument-making arts and crafts lessons featuring local musicians and Community Music Leaders.

Over the coming months, SoCo Academy will continue to evolve and we’ll be adding more creative content so that it is packed full of fun and unique tutorials for you to learn and discover in the comfort of your own home.

All you need to do is sign up for free to gain full access to all of our wonderful creative content. Follow this link to the SoCo Academy website to embark on your creative journey now!

Any requests for material or if you’d like to share your skills and knowledge, please get in touch:

Job Opportunity – Community Music Practitioner: Adult Learning

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SoCo Music Project – Community Music Practitioner/s


TITLE: Community Music Practitioner

CONTRACT: Freelance

HOURS: 0-6 hours per week (may include some unsocial hours)

SALARY: £15 – £30 per hour

LOCATION OF WORK: Southampton and surrounding areas


SoCo Music Project are looking for a Community Music Practitioner/s to join our team to lead on the delivery of our Southampton City Council funded Adult Learning Programme for 2020/21. There are 4 roles available and applicants may be interested in one or a combination of these contracts. When applying, please indicate which of these you are applying for.


  • Adults with mental health issues. 3-month programme @ £700
  • Adults with learning disabilities. 3-month programme @ £700
  • Adults in recovery from alcohol and/or substance misuse issues. 6-month programme @ £1500
  • The elderly and those with dementia. 6-month programme @ £1800


The Community Music Practitioner/s will work closely with the Project Manager to deliver accessible music-making opportunities that develops skills and supports improvements in the health and wellbeing of the above participant groups.


The key purpose of this role is to utilise accessible instrumentation, techniques and technology to increase access and opportunities for participants facing disabling barriers. Weekly sessions will be delivered face-to-face where possible (or remotely through online platforms) and will enable participants to explore music through performance, technology and composition.


We are looking for a Community Music Practitioner/s with practical experience of leading or assisting workshops with one or more of the aforementioned participant groups or in community settings, both in group and ‘one-on-one’ settings. The successful candidates must have experience of planning and evidencing the impact of music engagement with vulnerable groups.


Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check is essential for this post.


The Role

  • To work with the Project Manager to develop the Adult Learning programme
  • To provide engaging and relevant music-making opportunities for adult groups in a variety of settings (supported accommodation/community spaces).
  • To plan, develop and provide activities that will support participants to progress in their musical/creative interests.
  • To provide evidence and evaluation that demonstrates the impact of the project, and to ensure the project is providing the best support for participants.


Personal Spec:


Access to own transport to attend sessions and meetings based in and around Southampton.



  • Excellent musical skills (performance and/or music production)
  • Experience in project working, planning and service development.
  • Experience of working with vulnerable adults, community groups or in community settings.
  • Able to work creatively and responsively.
  • Confident report writing and presentation skills
  • Ability to structure music sessions that respond to interests of participant group and that support progression
  • Strong people management skills
  • A positive and enthusiastic approach to work
  • Be able to communicate clearly and listen and understand people’s needs
  • Ability to work weekdays and to start in September/October 2020



  • Experience in Community Music
  • Degree level qualification
  • Music Qualification
  • Youth Work Qualification
  • Experience of using online tools to deliver remote sessions



To apply please send a CV, references (these will only be contacted if your application is successful)  and evidence of your community music practice (Evidence might include a statement about your practice and your influences, a link to a video a project you have worked on, a sound or performance outcome of a project you have worked on, an evaluation report about a project you have worked on) to by 5pm on Tuesday 1st September 2020.


SoCo Music Project is an equal opportunities employer.

New Weekly Music Club Comes to Eastleigh This Summer

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SoCo Music Project is pleased to announce the launch of a new project, SoCo Music Club, that aims to empower young people and support their transition from youth to adult mental health services through music-making and health support and advice.

Working in partnership with Groundwork South and Solent Mind, and taking place from Energy Youth Centre, these weekly, open access workshops will provide young people aged 13 to 18 with an opportunity to explore topics around mental health whilst engaging in a variety of music-making activities. Participants will be supported with this through instrumental performance, songwriting, music technology and recording.

The project, funded by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, will help bridge the gap between youth and adult mental health services and will run on Thursday evenings from 7-8.30pm starting August 2nd. All abilities welcome – bring instruments if you have them!

Three in four mental illnesses start in childhood, whilst 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment. Over half of young people link mental illness with alienation and isolation.

For further information about this service, to make a referral, to volunteer or to offer financial support for this group, please contact


SCC Caring Communities to fund ‘SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group’ re-launch

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SoCo is delighted to announce the re-launch of the SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group in Southampton. With support from Southampton City Council in the form of a Caring Communities Grant, this much-loved service is set to resume later in the summer following a 1-year hiatus. The funding is set to secure the future of the group for it’s first 6 months. Having previously run the group for 7 years, SoCo are extremely excited about its return, as Mark Scott, SoCo’s Adult Learning Manager explains:

“It’s great to be bringing back an important and valued offer that supports adults facing challenges around their mental health. With increased numbers of people being diagnosed with a mental health condition in the city, the service has been sorely missed. Our creative provision will enable participants to grow and improve their musical skills and develop vital support networks that will reduce social isolation.”

One in four adults will be affected by a mental health problem in their lifetime. The SoCo Mental Health Peer Support Music Group will provide opportunities for adults to engage in a range of participant-led activities that supports improvements in wellbeing, from music sharing and improvisation to group songwriting and performance. The sessions will run weekly from The Pavilion in Hoglands Park, Southampton city centre on Wednesdays 1.30-3.30pm starting August 1st.

For further information about this service, to make a referral, to volunteer or to offer financial support for this group, please contact

Music For VI

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SoCo Music Project is delighted to announce a series of fun and exciting after school music-making sessions for young people with visual impairments. This project, funded by People’s Postcode Lottery, will enable students at Toynbee School to engage in unique workshops that encompass a variety of compositional and recording techniques. It follows a successful programme of creative engagement with Toynbee students last academic year, and will enable them to continue developing their musical journey whilst working towards accreditation through the Arts Award.

This project is part of SoCo’s substantial youth provision, working in Special Educational Needs & Disability settings across Southampton and Hampshire to provide innovative, creative intervention for a range of participants.

With sessions currently under way, Jim Chorley, Creative Practitioner at SoCo Music Project, is delighted to have the opportunity to continue working in partnership with Toynbee School and Global Music Visions C.I.C. to support the development of participants’ creative and social outcomes;

It has been a joy to work with the young people in the VI unit at Toynbee. Their musical creativity and enthusiasm is both inspiring and infectious. I’m looking forward to support the development of their considerable song writing and recording talents”.

For more information about this project, contact

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