Over the past 3 years SoCo has delivered several music-making courses for Solent Mind service users. These have including songwriting, band performance and poetry/lyric writing, as well as a film-making course in partnership with Broken Physics. Within these courses, participants have learnt basic musical skills on a number of instruments and collaborated to create original compositions.

A strong element throughout each of these courses were the sharing opportunities that enabled each participant to contribute towards a musical discussion. These then dictated the session plan going forward, allowing all participants to play an active role in the development of sessions and the outcomes of the course. This freedom strengthened the bond between participants and lead to peer-support learning between sessions and the formation of several bands.

SoCo’s practitioners complemented each other really well and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Participant

Music is great therapy. It’s helped me tremendously because it takes the stress away. It got me to go out with people and it got me socializing with other people, which has been really important. It’s helped me get back my social life. It’s definitely helped with my confidence. When I first started I didn’t have any confidence and wouldn’t interact with the group, but because Mark and Louis have such good personalities you can’t help getting drawn in. I went back to work last Tuesday too. It’s gradually getting me back to my normal speed

Participant

For everyone, even if they don’t attend all the time, they’ve all had an increase in confidence. Two of our service users have even seen such a big growth in confidence that they’ve gone back to work. Music helps give them this confidence because it encourages them to step out of their comfort zone by maybe picking up an instrument, which still feels quite safe. These little steps are so important because they can lead onto bigger, wider life steps.

“It’s a safe place. For mental health patients, they don’t have an opportunity to voice their needs or they don’t feel able to. So the fact that they have that opportunity in this environment is really important. The music environment is a non- threatening environment, which allows them to naturally reflect. It’s a more comfortable environment than when faced with a psychologist

Ruth WebsterWellbeing Coordinator, Solent Mind

You learn to perform in front of other people and gain confidence because of the supportive nature. We all got involved and people were interested in my opinion, which helped us all become friends.

Participant

Music is the only thing I’ve got that is keeping me well. Its pretty much my life now and it all started from SoCo. I have a new social life through music which keeps me busy and playing music has also improved my families’ social life too as I have people coming to the house to practice, whereas before we didn’t get out much. It’s a big element of what ever my future holds and is maintaining my recovery

Participant

SoCo’s courses allowed for more application of other skills such as assertiveness and confidence as they had more of a social element. It enabled me to apply these newly learnt/supported skills. Creativity allows for more freedom and can’t be compared to anything else. It was the next step for my progress.

Participant

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