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BOOK NOW FOR MUSIC LIVE IN MARCH 2020

GET INVOLVED IN AN ENSEMBLE FOR 2019/20

BE PART OF A SCI-FI MUSICAL SPECTACULAR THIS CHRISTMAS

OVERTURE BRINGS INSTRUMENTAL LEARNING BACK INTO CAMBRIDGESHIRE SCHOOLS FOR JUST 1.88 A WEEK

PUBLISHED AUGUST 2019

School pupils in Cambridgeshire are being given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument for less than £2 a week through a programme that has been praised for helping to ‘transform’ local music education.

NEW SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS IN EDUCATIONAL 'TRANSITION'

PUBLISHED AUGUST 2019

Some of the most challenging moments in any young person’s educational career occur when they start a new school or move between stages: from early years into school, primary to secondary, or from secondary into further education. When a young person also has additional needs, they can often feel lost, lonely, or vulnerable, and there is sometimes a danger that this could lead to longer-term well-being issues.

ARTISTS NEEDED FOR CHRISTMAS POSTER COMPETITION

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

Are you a budding artist as well as a musician? If so, Cambridgeshire Music needs you to help design a poster for the Cambridgeshire County Youth Orchestra’s ‘Christmas to the Stars’ concert, which will be taking place on 21 December this year.

INTRODUCING THE ROOTS BAROQUE ENSEMBLE

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

Cambridgeshire now has its very own Baroque ensemble for young musicians – and if you play a string instrument, certain woodwind instruments, or keyboard to Grade 4 or above there will be new opportunities to get involved from September!

DISCOVER INDIAN MUSIC WITH AN INTERNATIONAL VIOLINIST

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

A really exciting opportunity for string players to explore and learn Indian music with a leading performer of the ‘Jog Gharana’ Hindustani style of violin-playing is coming up this October. The session will be led by Pandit Pallab Bandyopadhyay, a music teacher and composer who has performed throughout the world.

LAST CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO JOIN SINGFEST

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

Most of the places for next academic year’s SingFest have already been taken, but if you would like to join, Cambridgeshire Music can still accommodate two more schools on the project, which starts in September.

JOIN A CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC BAND OR ENSEMBLE

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

Bookings for Cambridgeshire Music’s ensembles for the 2019/20 academic year are now open. Whatever your instrument or level, there are plenty of opportunities to play amazing music, improve your skills, and make new friends.

LIVE PERFORMANCE BY SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

Visitors to Wisbech’s annual Rose Fair on July 4 were treated to a live musical performance by pupils from Meadowgate Academy, a school for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The school orchestra was formed less than a year ago and is the only one of its kind in Cambridgeshire.

RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR MUSIC LIVE

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

An evaluation of Music Live, a festival run by Cambridgeshire Music that brings live performances directly into schools, has found that it reached a record audience of at least 16,000 young people this year – many of whom have been inspired to take their music further.

APPLY FOR A CO-CREATION GRANT WITH CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC

PUBLISHED JULY 2019

If you are developing a music education programme or project in Cambridgeshire, either as an individual or organisation, you may be able to apply for support in the form of a Co-creation Grant through Cambridgeshire Music.

JOIN CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC FOR SUMMER PERFORMANCES

PUBLISHED MAY 2019

With the final weeks of the school year fast approaching, Cambridgeshire County Youth Orchestra and Cambridgeshire County Youth Wind Orchestra are looking forward to several end-of-year concerts. If you are a young classical musician in Cambridgeshire and fancy being part of either (or both!) there are still some places available.

STRING PLAYERS WANTED FOR NEW BAROQUE ENSEMBLE

STUDY AND PLAY LIVE WITH TOP JAZZ MUSICIANS

MUSIC-MAKING FOR YOUNG FAMILIES PROVES A HIT

DEVELOPING YOUNG MUSICIANS WITH CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2019

In May 2017, Cambridgeshire Music provided part of the funding towards a £60,000 project run by the Cambridge Junction (also supported by Cambridge City Council and Arts Council England) to create new opportunities for young musicians. Now, a new report has been released which shows the impact that these activities had, not just on their music-making, but on their lives beyond music as well.

WRITE YOUR OWN 'EARTH' TUNE WITH BBC TEN PIECES

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2019

If you’ve ever heard Gustav Holst’s famous orchestral suite, The Planets, you may have noticed the surprising omission of Earth from the list of planets that the composer reimagined in musical form!

Now, the BBC is asking schools to fill that gap as part of its ‘Ten Pieces’ programme – a nationwide project which introduces young people to classical music by focusing on a selection of famous works, supported by free teaching resources, short films, lesson plans and more.

PLAY WITH A TOP STRING QUARTET: 10 MARCH

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2019

If you’re a string player in Cambridgeshire and have reached Grade 5 or above, there is a fantastic chance to play with a top ensemble – the Ligeti String Quartet – in Cambridge next month.

PLAY FILM MUSIC, TV THEMES, MOBILE TONES AND MORE AS PART OF A BAND OR ENSEMBLE IN 2019!

Whether you’ve been playing an instrument for years or are just starting out, the New Year is the perfect time to start making music with like-minded people, and we have plenty of ways to do just that in 2019.

If playing pop, rock, folk, acoustic or metal is your thing, our School of Rock and Pop is a great way to hone your skills as a songwriter and band member. The School meets at centres across the county each week.

Musicians who are Grade 2 or above can sign up to one of our Area Music Centres, both of which are preparing some fantastic, fresh spring programmes. Following the success of its Walk On The Wild Side concert last month, the Cambridge Area Music Centre will be back in action on Friday evenings, starting 11 January with a spring term programme entitled Screen Time. It covers music inspired by classic films, television shows, computer games – even mobile phones. The Ely Area Music Centre restarts the following day, on Saturday 12 January, and will be working on music inspired by Travels Through Time and Space, covering popular TV and film themes, plus classics with a sci-fi flavour.

Advanced musicians who have achieved the equivalent of Grade 5 on their first instrument could look into joining one of our sectional ensembles. Even if you weren’t part of one of these ensembles this term, they are often on the look out for new musicians and happy to hear from prospective players. This year, the String Ensemble are working on classical music from stage and screen, the Woodwind Ensemble are preparing some rarely-performed Mozart works, while the Brass Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble are both working on their own exciting and challenging repertoire.

Full details about all of our bands and clubs can be found here

'FANTASY' COMPOSERS NEEDED FOR MAJOR AWARD

Young composers are being invited to submit their scores for this year’s National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award, details of which have just been announced. The successful entries will be able to witness their work being performed professionally for a national broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

This major national annual award is being run in partnership with the virtuoso viol player, Liam Byrne, who will play the winning entries in a public performance that will be recorded for Radio 3’s Early Music Show next year. To enter, composers are asked to create a 'Fantasy' for solo viol, or viol and electronics. The Fantasy is an exciting form of music that has flourished since the Renaissance and involves elaborately and inventively spinning out a single musical idea.

Applicants must be young composers resident in the UK in one of two age categories: 18 years and under, or 19 to 25 years. To take part, you need to register by Friday, 15 February 2019. Composers whose works are shortlisted will be invited to the National Centre for Early Music in York on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 May, when their compositions will be presented in a workshop led by composer Christopher Fox. The entries will then be played for a panel of judges, and final winners from both age groups will be announced. For full details, visit the NCEM website here: www.ncem.co.uk

NEW EDUCATION INITIATIVE AIMS TO ADDRESS THE STATE OF MUSIC IN OUR SCHOOLS

PUBLISHED JANUARY 2019

A project which trials a new model for music provision in schools, and aims to address falling participation in the subject, has been launched this week.

WANT TO START A BAND? READ OUR NEW GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR SHOW ON THE ROAD IN 2019.

If you’re a lone bedroom musician armed only with an instrument and a dream, a New Year's resolution to start a band could be one of the most rewarding things you do in 2019. But how do you get started?

To help, Cambridgeshire Music is releasing a brand new guide to starting a band, which is free to download and aimed at teenagers who are thinking of setting up their own musical outfit. It features contributions from Nick Mulvey - a successful singer-songwriter who grew up in Cambridgeshire and took lessons with Cambridgeshire Music - and Ross Wilson, who runs Cambridgeshire Music's School of Rock & Pop.

Whether you're into rock, pop, folk, jazz, metal, dance, or another style altogether, it's full of information about things like how to find bandmates, get your band organised, make the most of rehearsals, get gigs and even start making money.

To download the whole guide now for free, click on the thumbnail below:

GET STARTED WITH ARTSMARK

By working with Artsmark, teachers develop a plan to introduce more arts and cultural activites into their school in a way that suits their wider timetabling needs. Each plan helps pupils to create, compose and perform, helping to develop their confidence, creative thinking, communication and leadership skills. The programme also has proven benefits for disadvantaged pupils.

Achieving an Artsmark award not only helps schools to raise their profile and fulfil various Ofsted requirements – it also puts them in touch with organisations that can introduce them to new arts and cultural opportunities for young people and genuinely enrich their pupils’ education. Several of our own projects here at Cambridgeshire Music help schools to work towards their Artsmark award in this way.

The Artsmark Development Day is the first step in developing an Artsmark plan for your school. It will take place at The Maltings, Ely, at 10am on 29 January. To participate, teachers need to register first on the Artsmark website here: www.artsmark.org.uk

POWERFUL REMEMBRANCE CONCERT BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE YOUTH WIND ORCHESTRA WINS AUDIENCE ACCLAIM

Members of the Cambridgeshire Youth Wind Orchestra have been praised for a “wonderful” and “stirring” concert which they gave in Chatteris as part of this year’s events marking the end of the First World War.

CALLING ADULT INSTRUMENTAL PLAYERS

Are you an adult looking for an intermediate level ensemble experience? Perhaps you used to play an instrument and are struggling to find a friendly and encouraging environment in which to get back to playing?

If so, please get in touch, as we are considering offering such an opportunity and would be keen to hear from anyone who might be interested. Please email cm@cambridgeshire.gov.uk if you would like to be kept up to date with our plans.

FREE RESOURCE TO GET LITTLE FEET DANCING

Dream With Your Feet is a new, free collection of music and accompanying teaching ideas that connect dance and music to the wider Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the Key Stage 1 Curriculum. Each lesson is based around a musical gem drawn from a wide range of styles, genres and traditions, from Teddy Bears’ Picnic to the Cancan!

The collection is an update of an earlier resource called Little Pieces that was created back in 2003. The update was supported by a partnership between Cambridgeshire Music and the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust. See full details online here.

DISABLED PUPILS TO CREATE THEIR OWN OPEN ORCHESTRA

The project is being delivered through a partnership between Cambridgeshire Music and Open Orchestras, a national organisation that works with music hubs across the country to create ensembles for young people with disabilities. Pupils create music using specially designed digital instruments that can be played with any part of the body – such as the head, feet and even the eyes. The music itself is reworked to make sure that anyone can join in.

We’re really excited about the project and will be reporting on how it goes later this year. Find out more about Open Orchestras, on their website here: https://www.openorchestras.org/

CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC LIVE IS BACK - AND BIGGER!

For the first time, we will bring the experience to schools in Norfolk and Bedford as well as Cambridgeshire.

Each year, Cambridgeshire Music Live sees performers from top orchestras and bands come in to schools, give concerts, run workshops and play their music with young musicians. This year’s line-up features a host of new artists as well as much-loved regulars, covering a huge range of genres.

The events will run during March next year, and we will be sending brochures out to schools later this month. Concerts and workshops are aimed at specific Key Stages, from nursery and pre-school to Key Stage 4. Cambridgeshire Music Live can also support students with an Arts Award and schools with achieving Artsmark.

See more about Cambridgeshire Music Live here

MAKE SOME NOISE: BRAND NEW ELY AREA MUSIC CENTRE WILL HELP TAKE YOUNG MUSICIANS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

BRASS EFFECT HELPS SAWSTON PUPILS ACHIEVE ARTS AWARD

SIGN UP, SING OUT: SING FOR YOUR SCHOOL IS BACK THIS SEPTEMBER

DON'T MISS OUT ON OUR 2018/19 SERVICES!

If you are still thinking about taking advantage of Cambridgeshire Music's courses during the 2018/19 academic year, please hurry because spaces are filling up fast! We do have a few places left for most of our projects and services, so there is still time to ensure that young people in your school can enjoy playing, singing and recording music with us from September.

A huge range of opportunities are on offer, whether you are looking for cost-effective music lessons as part of the school curriculum, or want to participate in one of our programmes for instrumental learning, singing or live performance. We also have a range of Arts for Health and Wellbeing services to support people of all ages.

Find details of all our services and book online here

REMINDER: SIGN UP FOR ENSEMBLES AND TUITION

Ensembles are a superb way to stretch your musical abilities, develop new skills, play exciting repertoire to a high standard and make new friends along the way! The programme for next academic year lives up to that billing whatever your preferred instrument. Our County Youth Orchestra will cover an eclectic programme drawn from classic movie musicals, while the County Youth Wind Orchestra's programme pays tribute to the brilliance of Leonard Bernstein, Suppe, Berlioz, Offenbach and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Each of our sectional ensembles will also be working on exciting and challenging new repertoire in their own right.

If you are a parent or carer of a child who is currently receiving tuition or in an ensemble, don't forget to:

- Book/rebook their lessons
- Book/rebook their bands or ensembles
- Book/rebook their instrument loan
- Update your online account if they are changing schools

Details of tuition are here: https://www.cambridgeshiremusic.org.uk/pages/discover-music/tuition/learn-to-play-or-sing.html

You can register for ensembles here: https://www.cambridgeshiremusic.org.uk/pdf/cm-bands-and-ensembles-registration-form-2018-19.pdf

Or go to your account from our homepage here: https://www.cambridgeshiremusic.org.uk/

CAMBRIDGESHIRE LIVE 2018 INVOLVED 12,000 PEOPLE

PUBLISHED JULY 2018

This March no less than 12,000 people were involved in the incredibly successful annual festival, Cambridgeshire Music Live that brings young people up close with professional musicians.

BOOK NOW FOR SING FOR YOUR SCHOOL

PUBLISHED JULY 2018

Sign up for a fantastic songwriting experience this September.

MUSICNET EAST PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHES SOCIALLY AMBITIOUS 4-YEAR PROJECT

PUBLISHED JUNE 2018

Cambridgeshire Music will be playing a major part in a four-year programme to help children and young people in challenging circumstances, and their families, through music.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC AMONG TOP FIVE IN REGION FOR DELIVERING ARTS AWARD

FREE WEB RESOURCES TO TEACH COMPOSITION

Listen, Imagine, Compose offers free schemes of work and lesson plans, all created by composers working with a teacher and a class of pupils, with ideas for composing at KS3 and KS4. The site also provides information about the partnership’s Continuing Professional Development course for KS3, GCSE and A level music teachers, which aims to inspire and nurture creative approaches to composition.

Find out more at www.listenimaginecompose.com

JOIN THE CAMBRIDGESHIRE HOLIDAY ORCHESTRA THIS AUGUST

Activities feature jazz, recorders, gamelan, ukuleles, djembe drumming, music games, music theory, brass workshop and double-bass tasting. There will also be a Music Theory section, covering the basic subjects of Grade 5.

This year a generous endowment from Alison and Alan Suter has allowed the orchestra to commission a piece from Cottenham-based composer Maurice Hodges, which will be performed by the Upper Orchestra (for players of Grade 6 and above) and the age 10 and age 9 choirs.

When: Monday 21 to Friday 25 August
Where: West Road Concert Hall
For more information and to book a place see link: www.holidayorchestra.co.uk

A FURTHER STEP FORWARD FOR CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR CULTURE

Arts Council of England have awarded Cambridgeshire County Council £1million towards the CREATE (Centre for Research and Engagement in Arts, Technology and Education) project, consisting of £111K development funding to complete the planning processes, and the remainder to be drawn down as Stage 2 after that point is successfully completed.

The facility aims to bring technology, arts and education together as part of Cambridgeshire Music’s strategy for “makespaces” for communities across the county, enabling high quality recorded and live educational content to be streamed into homes and schools across Cambridgeshire.

The plan envisions work on St Luke’s Barn on the site of the former St Luke’s Primary school, in French’s Road, Cambridge to develop rehearsal, recording and broadcasting spaces for local musicians; a junior conservatoire to develop young talent and greater access to arts therapies for North Cambridge residents.

Matthew Gunn, Head of Cambridgeshire Music, explains: “The whole idea of teaching music by Skype is very new. NESTA funded the first wave of research by North Yorkshire Music Action Zone (NYMAZ) which proved it worked as a concept. We have followed this up with our own research: we are giving lessons to a young percussion learner in Germany from our Huntingdon Centre to trial this exciting new technique – and it is working really well.”

Today’s award means that a potential £2.3m has been raised towards a £3.6m target, and is now dependent on generating a further £1.3m from the private sector.

As part of the next stage of the project Cambridgeshire Music will seek a business partner for headline sponsorship, as well as applying for further grants and launching a big crowdfunding campaign aimed at individuals.

Progress on the development of the CREATE project, will be discussed at the County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee meeting on July 28.

“Cambridgeshire County Council is committed to developing projects that support every part of our community, recognising our need to generate income and reduce inefficiencies and costs associated with our assets, “ said Cllr Josh Schumann, chair of the Commercial and investment committee.

“As part of this commitment we will consider how to lever the essential extra funding to progress this project, considering all options to bring this redundant site back into use in the best possible way for the people of Cambridgeshire.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We’re really pleased to support Cambridgeshire Music’s ambitious plans to develop a National Research Centre in Cambridge. Music is a really important part of every child’s education and, if successful at Stage 2, this will provide many more opportunities for children and young people in Cambridgeshire to participate in music, dance and drama.”

CHEQUE FOR MUSIC THERAPY - GENEROUS FUNDRAISERS SUPPORT CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC

PUBLISHED MAY 2017
A big thank you to Marlene and Dave Hearne (pictured with music therapist Jo Tomlinson), who raised an impressive £1,055 for Cambridgeshire Music, to support children with additional needs.

PLAY WITH MUSICIANS FROM FRANCE AND GERMANY THIS SUMMER

PUBLISHED MAY 2017
If you are a good Grade 5 or above in an orchestral instrument, and between 12 and 18 there is an exciting opportunity to play in an international orchestra this summer with young players from France and Germany.

ALISON BALSOM PERFORMS WITH 70 PLAYERS OF MIXED AGES

PUBLISHED APRIL 2017
A large brass band with 70 musicians of mixed ages performed a fantastic concert in February at the Cambridge Corn Exchange of music composed by a local 19-year-old. This was part of Cambridge Live’s prestigious Classical Concert Series.

SING FOR YOUR SCHOOL CELEBRATION IS A BIG HIT!

PUBLISHED MAY 2017
“Like the Brits only better” is how one child described the awe-inspiring Sing For Your School final ceremony at the Corn Exchange on 2 March. This was the culmination of the this majore new project, with eight schools performing their songs to a packed audience of friends and family members.

HUNTINGDON SCHOOL SPARKS GREATER LOVE OF MUSIC IN NORMALLY UNINTERESTED TEENAGERS

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2017
A secondary school in Huntingdon is bucking the trend and getting large numbers of teenagers heavily into performing and composing music, thanks to some cleverly designed activities, plus support from the county music service, Cambridgeshire Music.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC STAFF CHOOSE THEIR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Their choices list 6 carols, 5 pop songs, 4 pieces of classical music, one jazz number, and a piece of light classical. The best known are O Little Town of Bethlehem written by Ralph Vaughan Williams from an English folk ballad called ‘The Ploughboy's Dream’, Dreaming of a White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby, and In the Bleak Midwinter, words by English poet Christina Rossetti.

Cambridgeshire Music is the county music service and hub, making music happen all across the county for young people – both in and out of school. The team organises thousands of music lessons, the country orchestras, choirs and bands, as well as providing music therapy for all ages. All genres are covered - jazz, rock, pop, world music, classical, opera and folk.

The staff at Cambridgeshire Music work with music all through the year. All have musical backgrounds, with experience of different areas of the music industry including teaching, playing and management. But week in, week out they are either organising or leading musical lessons, choirs, bands and workshops.

Denise Thompson, Business Support Officer, has particularly enjoyed the experience of choosing her tune: “I think this is an exercise everyone should do at this time of year. It really helps you focus and get everything in perspective.”

The team has the list playing in their office and foyer in Huntingdon through the day. “It’s really lifted the mood listening to lovely pieces of music all day, and it adds depth to the experience knowing each tune has a special meaning for someone in our team,” said Head of Service Matthew Gunn.

Matthew’s own choice was In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke version) “as it was my mother’s favourite carol”. Head of Business Development, Julia Ient chose Calypso Carol “because it’s fun to accompany on the piano”. Head of Instrumental Studies, David Southern chose White Christmas, particularly the big band versions, as “it epitomises everybody’s dream of waking up to a blanket of snow on the day itself”. Music Development Manager, Ross Wilson’s choice was What If by Kate Winslet: “One of the first songs I learnt to play on the piano, and accompanies one of my favourite books A Christmas Carol”. While Instrumental Tutor Peter Noble chose Balulalow from Britten's Ceremony of Carols as he “first heard it at a Christmas concert at university in the middle of a snowstorm – and it turned out to be a magical evening”.

Most recently Cambridgeshire Music organised the ‘Sing For Your School’ project, an ambitious project which has sparked over 30 schools across the country to compose and perform a song.  The final for the best song will be in the Corn Exchange in early March.

Here’s the full list Cambridgeshire Music staff Christmas music list:

Mark Aldous: anything with sleigh bells
Helen Allen: O Little Town of Bethlehem – always been my favourite carol
Anne Atkinson: Star Carol, John Rutter
Michelle Brace: It's a Holiday Soul Party, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (favourite track: Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects)
Alex Bowen: All I Want For Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey
Dan Brinsdon: Boars Head Carol
Matthew Gunn: In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke version) as it was my mother’s favourite carol. Also Healey-Hutchinson’s Carol Symphony
Lin Hetherington: Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Vaughan Williams
Julia Ient: Calypso Carol, because it’s fun to accompany on the piano
Peter Noble: Balulalow from Britten's Ceremony of Carols. I first heard it at a Christmas concert at university in the middle of a snowstorm – a magical evening
Charlotte Sankey: Zither Carol – I just love the simple beauty of the chorus
David Southern: White Christmas, particularly the big band versions. It epitomises everybody’s dream of waking up to a blanket of snow on the day itself
Denise Thompson: No Wind at the Window a John Bell song from Innkeepers and Light Sleepers. It is magical.
Ross Wilson: What If by Kate Winslet; one of the first songs I learnt to play on the piano, and accompanies one of my favourite books A Christmas Carol.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE MUSIC OPENS NEW MUSIC THERAPY CLINIC OUTSIDE THE CITY TO MARK WORLD MUSIC THERAPY DAY, 5 JULY

A disaffected and isolated teenager at risk of exclusion from school who gained huge new self-confidence and found kindness; a man with dementia who overcame his loss of language to communicate in new ways and play his clarinet again – these are just some examples of the power of music therapy, and how it can change the lives of young and old alike.

Now a new clinic run by Cambridgeshire Music in Huntingdon is making sure this vital service is available not just in Cambridge but across the whole of the county. Cambridgeshire Music operates one of the largest teams of music therapists in the country. Since its establishment in 1995 the team has gone from strength to strength with music therapists working with individuals, as well as in special schools, mainstream schools, units attached to schools, clinics and children's centres across Cambridgeshire.

“We noticed that there was a real gap in provision in areas such as Soham, Ely and Huntingdon,” explains Orla Casey, Head of Music Therapy at Cambridgeshire Music. “Our clinic will give even more children and families access to this special therapy, which can open up channels of communication when verbal skills are limited, and really improve emotional and psychological wellbeing. And you don’t have to know how to play an instrument to do it.”

Cambridgeshire Music is part of Cambridgeshire County Council which, as well as music therapy, provides schools and individuals in the county with music tuition, organises county orchestras and ensembles and supports schools in developing music in their curriculum. It recently launched Sing For Your School, a project which gets every school composing and performing their own songs.

Music therapy uses music as a way to connect in a non-verbal way. Just as a parent instinctively responds to sounds made by their child, developing a shared language over time, a music therapist will start with whatever the client wants to express. So if an angry child wants to bang loudly on a drum for an hour, the therapist will ‘meet them in the music’ – allowing that expression and improvising with them, helping them to develop a more interactive way of playing that encourages listening and following instead of just leading.

It is particularly effective for people with autism, dementia, mental health issues or relationship difficulties, and helps build communication skills, and supports self-awareness, identity and emotional development.

Richard was a difficult 15 year old. Adopted at a young age, he had lost contact with his only brother, and had difficulties with his adoptive parents. He loved playing the guitar, so when he had the chance to take part in music therapy sessions at his school he was interested. Over the course of a year, Richard changed from a disruptive, competitive member of the group, to a sensitive and supportive friend helping the other students to feel included. He worked hard learning pop songs he loved, discovering different ways to express the songs’ moods. His self-confidence soared and he became an open-minded and thoughtful young man, able to make informed decisions about his future.

Leading the way in international research into music therapy and autism, Cambridgeshire Music received a £88,000 research award from the Grieg Academy of Music Therapy, Norway and the Evelyn Trust, which enabled 40 children aged 4-7 with a diagnosis of autism to receive intensive music therapy. Members of the team will be presenting initial findings at the prestigious European Music Therapy Conference which begins today in Vienna.

Cambridgeshire Music’s work with people with dementia is also having a major impact. Dementia can gradually close the door on language, leaving sufferers feeling isolated and unable to follow conversations or understand a joke. Edward’s world was shrinking as his dementia took hold, until he began music therapy. The encouragement of his therapist enabled him to rediscover his love of the clarinet, in a safe atmosphere where we could express his true feelings.

“We often improvised together on the clarinet, and on one occasion this led to a very soulful and melancholy interaction,” explains Mary, Edward’s musical therapist. “In his playing it seemed as though he was able to tell me about his difficulties in communicating and how frustrating or sad they made him.”