Guest blog: Music and Mindfulness – Carrie Creamer talks about how music plays an important part in young people’s wellbeing
Music and Mindfulness
MusicMatters supports the health and wellbeing for children and young people in Wiltshire through music making. It forms part of Wiltshire Youth Arts Partnership (WYAP). It has a small but mighty team that has grown over the years, created lots of learning, some great experiences, progression and above all fun.
Music plays a key role to much of all of our learning; it can change our feelings, influence our mood and raises our spirit. For sure it supports us to articulate the things that we find most difficult to shape into words. I certainly have a top ten of songs to draw from in my happiest and darkest days. I make a mean mix tape.
This summer we have delivered a body of work with Trowbridge Arts, The Integrated Youth Service and the Virtual Schools team at The Aspire House. It has been a summer of new participants, new building and new partnerships. The music leaders who are resident artists with WYAP are worth their weight in gold and we have all fallen completely in love with Trowbridge Town Hall and Trowbridge Arts.
Mindfulness has had something of a rebirth in meditation practice. Scientific studies have guided its use in schools and medical centres. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, refers to a particular type of meditation practice that cultivates “a moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness“. So, in essence mindfulness is a way of paying attention.
We decided to try to apply it to our summer programme, how we listen and reflect on music and take notice. We used the Youth Music Evaluation scales to measure the wellbeing of young people with us over this summer. We saw 100% increase in all young people’s wellbeing, with more than 70% progressing from the bottom/middle score- to the top- high. The biggest issue for all of our participants is that 80% state that they are not engaged in informal music making in their local areas!
So, even more reason to make more music, engage with more offers, partnership and ways of working. Let’s listen and make music with children and young people!
Carrie Creamer, Wiltshire Youth Arts Coordinator