Our projects in wellbeing settings bring an invaluable emotional and creative outlet to the many people we reach in hospitals, hospital schools, hospices and care homes. Our current projects and partnerships are detailed below and you can read more about our full participation programme, including wellbeing case studies in our 30th year brochure.

Sound Young Minds

From 2017 to 2020, CLS has a three-year residency in the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School. Split over two sites in Beckenham and Camberwell, the school includes pupils aged six to 19 who are resident and day patients at the psychiatric hospital. The young people present a broad range of mental health illnesses and come from across London and other areas of the UK.

CLS’s artists and musicians work alongside students and staff to deliver a range of creative projects using instruments and technology that respond to the Orchestra’s artistic programmes. In these projects, the young people’s musical skills are developed through composition, singing, listening and performance, and they are provided with opportunities to work together, express themselves and build confidence and self-esteem.

As well as finding opportunities to share this work as part of concert programming, CLS is developing a pedagogy and practice that will be carried forward into other projects in this field and other areas of the Orchestra’s health and wellbeing work. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), based at the Maudsley Hospital site and part of King’s College London, are working with us to evaluate the impact of the music programme.


Our Sound Young Minds project won the 2020 RPS Impact Award. Find out more >>

Headway East London

CLS has been working with Headway East London, a charity that supports people affected by brain injury. Projects are planned in collaboration with everyone involved to make sure we design sessions that not only enhance the centre’s programme but also leave a lasting legacy. Projects respond to our artistic programmes and aim to raise the sense of musicianship amongst their members as well as find more ways for members with physical disabilities to access and engage with music making through music technology. Melodies, songs and sound installations are performed by Headway members and CLS players as part of HeadwayEATS, a monthly supper club for the centre’s supporters.


Hospice projects

These bespoke creative music-making projects are devised in partnership with St Christopher’s Hospice in Lewisham. CLS musicians and lead artists work with all members of the hospice including patients, families, staff and members of the community through a combination of active and passive music making and performance activities.


Room to Room Music

Led by Caroline Welsh, this project brings CLS musicians into care homes and uses responsive, spontaneous music-making to connect with residents, staff, visitors and volunteers. Working closely with care home staff who have daily contact with residents, musicians play in bedrooms and lounges using music as a tool for conversation and connection.

This project has been developed with Jewish Care’s Creative Arts Development and Living Well teams in response to Jewish Care’s want to pilot new ways of engaging with isolated residents. Music is created in the moment and in response to the individuals in the room. This might be a direct response to a resident singing or tapping their toes, or the creation of music to enhance or alter the atmosphere. Whatever the musicians find when they enter the room they then use as inspiration for playing, producing a truly unique, shared experience between players and residents.


Weekly hospital visits

For over twenty years, CLS musicians have been making weekly visits to children’s wards and hospital schools in London. We are currently regular visitors to Evelina and University College London Hospital where each week, under the guidance of hospital staff, visit the children’s wards including the Intensive Treatment Unit and Dialysis Ward as well as the Macmillan Cancer Centre. Using a combination of repertoire, improvisation and musical games, CLS musicians play to and with children, their families and nursing staff to excite, distract, comfort and sooth.