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. In 2020, our Sound Young Minds programme achieved the Impact Award in the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. Our current projects and partnerships are detailed below.

Sound Young Minds

Since 2017, CLS has held a residency in the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School. Split over two sites in Beckenham and Camberwell, the school includes pupils aged eight to 18 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.

Sound Young Minds has extended into Lavender Walk Adolescent Unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and will also go into Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in Autumn 2021. We have successfully adapted the project to take place online via Zoom.

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. Open Academy Fellows from the Royal Academy of Music are part of the artistic team and 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.

Room to Room Music

Room to Room Music takes 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 aim to develop 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.

This project has been successfully adapted to take place online via Zoom.

To find out more about the project, take a look at 'Playing the Room', written by Judy Herman for Jewish Renaissance Magazine.

Headway East London

CLS has been working with Headway East London, a charity that supports people affected by brain injury for over three years. 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 Headway EATS, a monthly supper club for the centre’s supporters, and have also appeared at CLS performances.

Hospice projects

Our bespoke creative music-making projects in hospices 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 and staff to create their own artistic responses to themes and repertoire from CLS’s concert series.

Music for Children in Hospital

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 London Children’s Hospital and University College London Hospital where each week, under the guidance of hospital staff, they visit the children’s wards – including the Intensive Treatment Unit and Dialysis Ward – as well as the Macmillan Cancer Centre. Using a variety of listening, learning and creative music-making activities, CLS musicians play to and with hospital school pupils and their families, capturing their interest and imagination.

Social Prescribing projects with Tessa Jowell Health Centre

The Tessa Jowell Health Centre in East Dulwich has been created to improve access to GP and community care for the residents of south Southwark and surrounding area, delivering a range of health and holistic wellbeing services at one site. As well as providing a number of primary care services, children’s services, some diagnostics, physiotherapy unit, community mental health services, renal dialysis unit and services for patients with long-term conditions, the Centre will also accommodate non-clinical community services and a health hub for voluntary sector activities. Alongside the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Breathe, we will be delivering participatory music sessions at the Centre to people referred to us by GPs. Our Mindful Music online pilot project will take place in March 2021.

Comfortable Classical

In partnership with the Albany, Deptford, Comfortable Classical concerts invite anyone and everyone, from young children to older adults, to experience orchestral music. These concerts are relaxed and feature introductions from the musicians and conversation and interaction with the audience, as well as inspiring performances of classical music. Our audience members are also encouraged to dance, draw and colour while they listen to the music. This programme was adapted during lockdown into the digital series Comfortable Classical at Home, where CLS musicians hosted and performed interactive concerts from their homes, and also Comfortable Classical with the Doctors, a series of online concerts performed from hospitals by medical staff alongside CLS musicians.