Our approach and
Theory of Change

The mediums we use

We run communal music-making projects, but are most well-known for our gamelan (Indonesian percussion orchestras) work. Gamelan:

  • Is novel, so people enter at the same level, and tend not to form prejudices about it
  • Is accessible, and everyone, no matter how inexperienced can succeed at it, providing achievement
  • Music is formed of layers, so as players listen to fit their part in, they develop listening and non-verbal communication skills
  • Is communal, and everyone’s contribution is equally important, which helps participants to develop positive self-identities
  • Is adaptable for all abilities, so we can differentiate for people with diverse abilities, supporting, yet challenging them all
  • Is melodic, not just rhythmic, providing rich opportunities for musical development

We also use new technology, e.g. iPads, to support communal music-making activities. This allows us to create multi-sensory experiences that particularly engage young participants, and those with disabilities, limited mobility, sensory integration issues, and autism. We love combining communal music-making with other art-forms, such as spoken word, shadow-puppetry, dance and film.

Our approach

Our approach is beautifully-captured in an emerging piece of research, entitled, “Good Vibrations Facilitation: Creating Spaces for Dissonance and Harmony” by Dr Jennie Henley from the Royal College of Music. To read more, click here.

These elements of our approach are key to its effectiveness:

  • Our commitment to participants learning by doing
  • Participants creating their own music
  • The end of project performance in front of an audience
  • The fact it’s a communal music-making activity
  • Participants receiving a professionally-produced CD of their music
  • Using a digital recorder to support the group to listen, reflect and make improvements
  • Exploring social dynamics through the safe lens of music
  • Delicately creating a safe space to take risks in
  • Being non-judgemental
  • Focusing on shared responsibility
  • Facilitators remaining calm and defusing tension with good judgement
  • Facilitators being sensitive to individual needs and supportive of them

For the full research publications, visit the Arts Evidence Library.

Our Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change describes the need we are working to address, the changes we want to make, and how we achieve this.

  • For an overview of our Theory of Change, click here

Our values

Wrapped up in our approach is the way we try to embody our core values in all we do. Find out more here

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Photography by Toby Madden/The Independent, Osman Deen/South London Press, Camilla Panufnik, Elspeth Van Der Hole, GDA Design, Gigi Chiying Lam, G. Bland, Alan Bryden, Mark Carlin, Rachel Cherry, Francois Boutemy, Andy Hollingworth, Rebaz Yassin, and Guy Smallman.

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