The wheelchair is invisible

The wheelchair is invisible

On 11 April, Linda Yates, Margaret Smith and Heather Strohschein presented The wheelchair is invisible – a conversation about accessibility and inclusivity in the time of Covid  at MACSEM 2021, a conference organised by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter for the Society for Ethnomusicology.

  • Margaret – a community musician who facilitates Good Vibrations’ Resonate project, which provides inclusive musical workshops
  • Linda – an amateur musician, participant advisor for Good Vibrations and representative of people with additional support needs
  • Heather – an ethnomusicologist whose works centres on gamelan outside of Indonesia, and community music-making

The video paper explored inclusivity, consent, ethnomusicology, academic language and accessibility. It was crafted from hours of conversations between Scotland and the USA. In it, Linda defined an inclusive session as one where, “All of it involves everybody. Nobody says, ‘You’re disabled, you can’t play that’. You learn at your own pace. Each person has got a different level of ability and they learn in their own time.” And, Heather, said the pandemic enabled her to do things she would never have been able to do before, like go to Resonate sessions (online) – “I can’t pop down to Resonate in Glasgow from Bowling Green, Ohio, usually!”

The approach they took and the resulting film was notably different, at an academic ethnomusicology conference. Katherine Metz, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Oberlin College, who was chairing the panel, was visibly moved. Delegates were “In awe of the presentation”. They “Loved this approach in that it’s focused on how it feels to engage with this process”. They remarked, “We so often lose the laughter in the translation to the academic realm”, and felt that “This presentation and format speaks to so many issues”.

Linda, Margaret and Heather want their conversation about accessibility and inclusivity to become a conversation with you. They invite you to watch it, share it and use it to start a conversation. Please feedback your thoughts by emailing Heather on or Mags on

Date: 25 June, 2021

Author: Katy Haigh, Executive Director, Good Vibrations

Design and build a new digital gamelan

Design and build a new digital gamelan

Author: Good Vibrations

National charity, Good Vibrations is calling for developers to submit proposals to design and build a new digital gamelan. Organisations and individuals who are interested should view and download the full brief here. Deadline for expressions of interest is the 9th December 2020. We plan to invite shortlisted people to present their initial proposals to us and discuss the project further on the week of the 14th December. This will be done virtually on Zoom.

Some of our aims, in commissioning this new digital gamelan, are to:

  • Enable novices, professionals and those in between to create and practise music on their own and with others using an accurate and authentic sounding digital gamelan orchestra
  • Help Good Vibrations continue generating positive personal, social and musical impacts for its target beneficiaries when our usual group gamelan projects can’t run
  • Help Good Vibrations continue generating positive impacts with participants post-project through a non-formal learning progression option that reinforces skills they developed and memories they experienced during their project with us
  • Enhance the experience for those already using digital gamelan, by improving the functionality offered, and maintaining the product robustly so its benefits are long-term
  • Generate another potentially impactful product and approach to add to Good Vibrations’ offer, to benefit a wider range of people in more ways in the future
  • Further widen access to the gamelan – enabling people to experience gamelan who can’t access a real gamelan orchestra or who are disinclined to give it a go

Good Vibrations remains committed to human, in person, group gamelan work remaining at the heart of what we do as a charity. We want to develop a virtual, technology-enabled strand using a digital gamelan to enhance our current offer, rather than replace it.

Date: 30 November 2020

Questions and answers about the commission: last updated 30 November 2020

Here is a list of questions people have put to us about this commission since advertising it, and our answers:

Q: “It has to *at least as good as* the one Wells Music School did a few years ago (Virtual Gamelan, sadly now – I think – unavailable) …”

A: “Yes, the, @UniOfYork R&D report and our feasibility study reached a similar conclusion! The brief we’ve put together name checks several highly rated past/existing digital gamelan and we are very keen for their developers to consider submitting a proposal for this new commission. We are in conversation with the developers of previous/existing digital gamelan to explore this option further.”

Q: “I was assuming this digital gamelan was just meant for gamelan musicians, and given the partnership with The University of York, they would develop the app. Is that not correct?”

A. “No, we want this digital gamelan to be both 1) Accessible for complete beginners and 2) Able to provide quite advanced functionality and features to experienced gamelan musicians. We know this is a huge ask! We recognise that our desired functionality, as set out in the brief, will only be able to be achieved in phased developments over time. We want prospective developers to have the confidence to present their proposals for that phasing to us. This is a project we value and want to support and develop long-term. We see the multitude of benefits it could bring – see the brief for full details of these. And, yes, this is a partnership project with The University of York, but we are opening out this commission to everyone to be fair and to increase the chances of us gaining more diverse proposals from a wide variety of developers. We are also keen for people who have already developed a digital gamelan to consider joining forces with us on this commission, to develop something even more accessible, with more functionality as per what the research says users want, and what Good Vibrations anticipates its target audiences will benefit from.”

Q: “Is this opportunity only open to UK developers?”

A: “No, it is open to everyone.”

Q. “Is Good Vibrations expecting all the desired features and functionality in the brief to be delivered in one phase, before April 2021?”

A. “No, we appreciate this this is an extremely ambitious brief, and at this point in time, we want developers to tell us how they would deliver phase 1 – but future-proofing it ready for the later phases.”

Positive family relationships help reduce the chances of re-offending

Positive family relationships help reduce the chances of re-offending

Author: Good Vibrations

This beautiful comic was created by Studio Lindsay (@Studio.Lindsay) for The New Issue magazine in 2020. It was based on a Big Issue North article by Deborah Mulhearn about her visit to a Good Vibrations family gamelan project at Liverpool Prison. It depicts how Good Vibrations is working to use gamelan to help men, women and young people in prisons and young offender institutions to develop better relationships with their family members. Positive family relationships are a crucial factor in reducing the chances of people re-offending when they have served their sentence and been released.

We do this work in partnership with the secure institutions and education providers working within them, such as Novus. The projects are supported by wonderful funders such as the National Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, National Foundation for Youth Music and more.

You can click on the images to enlarge them, and we’ve even made a short film of this comic with a gamelan soundtrack on our You Tube page.










Members of our Resonate project interview Bill Bailey

Members of our Resonate project interview Bill Bailey

One of Good Vibrations’ patrons, talented musician and comedian, Bill Bailey, gave members of our Glasgow Resonate group an exclusive interview earlier this year. The experience gave them an insight into how he handles nerves when performing, why he likes gamelan so much, and who inspired him early on in his musical career.

This interview took place as part of Exploring Performance, a project that the group came up with themselves as a way of developing their skills and knowledge as musicians and performers.

You can watch the short film of the interview here.

Exploring Performance

Exploring Performance

We’re delighted to launch a short film about Exploring Performance – a fantastic idea conceived by our Glasgow Resonate group. You can watch it here.

On this project, group members interviewed and improvised with famous world music artists, Bill Bailey and Bapak Prasadiyanto, and went to a Gamelan Naga Mas concert at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The video thanks all the wonderful supporters who made this project possible. We are looking for to growing this work in the future.

Loophole Music – providing stimulation and a safe space for self-expression at Bethlem Royal Hospital

Loophole Music – providing stimulation and a safe space for self-expression at Bethlem Royal Hospital

Loophole Music is a communal music making project at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in South London supporting patients’ wellbeing and recovery. The Maudsley Charity are generously supporting this project over three years, with funding coming from The National Foundation for Youth Music too.

The Maudsley Charity has written this great article about Loophole Music and the difference their funding is making to patients at the hospital through the project.

“Each Loophole session we do shows us the empowerment that comes from music making. The secret ingredient behind this confidence building exercise is that it is enveloped in fun.”

Kieran Plunkett, facilitator



Big Issue North’s article on our work in prison with families

Big Issue North’s article on our work in prison with families

On 16 December 2019, Big Issue North ran an article on our work with men at HMP Liverpool and their families. Deborah Mulhearn’s article brilliantly evokes the sounds and emotions of these projects:

“The prison chapel at HM Prison Liverpool is a large and lofty room at the top of the old Walton Gaol. It’s a space that must hold some heartbreaking stories within its grim Victorian walls. But charity Good Vibrations has brought it to life with an unusual music project that fills it with the joyful sound of the gamelan, an Indonesian percussion orchestra …”

We are running family gamelan projects across England over the next five years, with funding from organisations such as The National Lottery, Arts Council England, The National Foundation for Youth Music, Evan Cornish Foundation and The Bromley Trust. These projects aim to support people in prison with their desistance journeys by helping them improve relationships with their families.

Read more here.

If you are are interested in this work, please contact to find out more.


Creative Scotland and the Spirit of Hope

We are delighted to announce that Creative Scotland has awarded us with £33,800 to grow our highly successful Resonate project in Glasgow in 2018 and ’19. This project will see us work once again with the city’s beautiful Spirit of Hope gamelan orchestra to support communities with different abilities and needs to integrate more closely through shared creative experiences.

We are indebted to funders such as Creative Scotland, The Hugh Fraser Foundation and The Henry Smith Charity who have given financial support to enable this highly impactful project to take place over the last few years, and we also want to thank those organisations and individuals who have given donations, given their time, and shared their resources in support of Resonate.

We will be up and running again from May 2018! Contact to find out more about taking part in:

  • Thursday afternoon gamelan sessions in Campbell House (in the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital)
  • Week-long residencies combining expressive movement, gamelan, found sound and music technology (across the city)
Volunteering with Crisis at Christmas

Volunteering with Crisis at Christmas

We were delighted to be part of the amazing Crisis at Christmas volunteer effort in London on the 25th and 27th December, an event that provides help for homeless people at a critical time of year.

Good Vibrations’ facilitator, Kieran Plunkett, and Collin Chace, from Core Arts, volunteered two days’ of their time to run music production workshops as part of this event. We are extremely grateful to them. Kieran is also the bassist in punk band, The Restarts, and Collin is lead singer in electronic soul and world pop grooves band, Juha.

During this multi-day event, homeless Londoners could take part as guests in a wide variety of activities. They could experience workshops in yoga, creative writing, and music-making, and they could get their hair cut, have a dental appointment, get benefits advice, and develop their computer skills. Kieran and Collin’s Good Vibrations music sessions, attended by 16 people, gave guests the opportunity to sing and freestyle on a vocal PA, and to produce their own tracks.  Participants were mainly men, and many of them had complex needs.

This track is by DJ Crisis,, a stunning guest who took part in our workshops. Having worked as a DJ spinning vinyl in the past, and coming from a family of dance music producers, he used Garageband to create this track on an iPad – his first foray into creating original electronic music.

If you’d like to get involved next Christmas, get in touch with Crisis to tell them about your idea. Find out more:

Daisy Beau – the human jukebox

Daisy Beau – the human jukebox

In autumn 2017, we ran the 2017 Bill Bailey Fundraising Award competition. The aim was for entrants to come up with creative ways to raise money for Good Vibrations, and winners received lots of Bill Bailey goodies – tour tickets, signed photos etc. – plus the accolade of winning the award.

We are thrilled to announce that Daisy Beau was the winner of The 2017 Platinum Bill Bailey Fundraising Award. Daisy raise hundreds of pounds for Good Vibrations and the judges were highly impressed by her fun and innovative human juke box fundraiser, which generated a lot of new interest in our work and impact.

To hear some of the tracks she performed, visit: – For a Radiohead number – for Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Thanks Daisy for your fantastic achievements!

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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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