Working at well-being through music therapy

Music For Health Workshop based in Rye
Music For Health Workshop based in Rye

The Music Well based in Rye is working locally with a mission of “wellbeing through music”.

It sees itself as a ‘well’ to fill with musical resources to draw upon to support health and happiness, and has professional music therapists working with local schools and individuals with a wide range of health needs, from autism to depression, learning difficulties to neurological problems.

The Music Well runs singing for wellbeing groups, music for health workshops for more senior residents, improvisation groups and drum circles. It has its own jazz band for fundraising events, and if there is a perceived health need in the community tries to come up with a musical solution.

A spokesman said: “We are currently running Mary’s Fund which has been set up by the family of seven year old Mary Shipstone, murdered by her father in September 2014.

Mary had been having a course of music therapy through The Music Well to help her deal with having been ‘on the run’ from her abusive father for many years. Sadly he caught up with the family and shot her before shooting himself. The family felt that other children might benefit from music therapy to deal with their own difficult circumstances and set up this fund which The Music Well is keeping alive in her memory.

To date many children have accessed music therapy sessions this way and have been able to express themselves through using musical instruments.

Our other main project at the moment is the lottery funded ‘Ican’ project using iPads to encourage and enhance a sense of well-being for people living with Dementia.

Using music as a key to unlock memories and emotions, we use digital technology to explore an individual’s needs through a variety of apps.

These may involve revisiting aspects of a person’s earlier life through music, film and images, but also offering that individual an opportunity to try something completely new, such as creating music, painting, pottery, photography, making a film, recording a song or writing a book!

Through these iCan workshops, our aim is to offer people living with Dementia an inclusive environment in which they can relax, be creative and have fun.

The Music Well would love your support or to hear from you about any ideas you may have or questions you would like answered. Please see, email or ring 01797 226330.”

The Music Well was founded by Liz Butt who trained as a music therapist nearly 25 years ago and has set up Music Therapy Services in several schools and, more recently, in her own home in Rye. She has a large collection of instruments gathered over the years from all over the world as well as more locally in auctions and shops.

The Music Well singing group is led by Louise Fletcher and has about 30 members, with generally 22 at the session every week. They meet every Tuesday at Tilling Green Community Centre at 12.45pm for an hour and half. They also sing at Magdala House in Rye, and the next session there is Tuesday March 1. They pride themselves on being all-inclusive and stress that this is a singing group and not a choir, but feel they are female heavy and “would love some more men.”