Creative music workshops creating art and togetherness

They say music heals the soul, and the Creative Music Workshops program created by The Pathways to Community Living Initiative (PCLI) within our Mental Health Services has shown this to be true.

The program brings professional musicians together with people with lived experience of mental distress, their support staff, families and carers to co-create a piece of music.

Rhonda Simons, PCLI Mental Health Clinician, said the workshops bring together mental health inpatients and community consumers to create music.

“The unique creative process can help with things such as confidence, a sense of community and of achievement. It’s not about therapy, it’s not about treatment, it’s about coming together from wherever you might be in your journey,” said Rhonda.

Julian Ferraretto, the Lead Musician who worked with the PCLI team on the project in 2022, said there is something really special and validating about creating a piece of art and then seeing the final product and knowing you contributed to it.

“The idea is that participants can identify themselves as composers. The participants are people who are on their transition from hospital into the community and it’s about helping that transition,” said Julian.

Amanda, who has lived experience with mental health, participated in the workshops as a musician. She said having social connections is very important when you are going through mental health challenges so that you don’t feel so alone.

“Music has been so important in my recovery journey, and when you bring it together in a group like this and you’ve got the social engagement and you’ve got the connections that are being made, that’s also so very therapeutic. I’ve always believed there’s a lot of safety in connection, and I think there’s a lot of connection being built in this workshop,” Amanda said.

“From the feedback, I can see a huge boost in the participant’s confidence. I can see they have a sense of pride in what we are making together and the self-worth that generates. I think it’s a really powerful thing,” said Julian.

“This is something that lifts the soul of everyone that’s involved, whether it’s the musicians or the participants or the carers who come and join in on the workshop. To see yourself in a different way, to see yourself as an artist, I think, is a really life-changing thing,” he added.

Musicians playing instruments