What is Community Music?

What is Community Music?

Community Music

Community music cannot be defined by a single instrument, family of instruments or musical genre. Community music embraces the enormous and wide-ranging benefits collective composition and playing can bring to people. Community music participants might have no previous experience of playing instruments or singing and all sessions are led by highly trained practitioners. 

Over the last 20 years community music has enjoyed a growing popularity in the UK. It is increasingly proven to improve mental health; build on participants’ and communities’ sense of identity; enable engagement in the wider world; grow self-esteem, confidence and skills. It is a collective experience that fosters friendship and fun. and it has also been proven to improve concentration and academic attainment, community cohesion and a sense of belonging.

Evolve Music believes these benefits can only be achieved when the artistic practice is responsive, inclusive and meets the needs of the communities and individuals it is designed to serve. 

Evolve Music's Vision and values

01  Vision

Community music in South West England will evolve to enable everybody to explore sound, create music and tell their story.

02  Mission

Evolve Music is a grassroots community music charity. Using sound exploration and improvisation we co-create music with communities and support the development of music leaders and the wider community music sector.

03  Values

We are 
– Relevant and inclusive
– Developmental 
– Innovative 
– Collaborative

What people say about us


Since H has been doing Evolve, he enjoys making stories into songs and even every day life into songs too….he is a very theatrical soul and watching the staff pick up on and encourage this taught me a lot, such as going along with, watching and copying what he wants to do with an instrument rather than always teaching what I/society perceives as ‘the right way.’ This has allowed his confidence to grow tenfold.

Parent Sound Explorers

M definitely sings more at home now and is becoming more expressive when doing so…the sessions are definitely increasing her confidence around music

Parent Sound Explorers

Sound Store has supported our residents to gain a lot more confidence in telling stories in front of each other as well as more confidence talking to staff about any worries or concerns.

Lisa Iles Bloomfield Care Home

I think it worked so well and seeing our residents imagine their stories in their head was so heartwarming. Our residents love this activity. Thank you so much for coming to our home and making our residents smile after a long hard year of covid. We have now taken on the role of trying to embed stories, music and imagination of stories across the care home.

Lisa Iles Bloomfield Care Home

They are very enthusiastic about it. They say they enjoy it and they laugh a lot.

Parent Sound Lab

I think it was really good, especially during lockdown – it was great to have something that he could do which was creative, about something he really enjoyed.

Parent Sound Lab

It was lovely that the people who were leading it, the team, were so understanding, so patient. They went out of their way to help him. I haven't met a group of people so helpful and patient and thoughtful.

Parent Sound Lab

I am very grateful that they have this opportunity to do musical expression, because I think that it helps them in other aspects of their learning. Learning's learning, and it's all growing of the cerebral.

Parent Sound Lab

I love the variety of songs and learning makaton/actions and my daughter loves the props you use and the time set aside for free play. The classes give me lots of ideas for making music at home throughout our normal daily routine, I.e. when doing chores or cleaning my teeth I make up tunes and songs.

Parent Explorers

We love the sessions, they give us a lovely chance to bond each week and cheer me up. I can chat to other parents and share some quality time with A. I look forward to the sessions each week and miss them when we cant go. Keep up the great work.

Parent Explorers

The teachers were lovely. Great venue. Loads of instruments. Very enjoyable.

Parent Sound Lab Summer Club

First “club” he has ever attended and finished the course.

Parent Sound Lab Summer Club

Although he can't verbally express himself it is clear that he thoroughly enjoyed his time there - he rushed to get into the car to drive to the session every time.

Parent Sound Lab Summer Club

Honestly, the sessions were possibly the best thing that has happened for my son for a couple of years. It has been so difficult to find any activity that he can take part in and yet you achieved this and made him so welcome. He loves all sorts of music and song and to combine this with the chance to spend time with other young adults was fantastic!

Parent Sound Lab Summer Club

My son has had a good time with the other children. That is something that we've missed for a long time. I would love to do it again in the future.

Participant Dads Rock

The interactivity was amazing. It was great to meet and be around other dads too.

Participant Dads Rock

The session today was amazing and Izzy and Esther were incredible at learning and playing La Vaca Lola.

Silvia Participant

It was such a positive experience for residents - hugely beneficial and enjoyable. They were very uplifted after the session. They were singing as they came out of the session and that went on for most of the day. The interaction of the stories and music worked brilliantly

Activities Coordinator Broomfield Care Centre

Residents Olivia and Lyn enjoying a virtual music therapy session run by Evolve Music. They sang and danced in their chairs and very much enjoyed the session. Both ladies are looking forward to next week, the sessions are beneficial, captivating and great fun

Activities Coordinator Broomfield Care Centre

Participants are invited on a different journey every single week with personalised and interactive storytelling brought to life by live sound effects and music. Bespoke sing-a-longs welcome each individual to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce and share their unique stories. A novel, collective, social experience.

Jenny Hibberd Music Leader

We have been taking part in 1:1 sensory sessions online via zoom with Evolve music. It has been a lovely way to learn new songs and ways to interact with my baby, including using Makaton, during a difficult time. It has given us great prop ideas to go along with actions. I love learning new songs and ideas I can take away to entertain my daughter and help her learn. The sessions also give us dedicated time as a family to bond with baby uninterrupted. It's great that everyone can join in. Esther has been amazing at adapting what to do based on my babies age, attention span and her mood on the day. She takes a tricky situation, such as trying to keep babies attention on a screen, and makes the most of it. We very much enjoy our sessions and look forward to doing more in the future.

Participant Adventurers 1-on-1

Adventurers is a smaller group, which allows us to work more directly with young children and their families in order to give them the support they need. Our One-to-one provision with families allows us to work with them in a more focussed way, enabling us to tailor our sessions to the needs of the family

Esther Music Leader

What happens in pregnancy and the early years of a child’s life has a profound impact on the rest of his or her life. The biggest influence on children’s outcomes is from primary caregivers. Improving experiences in the early years is central to build healthy relationships, communication and language, social and emotional development and physical health. The Adventurers group has greatly supported these aspects through fun, nurturing child/parent interactions, music and stories. We have worked closely with the Evolve team over the last 18 months, so families can easily access this group and support their child’s development. The feedback has been really positive and we hope to continue the wonderful work the Evolve team have managed to achieve, so children are equipped for life no matter what their background or family circumstances

Jed Parsons Children’s centre

Luke has really enjoyed the sessions both in person and online. This has helped him to learn to sit and take part in group activities and associating his toys with the props used in the video calls. He really enjoys to sing and is able to explain to me through actions, toys and now verbally what songs he wants to sing together. It’s been lovely getting to know Esther and Clara.

Participant Adventurers

Explorers is an interactive space where we encourage both children and adults to participate and make song and movement suggestions. Each half term we introduce a new theme - previous themes include seasons and under the water. We are currently singing about dinosaurs

Esther Music Leader

We come to explorers because I went back to work part time and missed the baby classes. He loves them! It’s a really enjoyable session with a good mix of songs, stories and activities. We really enjoy it and it’s even better that it is local. Its great seeing him watching and smiling at the older ones!

T Regular Mum at Explorer Sessions

We have been looking for a weekly music group on a Thursday for ages. I just wish it had been running when my eldest was little! We love coming every week and look forward to Thursdays! The half term family session was fantastic. My eldest is so excited about coming to the next one.

Lisa Regular Mum at Explorer Sessions

This group is a great way to allow children to explore sound, music and rhyme with other children.

S Regular Childminder at Explorers Sessions

It was great to be able to decide on what to do, combining my ideas with everyone else's to make a big wow performance!

Yasmin Participant of Bespoke School Project

It was a great experience, playing new instruments, and making up our own music. Even though we were given some guidance, we were allowed to improvise which was great.

Phoebe Participant of Bespoke School Project

It was nice to know how to work together with other people and to keep time. As we worked together, I gained more confidence to perform and loved being part of the final performance.

Morgan Participant of Bespoke School Project

It was fun and I learned how to create music with simple objects. Playing the violin was strange at first, but once I got the hang of it, I loved seeing how the violin could be part of a bigger sound. It was good to work with Tess who was playing the recorder.

Izzy Participant of Bespoke School Project

I found it really good fun and very creative, because we did a lot of activities that we haven't done before.

Ella Participant of Bespoke School Project

Rated 5/5 for workshop enjoyment. ‘The best bit was getting to join in and play instruments. It was a good theme and allowed accessible engagement in music making’

Sarah Mum of family that took part in 'Tim Peake's' Science Fair workshop

My child's language, repetition and ability to follow instructions has come on leaps and bounds since attending an Explorers session. She often initiates the songs at home too.

Melanie Mum attending Explorers Session

My child loves coming to the Explorers sessions. They are really well organised and there is always a great variety of different activities each week. Great that you ran a family session in Half Term too!

Catherine Mum attending Explorers Session

"Working with Evolve Music has been inspirational, they bring high quality musicianship to an open studio environment that values everyone's contributions."

Penny Hay Director of Research 5x5x5=creativity
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