Power of Music: How Music Can Help Build Communities

24.05.2022: Manchester Camerata on using music to build community in areas with high levels of poverty and deprivation.

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24.05.2022: Manchester Camerata on using music to build community in areas with high levels of poverty and deprivation.

This piece is the third in a series of case studies on the Power of Music to highlight the importance of music to health and wellbeing.

Manchester Camerata orchestra is a registered charity, working and performing in Manchester and worldwide since 1972, and renowned for dynamic performances, innovative collaborations and our pioneering community programme. The purpose is to ‘make music that matters; make music for change’.

The orchestra pops up in all sorts of places and collaborates with a spectrum of artists attracting over 150,000 people every year to its concerts under the leadership of world-renowned conductor Gábor Takacs-Nagy. The Manchester concert season (September–May) is complemented by residencies throughout the North West, which provide international quality music-making in areas with little or no live orchestral music.

The community programme is at the heart of the orchestra’s activity. By working in partnership with their long-term strategic partner, Orchestras Live, this has helped us to make more impact with this work.

The programme began over 20-years-ago with the aim of using music as a tool to improve people’s lives, and our music-therapy-based work for people with dementia has been developed over the last 10 years through partnership and research with Professor John Keady at the University of Manchester.

New music is created by putting the participants at the centre of the creative process. Whether it is young people in schools or youth clubs, or people with dementia and their carers, all compositions and improvised pieces are created ‘in the moment’ by the participants, in conjunction with our world-class, professional musicians. These projects take place in schools, housing schemes, care homes and community settings across the North of England.

The work operates within cultural education and health and social care, and is especially focussed on areas of economic/social deprivation. The strategic priorities and overall aims for both their older and younger members of the community are centred around creative music-making and its benefits, with inbuilt continuing professional development for teachers, professional musicians and healthcare professionals alike, in order to improve health and wellbeing.

Manchesta Camerata moved into The Monastery, Manchester (in Gorton) in November 2020, and are continuing its aim of long-term intergenerational activity to positively impact a community with high levels of poverty and deprivation but with great pride in the area in which they live.

Read the Power of Music report from UK Music and Music for Dementia here

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