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Music and Wellbeing: The impacts of 17 participatory music-making projects

A review of 17 participatory music projects and their effectiveness in enhancing wellbeing and social connectedness

Spirit of 2012 supports projects using activities like music, arts, and volunteering to enhance wellbeing and social connectedness. Since 2013, we’ve invested £3.2m in 17 participatory music-making projects, engaging 2,255 in regular activities, and over a million in taster sessions or performances.

The Music & Wellbeing report is a review of the evaluations of these 17 projects. It provides insights into effective music interventions and offers principles for practitioners and funders. The report also explores how these projects can be adapted to different audiences with specific needs.

The report found that well-planned, outcomes-focused participatory music-making projects can:

  • Have positive impacts on participants’ subjective wellbeing, enhancing feelings of happiness, purpose, life satisfaction, and confidence.
  • Increase feelings of connection with others.
  • Serve as an effective means to engage individuals who might not otherwise be involved.

The report recommends that to achieve these outcomes practitioners should:

  • Employ high-quality music leaders
  • Create a safe, welcoming and inclusive space
  • Ensure music-making activities are accessible to people with any level of musical ability
  • Provide opportunities for: self-expression and creativity; feelings and experiences to be shared; social interaction; rapid development of musical skills; and working towards a musical output (e.g., a recording or performance)


A written report cannot adequately capture the creativity, solace, camaraderie, and joy that participating in music-making can bring. So we have brought together a video gallery to offer a glimpse of these experiences.

More details of the 17 music projects, including an independent evaluation where one was conducted, can be found on their project pages below:

Women and girls


England Wellingborough
Women and girls

Sound Out

County Durham England