A Leeds charity which helps bring adults and children together through music is going from strength to strength.
Made with Music, which has helped disabled and ill children, has won an award for its work and is about to embark on a community project with Kirkstall Abbey.
The initiative will help to develop a sense of community through music and help combat isolation.
Made with Music has snowballed since it was set up by musical mums Kathryn Sturman and Hannah Dilworth seven years ago. They founded it because there was a lack of activities featuring live music that they could take their children to.
Kathryn said: “It’s hard to believe now, because there are so many baby and toddler classes, but at the time we could only find music classes that played music on CD or just had music in the background, rather than supporting people to access live music and try out instruments and hear real musicians singing and playing.
“We just set up something we could take our children along to, then our friends came and it grew from there.”
Made with Music was given a helping hand by Little Hiccups, a Leeds support group for disabled children and their families. Made with Music put on sessions for them, which helped the founders learn more about access needs and inclusion within a musical environment.
Little Hiccups then recommended Made with Music to Hannah House, a Rothwell based respite home for children with high medical needs.
Kathryn said: “We started working there twice a month to run music sessions for its staff and children. That helped us to develop our ethos, which revolves around trying to enable adults and children to participate in music together, and to do activities that you would be able to recreate.”
Hannah and Kathryn would introduce the children to different instruments and engage them with sing-songs.
Kathryn added: “The idea is that people can take away bits that they can carry on at home without being a specialist.
“We were really supported to do that there because we wanted to leave the staff with things that they could do with every child. So we did staff training and lots of sessions that had that idea. That is what we have taken onto everything else.”
That includes its work on the Oncology ward at Leeds General Infirmary. The pair have had lots of heartwarming feedback from the parents of ill children who have seen their children responding to something positive in a challenging setting.
Kathryn said: “We get mixed responses from parents, some of them say it’s like therapy, some of them start crying because it’s just taking them away from that experience or they are releasing the emotions that gave been built up. I think music is really powerful in that respect.”
Made with Music has recently won an Outstanding Attitude Award for its Mini-Gigs at The Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park. They and other musicians have performed three family friendly gigs there, with help from a grant from Leeds Inspired. They have another gig planned for June 30.
Kathryn added: “Since we won the award for our Mini-Gigs we have had interest nationally about touring the gigs we produce, which is great. But for us what we want is for more people to be producing fully accessible events.”
The group hopes to use its experience to help others.
Made with Music was founded in 2012.
It was set up by mums and musicians Kathryn Sturman and Hannah Dilworth after they couldn’t find any classes featuring live music to take their young children to.
It is operated on a not-for-profit basis, providing access to music for a range of organisations and individuals. It became a charity in 2018 with a board of trustees who oversee a programme of work and the musicians who work with them to deliver many different musical opportunities. The organisation believes music is for everyone and it loves introducing music to groups who may not have had the opportunity before.
It feels music should be shared and music is best experienced live. Made with Music works with trained musicians in a variety of genres and introduces people to a range of instruments.
Other beliefs are that music doesn’t discriminate and that music is adaptable. The team enjoys taking music to interesting or unusual places.
People can help with funding its work by donating to ‘Made with Music’ at www.wonderful.org, which gives it 100 per cent of donations.
The group is also on the lookout for volunteers and a new trustee.
For more information about the group and its work email firstname.lastname@example.org.