In the first week of July, an international conference for psychologists took place in Brighton. Members of the Create Music Orchestra 360 (o360) team, James Redwood and psychologist Dr Maruša Levstek were invited to lead a half-day workshop for delegates, exploring the 'Psychological outcomes and mechanisms of youth engagement with inclusive music-making'.
Over the past 4 years Dr Levstek has worked closely with Create Music, researching the impact of music-making on young people's well-being, with a particular focus on the work of o360 and Music Spaces with children and young people who may experience barriers to participation, such as having Special Educational Needs/Disabilities or living in an area of economic deprivation.
It was an honour to be invited to present our work and innovative approach to inclusive ensemble music making on an international platform. Delegates who attended had travelled from across the UK as well as Brazil, India, Jordan, Mexico and Nigeria to be there. They all participated in the session which included practical music making.
Dr Levstek said:
‘It was wonderful to present our research alongside the musicians who I have been working with for so many years during my PhD. It was just so much more fun than my traditional conference presentations, which usually involve me speaking for 20 minutes straight with questions at the end. This session truly made me realise the power of music; even in just the two hours we had with the conference delegates, music created a collective spirit that I have never experienced before at an academic conference. It certainly made me realise more academic conferences should be like this and I now want to take the musicians with me to all my presentations.’