Friday, 19 March 2021

Music for children in hospitals: MiSST's Andrew Lloyd Webber programme has had a transformative effect in schools, now the charity is extending it to hospitals

Kadina, one of the pupils at CCHS, proudly standing with her new violin. She is 16 and said: “I am really excited to learn the violin. I hope I don’t break it!”
Kadina, one of the pupils at CCHS,
proudly standing with her new violin.
She is 16 and said: "I am really excited
to learn the violin. I hope I don’t break it!
"
Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST) is a charity which works in and around London, Warwickshire and Oldham with secondary schools that have disadvantaged and challenging student in-take. MiSST enables students' access to music tuition including funding for classical instrument and support in the form of regular tuition and opportunities to perform. [Last year I interview Truda White, founder of MiSST, see my interview]  

MiSST's pioneering Andrew Lloyd Webber programme (supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation) has had a transformative effect in MiSST's partner schools. Now MiSST is expanding its Andrew Lloyd Webber programme to encompass children in hospitals.

The trial scheme involves patients aged 4 to 18 at Chelsea Community Hospital School (CCHS) in West London, giving them access to free instruments and tuition (both in-person and online). The aim of the 12-month project is to stimulate and support sick children with the many personal and emotional challenges they face during the pandemic, especially as many cannot access mainstream school due to their medical conditions.

Student leaders of MiSST, who have benefited from the scheme themselves, alongside a hospital volunteer will help deliver the initiative and the scheme could potentially be rolled out to other hospital schools across England. 

All instruments that are donated by MiSST become the property of the pupil, and so will never be taken away.  This is important as in many school music schemes, the instrument is the property of the school or the music scheme which means that when a young person is confined to hospital and has a leave a school, then they leave the instrument behind too. One such pupil is Rosslyn, who attends CCHS. Janette Steel OBE, Headteacher of CCHS said:  "Rosslyn played the violin prior to being admitted to the ward. She was progressing well but upon being admitted to CCHS, had her instrument taken back by her old school, as it was not her property. As soon as the violins arrived, Rosslyn began tuning a violin and spent time with another pupil who had never held nor touched a violin before. What a wonderful day."

Further information from MiSST's website

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