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  • › Wellbeing and Integration through Community Music


    Natural Voice News member, Laura Bradshaw, was one of the authors of an academic paper on the role of improvisation in a music group of refugees, asylum seekers and local community members, inspired by Dr Sofia Vougioukalou who attended the Oasis World Choir and Band project she facilitates. This is in the Contemporary Music Review online, and you can read it here at

    Some of the conclusions were: "....[they] observed that embedding improvisation led to four outcomes. It (i) encouraged individual unscripted performances, instilling confidence in solo performance, (ii) gave individuals who had experienced displacement and marginalisation a chance to lead in a safe, performative space, (iii) gave other participants a chance to follow and accompany this piece instrumentally or vocally, drawing on their own cultural traditions and thus creating innovative cross-cultural pieces; and (iv) provided participants and audience members with a unique and unrepeated, uplifting experience that triggered their imaginations, and prompted questions and further discussion between participants. These findings suggest that the combination of structured musical activity and improvisation may help to foster a sense of wellbeing and social inclusion, shift power dynamics, and create a space for cross-cultural dialogue. These unique outcomes highlight how music can create a community of people from seemingly completely different locations or situations. Furthermore, the well-established Welsh choral traditions and local community arts provided a receptive environment for this diverse group of performers. Therefore, it was not just the musical activities but their connection to the wider local community arts scene that delivered these individual, collective and wider societal benefits".