The power of music has helped to transform the life of a Suffolk teenager – and we were thrilled to help her raise awareness with a prime-time slot on BBC Look East.
Our client Noise Solution, based in Bury St Edmunds, pairs professional musician mentors with at-risk young people facing complex issues. Musicians use music technology – in particular beat making – as a tool to improve participants confidence, motivation and well-being.
Nineteen-year-old Sophie Tomlin was one of their many successes and we were thrilled that the BBC dedicated it’s news feature slot to her story.
Just a few months ago, Sophie, from Ipswich, was in hospital with various mental health issues, and traditional art and music therapies had not made an impact.
But she told news reporters her life has been transformed since being referred to Noise Solution.
“The Noise Solution sessions were amazing, and I will remember it for the rest of my life,” said Sophie. “It’s not therapy, and that’s why it worked for me. It is about human connection, and music – some sessions we just talked, others we were jamming away to Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
“It’s helped me to be more confident and to realise my potential. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to experience it, and I’d like to help raise awareness of it because I want other people to be able to try it as well.”
Services are delivered by professional musicians on a one-to-one basis either online, in person, or a blend of both depending on the circumstances of the individual.
Each participant is paired with a musician and given access to an online platform. Musicians and participants then capture highlights of each session using audio, photos, videos and text to develop an individual digital story or weekly ‘feed’ of their growing success.
Participants record a weekly reflection of their thoughts and feelings about the process, creating their own case study.
They invite people to view their feed, who they have identified as important to them.
This enables the young person to feel ‘seen’ by those they care about, which validates them and allows them to internalise their new feelings of success.
Noise Solution has been working with schools, local authorities, alternative education providers, and other statutory agencies since 2010, and they regularly refer their hardest to reach young people to its services. It also uses social media and its newsletter reach to find new participants, with paid-for spaces getting taken up within minutes of being offered.
Funding can come from contracts gained by Noise Solution, but the majority of work is commissioned by schools, local authorities or mental health trusts. The programme can also be paid for privately.
Sophie was paired with Ipswich musician Jay. She has always loved singing, song writing and piano, and has now had the chance to explore drums, bass guitar and 12-string guitar – as well as learning about the technical side of producing music.
“My tutor Jay has been great – I say tutor, but the sessions are very informal, which is the reason I like it so much,” she said.
“What I like is that the sessions aren’t always about me. It’s not that traditional power dynamic that you get in therapy, it’ more human.”
Mum Patricia said: “Sophie has learnt about music in a fun way, and we’re so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity. It was by chance that we found out about Noise Solution, and it turned out to be the perfect fit.
“Sophie shares what she does on the online platform, and we can see what they do in the sessions – she is just laughing all the time! It gives young people an opportunity to get out and about and do things. It has been wonderful.”
Simon Glenister, CEO and Founder of Noise Solution said: “This story is lovely but it isn’t unique. We hear stories like this on a weekly basis at Noise Solution.
“That replication of positive outcomes is not luck, it’s science – we’ve worked hard to understand how to achieve this and it’s transforming lives.”
Last year, Noise Solution won the Building Public Trust Award for Impact in Social Enterprise 2021 from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Arts and Health Award from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
To find out more about Noise Solution, visit www.noisesolution.org or to watch the BBC Look East story click below.