BeWell Derbyshire: music for wellbeing

Staff, volunteers and people who use P3's Chesterfield service explain how music is great for mental health

"It's so brings people together"

A volunteer at P3's BeWell Derbyshire service for people affected by mental ill health has harnessed the power of music to improve wellbeing.

Musician and DJ Asa Hudson volunteers at supported accommodation in Chesterfield every week and has seen first-hand the effect music can have on people's lives:

"For me, music is one of the most important things in my life and has given me great opportunities. Setting up the music group at P3 has made me realise just how important music is to people and how it affects them in a positive way."

Asa set up the music group last year, and it proved so popular that he has had more and more residents asking for one-on-one and jam sessions, playing instruments as varied as the keyboard, guitar and cornet.

As a result, Asa has been able to work with one resident, James, who is blind, to enable him to record and publish his own tracks online.

"At the start of every session I ask James what kind of track he feels like making and we discuss various themes and ideas. We will usually start with a drum beat, and James will sometimes describe what kind of drum sounds he wants through beatboxing, which I try to replicate by programming the sounds into the recording software.

"He describes melodies to me and what key that they should be in so I can play them to how he desires. I also bring various instruments with me to sessions, plus an audio-interface which allows me to record James's vocal takes with a microphone."

With Asa's help, James set up an artist page on Bandcamp under the name 'Tradox' and has now released five singles, with artwork featuring Braille designs.

James said:

"When I was younger, growing up, it was every instrument you could think of - you name it, I was playing it. I came here and someone said 'there's a music group', [I thought] great, I'll join it, not knowing what it would be. If it wasn't for Asa, I wouldn't be on this trail of music again."

Watch the video above to see James and other residents in the BeWell music group in action!

You can listen and download tracks featured in the video by:


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Andrew (keyboard):