Transforming Communities

Ground-breaking new music residency at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Live Music Now has formed a new partnership with Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool to deliver a year-long musical mentoring programme for patients. Funded by Youth Music, the programme will include a unique training opportunity for four LMN musicians to learn about residency work in healthcare settings.  They will work closely with healthcare professionals to develop interactive music sessions for patients in four specific areas of the hospital, supported by Alder Hey’s resident musician and LMN Alumna, Georgina Aasgaard. The programme will be evaluated by music and health researcher/practioner (and LMN alumna) Ros Hawley and takes LMN’s work in children’s hospitals to a new level.

Alder Hey is one of the largest children’s hospitals in Europe, treating over 270,000 patients each year. It is a centre of excellence for the treatment of cancer, spinal, heart and brain conditions. In September 2015 the hospital will move into Alder Hey in the Park, a brand new purpose built hospital built entirely within a park, the first of its kind in Europe.

Alder Hey’s highly regarded Arts for Health programme has been established for over a decade, and has been at the forefront of pioneering innovative approaches to using the arts in paediatric healthcare. This includes a very successful music programme delivered by their resident musician and cellist Georgina Aasgaard. The hospital identified a need to increase the music provision for patients within their Arts for Health programme and has developed a new Musical Mentoring programme in partnership with Live Music Now.

Research demonstrates the benefits that music-making can offer to children in hospitals.  The recent report “The Power of Music” by Susan Hallam summarises research from around the world: “Children and young people benefit (from music intervention) in terms of enhanced relaxation, providing distraction, and helping them to talk about the hospital experience and develop coping strategies. Familiar music can reduce anxiety associated with the hospital environment and can reduce children’s stress during painful procedures. In some cases music making can reduce or remove the need for sedation.”

LMN Alumna, Georgina Aasgard works with a patient at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Over the next year, four specially selected North West LMN musicians will “pair” with a specialist health professional in one of four areas of the hospital for a period of two months to gain a deeper understanding of the environment and needs of both patients and staff, as well as skills sharing their approaches to musical interactions with their health professional. This will be followed by a six month mentoring programme with long term patients on their chosen ward or unit. Musicians will work with patients on a one to one basis, or in small groups, and will observe and monitor progress and development with the children and young people that they work with.

"Musical Mentoring" aims to encourage children and young people of all ages and abilities to participate in music making. The project will culminate in the production of music by the patients, some of which may be integrated into Alder Hey in the Park and performed a public event in the new hospital’s Performace Space, a dedicated area within the main atrium for live music, dance, storytelling and performance.

Vicky Charnock, Arts Co-ordinator at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:   “Alder Hey is delighted to be working in partnership for the first time with Live Music Now on this ground breaking project. Music is at the heart of Alder Hey’s very special arts for health programme and we know that it can make a profound impact on patients and their families. This project enables us to reach even more families whilst at the same time nurturing and supporting young professional musical talent.”

Georgina Aasgaard, Alder Hey’s Musician in Residence said: “Having been resident musician for the past 8 years, I am thrilled that there is an opportunity to spread more music around the hospital as I know how much the children and families benefit from it. I really look forward to supporting the four LMN musicians selected to take part in the project which will be a very exciting journey for us all.”


LMN Musicians attend an induction and training day at Alder Hey: Jess Hall (violin), Beatrice Hubble (oboe), Kathryn Williams (flute) and Delia Stevens (percussion), with Georgina Aasgaard, mentor.


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