Transforming Communities

‘Music just makes me happy’

‘Music just makes me happy.’

So says 11 year old Ciaran, who together with mum Anja, has been taking part in regular music-making sessions with Live Music Now musician, Hannah Murray, for almost two years. What started as a pilot initiative in response to lockdown and the pandemic, has now become part of Ciaran’s weekly routine. Hannah visits Ciaran and Anja every Saturday at his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Hannah explains, ‘Ciaran and I started working together in November 2020, across zoom, as part of Live Music Now’s pilot project trialling one-to-one, remotely delivered sessions. Ciaran’s huge musical potential and creativity quickly became clear and after a while he really wanted to explore making music together in person. We’ve been doing that for around a year now in the family home, together with mum Anja, who has fully supported Ciaran’s journey, adding to his collection of musical instruments and taking part enthusiastically.’

‘I facilitate Ciaran’s music-making. He is already such a fantastic musician and there’s been a great deal of shared learning done between us!

Anja, Ciaran’s mum, has watched Ciaran’s musical confidence grow, saying,

‘Hannah is very good at freeing his musicality and bringing out all his creativity. A lot of what they do is very spontaneous with a lot of improvisation.  Every session is just so different. All those different nuances we have never tried before were introduced so playfully and it has had such an impact.’

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund says,

‘It’s brilliant to see the bond Ciaran and Hannah have created through making music together. We’re proud to have supported Live Music Now to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people with special educational needs through music.  Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and the work of amazing projects like this, people and communities across Northern Ireland are getting much-needed support.’

Alice Lewis, Director of Live Music Now in Northern Ireland says,

‘The bond that has developed between Hannah and Ciaran, and his mum Anja, is truly special, creating a space for Ciaran’s musicality to blossom. Live Music Now believes that every child and person, regardless of ability, has a right to explore, develop and express their unique musical identity.’

‘Our musicians, such as Hannah, are specially trained to facilitate and nurture individual musicality, particularly among children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. To witness Hannah and Ciaran make music together is such an inspiring, uplifting and joyful experience, and fully exemplifies all that Live Music Now stands for.

It’s been a huge privilege to be involved with Ciaran and his family, and to learn from them. We’ve drawn on various funding pots to sustain this programme, and they have fully embraced every one – even travelling up a mountain to draw musical inspiration from a space themed sculpture trail [OPIS]! I want to thank them for their generosity of spirit, their positivity and creativity.’

So what does the future hold? Anja laughs,

‘We joke that Ciaran and Hannah will end up in the city centre as a busking band because he just loves it. He is becoming very confident about his music.’

Ciaran sums things up beautifully:

‘We can sing all day!’

Find out more about Live Music Now’s Including Me programme pairing families with a Live Music Now musician here and our schools programme for children with additional needs and disabilities here .

To support the work of Live Music Now visit our Just Giving page.


A group of people in a recording studio, singing and clapping hands

Asylum Sounds

Life is sweet when we sing together Life is cool when we dance all night We need kind people to make life better We take

Read More »