Gather In Sound – Delivering A Music Service To People With Additional Needs

Husband and wife, Heather and Tom, talk about the work they do using music for health…

“We live in a musical, Hunsbury household! Having met at music college and explored different creative avenues, we now both work with people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and other complex needs, using music. As Music Practitioners, we don’t need our clients to have a technical ability to play instruments or sing, but instead, we use the experience of making music together, to encourage developments in health areas. Whether this relates to social skills, emotional understanding or a focus on motor ability (to name a few examples), goals are tailored to fit each individual client.

“Part of our work hinges on the philosophy that music is a way for people to express themselves and that all people, regardless of ability, can access it. So, if someone is non-verbal they can use this easy platform to ‘find their voice’, whether vocally, instrumentally or collaboratively with the Practitioner. Another example might be of someone whose physical ability has become impacted upon, which can cause limitations in lots of areas of life. In this case, making music can give them back a sense of independence, fulfilment and success.”

Recently, Tom has launched his own specialist and accessible music service, Gather in Sound, which operates across Northamptonshire. “I specialise in delivering a music service for children and adults with additional needs and with over 10 years of experience, the service caters for a whole host of different environments. For the most part it operates as an in-reach service, where the expertise and equipment is brought to clients. Additionally, several projects are developing across Northampton, based in community centers and other services.

“Different to a normal music service, everyone regardless of ability or need is given the opportunity to be creative and to express themselves in a ‘failure-free’ environment. There isn’t a typical syllabus or set ‘out of the box’ session, instead time is spent catering each activity to the exact needs of clients. Furthermore, individuality is advocated, and work is done collaboratively with clients to personalise their sessions. This enables everyone to have their own unique musical experience, whether writing and recording a song or using improvised music to express themselves, there is no limit to the client’s involvement. Gather in Sounds’ skilled expertise ranges across a whole host of instruments and styles and the traveling music studio is renowned for its high quality, that brings with it the opportunity to record and experiment with new and exciting equipment.”

To find out more please contact the Gather In Sound team at or visit to download a brochure.