Harley struggles with anxiety and lack of confidence as a result of early childhood experiences. She lives in foster care, and has found it hard to fit in at school and make friends. She was referred to our Music Minds programme, for one-to-one music mentoring.

Music leader Ben remembers “She would be shy, physically lacking in confidence, and visibly shaking in the early music mentoring sessions.”

Gradually, Harley began to share the lyrics she’d written, which were heartfelt and dealing with often weighty topics. Songwriting and singing gave her the opportunity to reflect on what was going on in her life, and to focus on something she was good at, and wanted to improve.  

The change has been enormous. Within a few months, Harley agreed to take part in our monthly Youth Voice sessions, meeting other young musicians, and eventually she performed at a gig organised by the Youth Voice team.

Harley says: “Before I was involved with The Music Works, I wasn’t involved with anything … Now, if I’m sad, angry, or mad, I’ll sing, I’ll write songs It’s a strategy and it’s therapy. Honestly, it’s the best pill for me.”

Harley is now part of our Youth Voice team, and is applying for music performance courses and considering university.  

Music Minds has been funded by Youth Music, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning, and Make Music Gloucestershire.