Musicians perform for babies and families at Sheffield Children's Hospital

A new innovative project took live music to babies and their families at The Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
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City charity Concerteenies, which aims to make quality music accessible for all children, led the specially designed project in the Neonatal Surgical Unit. The Art+ team, an organisation dedicated to improving the hospital’s clinical environment to enhance and aid patient care as part of The Children’s Hospital Charity, commissioned the scheme.

The programme was tailor made for babies utilising sound-healing instruments such as Koshi Chimes, sound-bowl and rain sticks to create a relaxing baby-friendly environment.

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Founder Polly Ives devised an eclectic programme featuring a mix of talented musicians from harpist Louise Thompson to BBC Radio 2 folk award winner Bella Hardy.

Harpist Louise Thomson and cellist Polly Ives with children's hospital staffHarpist Louise Thomson and cellist Polly Ives with children's hospital staff
Harpist Louise Thomson and cellist Polly Ives with children's hospital staff

Faye Cresswell, Engagement Coordinator at Art+, said: “We’ve loved working alongside Concerteenies on this project. The musicians have engaged with our youngest patients, families, and staff in such a considered and sensitive manner.

“They’ve soothed, inspired smiles and really highlighted the power of music to improve well-being.”

Concerteenies is part of an ongoing research project with Leeds University to explore the parental well-being benefits of their Concerteenies for Babies project. This work helped shape the hospital workshops.

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Mum-of-two and cellist Polly said: “When a baby is in neonatal care, it is an incredibly tough time for the whole family.

Polly Ives of ConcerteeniesPolly Ives of Concerteenies
Polly Ives of Concerteenies

“We’ve spoken to lots of parents who said music could have been really beneficial to their families. In some cases they felt it would have helped with bonding, others for when siblings visited and others just to break up the days.

“It has been very special to provide a musical experience to these families and we have had some wonderful feedback from parents involved.”

The hospital project was funded thanks to a grant from Sheffield’s Sarah Nulty Power of Music Foundation.

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Parents welcomed the performances as a way to soothe their children or ‘brighten their day’ while staying in hospital. One said: “Absolutely amazing. So soothing for my daughter and me too! This makes our stay so much more enjoyable.”

Families and babies enjoyed the musicFamilies and babies enjoyed the music
Families and babies enjoyed the music

Other parents said the music helped their babies to sleep or even to take a peek at the world around them for the first time.

Dedicated hardworking hospital staff also praised the programme: “It's moments like this that make it all worthwhile and I've been here for 21 years.”

The hospital project is to be repeated later this year. Concerteenies has a fundraising campaign called Sounds Good, which helps to fund projects across South Yorkshire. The charity is hoping to reach more underserved communities with its high-quality musical experiences.

To support the campaign visit: