• online gatherings for community musicians
News & Views
Sound Sense Gathering: connecting our community
Date posted: 07 April 2021
Join Sound Sense live online for our new series of monthly gatherings for community musicians

Sound Sense Gatherings are now taking place in the evening on the first Tuesday of the month. This space provides us with the opportunity to connect as a community and to talk about what matters to us. These sessions are to share passions, stories, experiences, explore ideas and ask questions. Hosts will sometimes come with a theme or idea, but whatever happens in the space is the right thing to happen (Open Space theory). Just bring yourself and perhaps a cup of something tasty!

Sessions run from 7pm - 8.30pm (BST) on the first Tuesday of every month via Zoom.

Our next Gathering is on Tuesday 4 May at 7pm. Email gathering@soundsense.org if you’d like to join us and you will be sent a link on the day of the Gathering (if you’ve already attended, you don’t need to email, we’ll just send you the link every time).


Sound Sense board member, Holly Radford, hosted our March Gathering and shares the themes that emerged and topics discussed on the night:

I was delighted to be able to support Sound Sense and host the March gathering. Having been to the February gathering, I was particularly looking forward to hosting an open space with such a warm and welcoming community of musicians.

We got straight into quite deep peer support, when one attendee posed a difficult scenario that they were dealing and asked for advice from the room. The group delved into discussion around safeguarding, duty of care, emotional wellbeing, and knowing when to ask for support. I was reminded of the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the room by the honest, thoughtful, and sensitive offerings of advice that were shared.

This led the conversation onto a wider conversation around how community musicians deal with challenging circumstances and the emotional toll they can take. We discussed the benefits of solutions such as supervision, counselling, peer support, informal opportunities to offload to friends / family, and agreed that these opportunities should be embedded into funding bids or when designing programmes of work. While most people in the zoom room were accompanied by a glass of wine / beer, it was agreed that our wellbeing needs investing in, so having a drink and cracking on would not suffice (no matter how tasty it is at the time).

One new attendee commented that they had joined the gathering to connect with others as they felt isolated in their work. Many others in the room resonated with this and shared ways to support including;

  • Putting yourself out there and attending networking / peer gatherings such as Sound Sense zooms
  • Joining other online communities on social media such as Facebook groups
  • Using Sound Sense members’ directory to find other musicians working locally – or contacting the team for help

The group then pondered if community musicians are more likely to “take home” the emotion of the work due to the shared common trait of empathy. We wondered about the connection (or separation) between our artistic selves and our community musician / facilitator selves. Does one inform the other? Interestingly, a couple of the group said that they felt that performing outside of their community music could sometimes feel a little unnatural e.g. taking the spotlight went against the default of supporting others (but this was an enjoyable challenge to overcome).

Discussions were also had around

  • Why there seems to be a need to try to label and define community music
  • Additional qualifications / developing other strands e.g. Music Therapy and the motivations for this.

Phew – we covered a lot in an hour and half! I was very thankful that the space we created collectively was able to support those who brought along particular concerns / challenges. It reminded me in the simple power of being with others and sharing!


We are looking forward to connecting again on 4 May!