Latest news
New musical collaboration with Live & Breath Yoga
August 2020

Local independent music therapist and former record producer Jon Hall has won a charitable grant for an innovative project combining the benefits of sound and spirit for those with mental health challenges who find musical expression helpful.  


Trained at the prestigious Nordoff Robbins Centre in Highgate, Jon has worked in Haringey for nearly 10 years with local mental health services and the Clarendon Recovery College. ‘Now clients will be able to combine mind-body-spirit practices with musical help on their creative journey,’ says Jon, ‘thanks to a new partnership with Live and Breathe Yoga’. Breath, movement and mindful awareness are helpful for singing and performing, but more important can support self-efficacy and inner transformation. 


Many people have become isolated – even before coronavirus – by challenges affecting their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Sometimes they can find it hard to get the help they want from traditional services – so we are trying to bring an holistic approach, as well as professional music input that meets their aspirations. Clients for this new project will be referred by local professionals.

During lockdown, Jon has had to work exclusively online. ‘Our weekly open mic session has been a great success, and individual clients have found it helpful to have online contact when other services are closed, or if they do not want to leave their homes. We have made some great tracks and videos using Zoom and mobile phones,’ says Jon.

The grant comes from the educational charity, Emergence Foundation.

For more information: 

Outsider Music Grows (OMG)

February, 2020

The last two years have been full years for Outsider Music. Establishing and incorporating Outsider Music as a Community Interest Company in 2019 and receiving OM’s first National Lottery Awards for All grant for ‘Music and Wellbeing’along with NHS funding for ‘Music and Co-production’ for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey (BEHMHT) staff and adult patients at St Ann’s Hospital, and expanding the work into CAMHS Tier 4 services at the NHS Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (CREW@T4C)has set the scene for a new  focus on strategic development. The success of the work in Manchester has helped to create the first project to bring together a placement student from Nordoff-Robbins as well as sustained funding for the OM programme at Galaxy House. Rosie Axon from Chiltern Music began supporting OM in 2019 with supervision and business mentoring, and bringing OM in line with all current safeguarding policies and protocols.

After its successful start-up, OM now wishes to grow sustainably in 2020. OM Grows (OMG) is the current funding application that’s underway to the National Lottery which plans to deliver the next stage of OM’s development, working more closely with clients as co-producers and co-creators. The Bridge Renewal Trust is helping OM to find future funding and sustainable options. Presentations and seminars at conferences in London, Brighton, Bristol and Dublin have been very successful in expanding the work and OM’s profile, with plans in the future to develop the unique nature of OM music therapy as a teaching module at the University of the West of England (UWE). Throughout this time OM has received ongoing support from many professionals and colleagues including Dr Edelman, Dr Lorenz (BEHMHT), Dr Barnes (UCL), Dr Chase (UWE) and Gavin Eastley (Clarendon centre) whose support has been vital in helping OM grow. 

The Bridge Renewal Trust are helping OM as part of their capacity-building work to develop OM’s work, by continuing and strengthening the offer in Haringey and assessing possibilities for making OM sustainable, by identifying funding streams, rather than being dependant on charitable grants. OM also plans to look into partnerships and joint work with the third sector, including social prescribing initiatives and personalised commissioning interventions. OMG is currently working on establishing a new Strategic Advisory Board, which will include Martin Bould, Dr Paul Abeles, Elaine Collins, Alice Vahanian, expanding the reach and influence of OM’s work. OM is also looking for operational volunteers to support OM development including fund-raising and a new online platform. An OM presentation to stakeholders and organisations is planned later in 2020 in London to promote the work, share the vision and explore options for future development.

Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) Annual Conference 2018

‘Therapist authenticity, creativity and use of positive resources in cognitive analytic therapy’.

In July 2018 OM presented a case study from the CREW project delivered for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, in workshop form at the ACAT conference. The workshop was delivered by Dr Nick Barnes, Jon Hall and a young person from CAMHS. 

Jon and Nick have been working together over the last couple of years, developing ways of working that seek to shift the perspective of how we see those with emotional distress and mental health needs from within the safety of our services. Often those that access and engage with services are viewed through a framing of their distress, difficulties and deficits, and seldom given the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and abilities and seldom given the space to work through their assets. 

The CREW project has sought to challenge this stance within services offering opportunities for people to access support for their emotional wellbeing through art and music, as they progress on their journey of recovery and re-connecting. The CREW programme allowed for people to work 1:1 and in groups through art and music and to eventually contribute to the running and delivery of a performance for friends, family and staff – a performance that allowed the spot light to be shone on

‘C’ as she described her journey from engagement in CAT informed work, both in the clinic and the community, through to participation in the CREW programme, and eventually, allowing her to go on and become a peer support worker. 

For the final part of the workshop delegates got to experience what it’s like to create and record their own short song together, overcoming any resistance and ending up with an improvised rough track entitled ’Connected’. The track featured improvised signing, words and melodies recorded and performed by the everyone in the workshop. It was featured for the conference ‘culture shot’

Arts Health Early Career Research Network (ECRN) Event, 2018

This year Jon Hall was invited to give a short presentation about creative music therapy for the C.R.E.W. (Creativity for Recovery and Enabling Wellbeing) project at the Arts Health ECRN event held in the Bush theatre, Kings College London. 


Creativity for Recovery and Enabling Wellbeing is an innovative project that uses creativity and live performance to work alongside people who have experienced mental health difficulties. The project was delivered for Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust, culminating in a final celebratory event in September 2017 and evaluated by the University of East London (UEL).

It was a pleasure to share some of the methodology, video documentation and summary of UEL’s data. At the evening’s event themes emerged around the need for more collaboration and support for doctors and healthcare professionals working in pressurised environments. Various creative arts practices described ways of working using anecdote, creative artworks and creativity to bring more awareness around some of the complex situations and problems arising in medical and healthcare environments.

This highlighted some of the challenges for Outsider Music currently delivering Music and Co-production - a pilot project designed to build staff and patient relationships in hospital using music therapy and song writing. Although this has enormous potential in the future to build good relationships and supportive networks there are many challenges in creating dialogue.

The Final event for this project will take place at Chestnut Community Centre on Friday June 22nd and will showcase some of the amazing new music, poems and songs that have been created by everyone who taken part over the last 6 months. Its free entry and all welcome.

Music Therapy Advances in Neuroscience-disability Conference

Jon Hall was able to showcase the fruits of a unique one-off four day music project at the Music Therapy Advances in Neuro-disability Conference in June 2015. The music therapy project was a partnership between the charities Headway and Nordoff -Robbins. Clients were taught to play instruments, sing together as a group, perform and narrate their own personal recovery stories. All vocals, instruments and sounds were created and performed by the group and two supporting music therapists. The project lead to a re-recorded cover version of ‘All you need is love’ by the Beatles, and a DVD which was shown at an event at Abbey Rd studios to celebrate the achievement of a group of people with brain injury.

In this work Jon drew on his combined skills as a record producer and music therapist to give participants an experience of being in a band, making a record and a DVD to watch together.

This innovative music project combined different platforms, linking together music therapy, studio style recording and video production and promotional concepts more typical in the music industry than the therapeutic world. Through this fusion participants are afforded a ‘musical mirror’ through which they could observe their well-functioning selves, and being in social and cultural connection to the wider world. Theoretically this work aligns with the recent psycho-socio-cultural perspectives of Community Music Therapy and ‘music and health’ programmes for recovery in various clinical areas.


A short film of this work can be found below.

International Association for Youth Mental Health 2017 Conference: Arts & Minds Project

This film 'Arts and minds' arose as a creative response to some of the questions raised around future proofing young peoples' mental health at the International Association for Youth Mental Health Conference 2017.

During an arts and minds creative music therapy workshop attendees and delegates offered their creative responses in the form of music, spoken word, singing, drumming and singing together as a choir, to some of the questions posed. These responses were recorded and edited and produced into a small film by myself which was played back over the conference big screen presentation for attendees and delegates to watch, during morning and afternoon breaks. For the people who took part they said it was exciting, inspiring and also scary for them listening and watching themselves back.