Molly Davies

Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2023

Creativity and Wellbeing Week

The 15th to the 21st of May 2023 hosts Creativity and Wellbeing week, and Mental Health Awareness week. We are joining the conversation on mental health and sharing ways in which we support our own mental wellbeing.

For many of us creativity can be a way to express our feelings and boost our mood. This may be through music making, singing, dancing, painting, and a host of other practices. Sometimes it can be the creativity in the world around us that inspires us and offers a space for calm reflection. This week we’re asking, ‘What do you do to support your mental health?’

How are you mindful of your mental health?


I’m lucky that I live in a place that is surrounded by countryside. From trails cutting through the countryside, often relics of now disused railway lines, to parklands, once open-cast industrial sites now abundant with developing flora and fauna. I’m also lucky that our family includes a walk and water-loving Labrador who gives us the ‘excuse’ to explore these places frequently.

I often find snippets of songs and melodies in my head as I walk. Sometimes I think set off by the rhythmic motion of walking, but often inspired by the surroundings. As those who know me well, I love to make up a lyric about the situation at the drop of a hat, something very useful in our Healthcare Musician practice. The melodies that come into my head usually stay in there for a while, inspired knowingly or sub-consciously by something seen or heard. They are often forgotten by the end of the walk as the next thing becomes more ‘important’, and that’s OK with me. It’s not about any kind of artistic end-result, but the impact of the journey (or the walk in this case). These moments of calm and creative solitude are really important, and often leave me ready to tackle the next challenge, to complete that piece of work that’s been weighing heavily on my mind, or to continue in the creative vein with some music-making. I think our work often creates a space for people to escape into that moment of creative ‘calmness’, so important for our health and wellbeing.

Take One Day

This video, created for our Take One A Day programme towards the end of 2020 was an attempt at capturing the results of this creative inspiration during a walk, before it was lost.  It was inspired by a White Egret who’s rock I borrowed to sit and play out the tune that followed.


Similarly to Nick, I find music can transport me, and help get my feelings out. I often find myself creatively inspired when I am frustrated, sad, or something eventful has happened. Creating music helps me to work through these emotions and events and make sense of them. I also love putting on my favourite songs in the car, or when I am at home and sing and dance (not in the car!) to boost my mood, and get all that energy out.

Last week I was delighted to receive a video from a patient showing Nick and Rich singing to a newborn. That sharing of music not only supported that family in that moment, but came to me at a time when I really needed it, and totally changed my day. The effect music has on us is amazing. To me, the sharing of music is such a generous and special experience. Although we talk everyday, we forget we can use our voices to sing, and express words with more meaning.

As a sociable person, I love spending time with my friends and family and find that talking through things that are on your mind always helps. Even if it is something very trivial, if you are a happy listening ear, others will often reciprocate. It can be useful to go for a walk and have a chat with a friend. By walking you are mirroring the conversation moving forward, working things out step by step, and hopefully coming to a conclusion by the end. I always try to check in on my friends and family and drop them a text or call to see how they are doing and remind them that someone is thinking about them. Sometimes it is just the acknowledgement that you are there that can help someone when they feel isolated.

Take a Breath

I created this video to help us all take a minute, breathe and be mindful of ourselves and our surroundings in this moment.


Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness in the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is often used as a therapeutic technique, and helps calm and reduce stress.


Watch the video and find out more about Mindfulness and the ‘STOP’ technique.


Our mental health today feels more important than ever before to look after, care and nurture it regularly, similar to our practical health considerations. For many of us, the pandemic really challenged our mental health and the stability of wellbeing, with everyone of us navigating a different route through the lockdowns. Whether it be connecting over Zoom or Teams or simply meeting up with our chosen 1 person in which to chat and refresh that sense of belonging. 

For me, as a Healthcare Musician, I really lost that sense of playing for and with patients in real time and in person. However I felt very lucky, being a musician, having the ability to channel my loss of interacting with others into a more creative output of writing pieces of music with different intentions, to share online and hopefully aid someone else’s wellbeing that day. This in turn supported my own wellbeing and mental health too, giving me a sense of purpose again.

I think sometimes it is easy to forget the power music can have on peoples lives everywhere, regardless of whether they are a musician or not. Music can act as a wonderful blanket of comfort in that time of need, whether it be a particular song with powerful lyrics that speaks to you or a particular ear worm tune that you just can’t help but hum or sing. So if there is a particular pressing thought that is pressing on your mind, its always worth turning to your musical blanket to seek some comfort in your own wellbeing and mental health.


This musical video was created as part of our work at Hopewood CAMHS unit in Nottingham in Dec 2022, creating online resources for young people to listen to, engage with and perhaps play along to.

I decided to put together a very simple chill-out piece using the instruments (Ukulele, HAPI drum, Xylophone, and Tar Drum) that we usually use in our practice in hospital settings, and also wanted to include soft vocal textures.

The visuals were collected throughout lockdown, as I, like so many, found new things and places to focus my time on, and found great comfort in the natural landscape around me.  Most of them are of outdoor scenes on walks around Derbyshire – some a little further afield when we were allowed to.

I hope the end result is a trance-like piece of music with accompanying scenes that will draw you in. Watch and listen out for the stars of the show – the grouse and the robin! Both the relaxing feel of the music and the chilled pace of nature in the videos is designed to soothe the soul and give you time out for about 6 minutes.  I really hope you enjoy it…


For me, maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing means knowing when to pause, redirect or stop. Being able to spot the signs of overwhelm, anxiety or stress within yourself and then having something purposeful to do until the feelings pass is essential. I enjoy going for a walk at those times – what works for you?

Comfort and Connection through Quiet Confidence

Comfort and Connection through Quiet Confidence

Towards the end of February, we were working our way through the hospital and we came to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Rich and patient and healthcare staff
"OPUS music are fantastic! As staff, we are so relieved when we see them walk through the unit doors. Today they came to the unit, we had a delirious patient that was hearing sound. They asked if now was a good time and we welcomed them greatly. OPUS music started playing and immediately the patient settled and relaxed back into their bed. They continued to play and calmed the patient so much that they fell into a deep and comfortable sleep ... They are so welcome and needed. They bring calm and positivity with them and help to make our jobs easier. They always manage to make the patients and family experience happier and nicer."
Healthcare Staff

Rich Kensington and I were suddenly called on by staff attending a young patient who was experiencing delirium and demonstrating distress at various sounds in the room. The situation appeared quite urgent. The staff stated that medical and nursing interventions were not working and they felt sure we should try some music. There was a sense of immediacy in the request and the staff seemed confident that music would be an effective alternative. We considered what to play / sing and how to deliver the piece.

We began purposefully and quite upbeat, with intensity to match the young person’s tempo and distress. After a few lines of the song, the young person connected with the music and a few changes were observed. Their own vocal noises lessened, movements became smaller, and they paused every now and again to listen. Rich moved the piece to a slower and more gentle tempo, but still with a strong vocal connection. Through this time we noted our own heartbeats racing, as a result of the intensity of the situation, and we realised we needed to bring our own internal energy levels down to assist the young patient.

We brought the pace right down singing a well-known lullaby song and keeping the vocal tone strong, open and connected. We reflected afterwards that this strength and consistency of voice may provide a focus for someone struggling through their own delirium to hang on to for a comfort and a way out.

Through the development of our practice over the years, we have constantly reflected upon the importance of being able to deliver strong, confident, quiet playing in hospital settings – to be able to match the volume of the environment suitably, but to sound positive in doing so. This situation reaffirmed that learning and caused us to really consider the impact of warm and present vocal tones and open-hearted singing in such a sensitive healthcare environment.

Eventually the young person relaxed so far, that their parent could allow their previous restraint to become a soothing embrace, and they finally fell into a deep sleep. We moved a little further away from this person’s bed area and playing our last gentle piece for the whole room to relax and gain a calmer inner state again.

This proved a powerful experience for the musicians too and one which has stayed with us both.

"This service is absolutely invaluable. Today they arrived and immediately calmed an incredibly delirious patient. It was exactly what was needed ... it is invaluable to provide holistic patient care. Thank you again for today your timing was absolutely perfect. Medical and nursing interventions were not helping, but this provided an immediate effect."
Healthcare Staff


Recruiting East Midlands Musicians

OPUS Music CIC is looking for musicians

Musicians from Ashfield, Bolsover and Nottingham are invited to work with OPUS Music to develop musical activities which support the health and wellbeing of people within those communities.

We have worked since 2010 as Healthcare Musicians in hospitals across the East Midlands, including Kings Mill, Royal Derby, Leicester and Nottingham Hospitals. We want to create local opportunities for people to experience the power of music in their own communities, involving local musicians.

Join one of our information events to find out more...

We are looking to work with experienced musicians who feel they may have something to offer to their communities, particularly musicians from communities currently under-represented in their work, including those identifying as from The Global Majority, Disabled or LGBTQIA+ communities, or people who have experienced socio-economic disadvantage. 

We are offering paid work to two musicians from each region to work alongside the OPUS team to develop this community offer.  This will be for up to five days development time from July to September, followed by a series of fifteen two-hour community based sessions from September to December.  Sessions may include music-making in any form, conversations about music, listening to music together, and whatever else the group want or need. 


Musicians interested in this opportunity are encouraged to get in touch with Nick Cutts, CEO, at nick@opusmusic.org or call on 07786 157515

National Portfolio Organisation

OPUS Music becomes National Portfolio Organisation

OPUS Music CIC is delighted to become part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April 2023

OPUS Music has been awarded £145,000 per year over the next three years by Arts Council England. This new investment reflects the significant role that OPUS plays locally, regionally, and nationally in the delivery, training, and advocacy for the use of music within health and social care. 

The funding will support the development of three new communities of practice based within the Ashfield, Bolsover, and Nottingham regions with a specific focus upon supporting people experiencing mental health challenges.

 It will allow OPUS to reach a wide range of musicians and participants, building an increasingly diverse and inclusive approach to the use of music within health and social care.

“We are delighted and hugely grateful to have been chosen as one of Arts Council England’s new National Portfolio organisations over the next 3 years This investment comes at a time when we are increasingly recognising the power that music can have on our lives, especially when we are experiencing health challenges. We are looking forward to working even more closely with these three communities, developing more, and increasingly relevant opportunities for people of all ages to both lead and to engage in music and music-making. We are excited to be working with them to create opportunities to explore how music can play an important part of the health and wellbeing of themselves and of their communities.”
OPUS Music Team
Nick Cutts



The morning’s Healthcare Musician practice had joys that ranged from the first smile of a very young baby in the Neonatal Unit to the last song of an older person’s life.

As I take a few moments to reflect upon what it means to be back in hospitals making music, I am once again overwhelmed by the human connection and depth of emotion tapped into by musical interactions in person.

As OPUS musicians, we profoundly felt the frustrations of not being able to be involved and to be present within the spaces at all for the last three years. It has taken such a lot to come back to work, and we are so delighted to be doing it once again. As the crisis of COVID-19 slips a little more into the past, we now find ourselves as Healthcare Musicians able to bring something of connective humanity into these difficult and delicate spaces once more.

We took our time in choosing the right moment and piece of music for the new family in the NICU. Twinkle Twinkle was chosen. The parents videoed their little one as they seemed to be sleeping. Then, just gradually, the first little smile appeared across their face. Then once and twice more before the final verse was sung. How special it was as Dad went back through the video and froze the frame where he saw his little one smile for the very first time. How wonderful to play this intimate role in helping to make memories for this family from such an early age.

For the older person we met later that same morning, it seemed hard to choose the piece to play to begin with. What would have the right content for this human being who had lived a long full life and was nearing the end of the journey? Having spoken with the relative, who had enthusiastically beckoned us in, we settled on Diamond Day – a lovely gentle piece including elements of descriptors of the countryside, the horses passing, the crops growing, and the people that you meet as you go through life. We were then told that they had owned a cart horse when very young and had often spoken about this. We had, fortunately, picked something truly connective and meaningful for this family experience.

Another older patient videoed us playing and singing Edelweiss all through. At the end they said “Aw, that was romantic! We do need a bit of that right now, don’t we?!” I think I know just what they meant…

It is important to reflect that these in person experiences are potentially powerful and meaningful for both the patients AND the Healthcare Musician. It is part our chosen professional musical world, and for the last three years there has been a definite void…

– Sarah Matthews

Recruiting OPUS Board Members

Recruiting OPUS Board Members

We are looking to recruit at least 2 additional board members (voluntary) to support our ambitious plans for the development our organisation and practice, our engagement with the health and social care sector, and our relationship with our communities with whom we co-produce improved health and wellbeing outcomes. ​

Please consider joining us in taking the next steps of our exciting journey!

More information about OPUS Music CIC is available in the linked document: OPUS information February 2023

Board member (Voluntary)

Main Responsibilities

  • Ensuring OPUS Music CIC complies with legislative and regulatory requirements, and acts within the confines of its governing document (Articles of Association), company law, policies and other relevant legislation or regulations.
  • Maintaining sound financial management of OPUS Music CIC’s resources, ensuring expenditure is in line with the organisation’s objects, mission and vision.
  • Contributing actively to the board’s role in offering strategic input to OPUS Music CIC in partnership with the artistic and production teams.
  • Evaluating outputs against agreed goals and targets.
  • Safeguarding the good name and values of OPUS Music CIC.
  • Promoting and developing OPUS Music CIC in order for it to grow and maintain its relevance to society.
  • Interviewing, appointing and monitoring the work and activities of the Chief Executive and other members of the OPUS team as/when required.
  • Ensuring the effective and efficient administration of OPUS Music CIC and its resources.
  • Acting as a counter-signatory on charity cheques and any applications for funds, if required.
  • Maintaining absolute confidentiality about all sensitive/confidential information received in the course of board members’ responsibilities to OPUS Music CIC.

In addition to the above statutory duties, each board member should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board reach sound decisions.

This may involve:

Leading discussions
Focusing on key issues
Providing advice and guidance on new initiatives 
Evaluation or other issues in which the board member has special expertise

Members are expected to attend all board meetings unless under exceptional circumstances. Board meetings are held four times a year and usually take part online via MS Teams (in person at least once per year). Papers are distributed a minimum of one week in advance of the meeting.

In exceptional circumstances, board members may be called to extraordinary meetings. EGMs are held for the consideration of non-recurring business that requires approval by the board and will be held online.

Board away-days may be held (a maximum of two per year), at which members are encouraged to attend where possible. Away-days are held in person and focus on discrete areas of development or of significant relevance at the time.

Board members may claim out of pocket expenses incurred in travelling to meetings.

We warmly welcome applications from those who are significantly underrepresented in our organisation and sector, including disabled people, and individuals from LGBTQIA+, Black, Asian and Global Majority Communities.  We are particularly keen to hear from members of the communities we serve or work alongside.

How to apply

In the first instance, please get in touch with Nick Cutts, Chief Executive, OPUS Music CIC for a conversation about becoming a board member.

07786 157515

We are hiring!

OPUS Music Team

We are recruiting!

We are looking for dynamic, forward-thinking people to join us in the next exciting phase of OPUS Music CIC’s development. 

Roles Available

We have identified roles and the expected duties within these as detailed below, however, we are keen to tailor these to the skill-sets and experience offered by applicants. We are open to exploring how what you bring may fit across part of, or across numerous roles identified below. 

Let’s create a role together that fits you, and what you will bring to OPUS.

Project Manager/Co Producer

(3 days per week)

  • Managing day to day programmes
  • Maintaining operational relationships with project partners
  • Fundraising (including grant-writing) according to future programme needs
  • Networking within the Arts and Health ‘world’
  • Monitoring and reporting on day-to-day progress and impact
  • Acting as Company Manager as required to carry out additional tasks relating to governance and/or reporting

Training and Learning Manager

(2 days per week)

  • Promoting training programmes for health/care staff and musicians (in partnership with the Marketing and Communications Manager)
  • Tailoring training programmes to meet the needs of partner organisations
  • Continually developing training offers to fit the needs of our clients
  • Engaging new audiences with our training offers
  • Resourcing training programmes and coordinating with our team of Trainers
  • Ensuring the learning from across programmes is shared within OPUS, seeding organisational development
  • Seeking and participating in wider opportunities for organisational learning, and for the dissemination of OPUS’ learning

Finance Manager

(1 day per week)

  • Maintaining up-to-date accounting records
  • Providing the Chief Executive and Board with regular management and other financial reports as required
  • Ensuring that financial reporting is in-line with the requirements of funders, including Arts Council England
  • Managing payments to Leadership and Artistic teams along with other service providers
  • Ensuring the timely delivery of invoices to, and payment from those in receipt of OPUS’ services
  • Liaising with the appointed external accountant as required


We are building capacity within our leadership team through the creation of new roles to deliver our bold ambitions within the Music in Health/care sector. These roles are supported by our successful application to be a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) of Arts Council England (ACE). The new roles will sit alongside the existing roles of Chief Executive (FT) and Marketing and Communications Manager (PT). For further context and background to OPUS, please refer to the ‘OPUS information Feb 2023’ document.

How to apply

Please send a letter of application detailing what you think you could bring to OPUS (no more than 2 sides of A4), with an accompanying CV, including the names of two referees to nick@opusmusic.org. References will only be pursued after the conditional offer of a role. Please direct any questions to Chief Executive Nick Cutts. 

You are very welcome to call or email to discuss a potential application. 
nick@opusmusic.org Tel: 07786 157515 

Your application should arrive no later than 5pm on Monday 20th March. We will inform candidates who have been shortlisted for interview on Friday 24th March. Interviews will be held via MS Teams on Monday 27th March and Wednesday 29th March (please indicate your availability for these dates on your application).

In-person Training: Exploring the role of the Healthcare Musician

In-person training for musicians: Exploring the role of the Healthcare Musician: 15th - 19th May 2023

We are delighted to be bringing back our in-person training for Musicians wishing to explore their potential role, or develop their current role, within health and social care.

Over the past 10 years, this highly-regarded course, a mixture of theory, application and reflection, has led to numerous practices and programmes emerging across the UK and beyond. We're now looking for our next cohort of musicians ready to make this journey.

A picture of a music making session with guitars xylophones

"This course opened my eyes to the many different ways to use music in a hospital setting. If you are a musician first and foremost and want to learn how to transfer those skills into a hospital setting in a sensitive and effective way this is the course for you. Getting to see the course leaders in action was a particular highlight for me. This excellent course offers musicians an inspirational opportunity to reassess and develop their own musical practice in an enjoyable, supportive and professional setting. For me, it has presented a pathway into a different, very rewarding way of making music professionally."

What are the benefits of the course?

When is the course?

The course will run from Monday 15th May – Friday 19th May 2023 inclusive.

Where is it based?

The Healthcare Musician Training will be based in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK.

What does the course include?


Day One

The first two days will explore the theory and context behind this rapidly growing practice, looking at acute and community-based approaches.


Day Two

You'll have the opportunity to develop your own musical, personal and professional skills and competencies supported by the OPUS Trainers.


Day Three

Following this, our healthcare partners at Sherwood Forest Hospitals and Nottinghamshire Healthcare will be hosting two days of training across a variety of contexts.


Day Four

During these two days you will apply yourself as a Healthcare Musician, with ample time to reflect on practice with your peers and our team of experienced Trainers.


Day Five

The final day is back in the training room, pulling together learning from the week, and developing plans for rolling out your own practice.

How many spaces are there?

How much will it cost?

We have 8 places available on this course, which will be supported by a team of 4 Trainers.

Fees for the week are £650.00

We are not able to offer accommodation, however we are happy to point you in the direction of suitable places to stay if required.

How to apply

We are asking for people to make an online application to take part in this course.

You can also find the application form here https://forms.office.com/e/6iExL0PxQE

Want to get involved?

Get in touch - let's work together