Musical Journeys with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

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Participants with visual impairments enjoyed a musical journey as they celebrated the finale of a programme with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO).

The finale event marked the end of a Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) creative engagement project for visually impaired participants from Dundee and the surrounding area.

Over the past eight weeks, participants worked with three musicians from the RSNO and were introduced to a wide range of musical instruments. The sessions were led by Helen Brew, RSNO Associate Principal Flute, and Lorna Rough and Ursula Heidecker Allen, RSNO Violin.

The finale event was held at the Dundee Blind & Partially Sighted Society (DBPSS) headquarters in Dundee.

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Project Leader, Helen Brew said, “Throughout the programme, the group explored rhythmic and vocal ideas, learned to play various percussion instruments and explore the sounds they make both individually and collectively. We’ve discovered many talents throughout the project, both new and revisited.

“It became clear that the group were strong vocally and we explored singing and creative vocal music. They have learned to connect with one another and work as a musical team. Most importantly each week has brought something new and we have had a lot of fun!”

Samantha Wright, Head of RSNO Learning and Engagement, said, “The musicians have taken the group through a number of planned musical forms including a samba session with RSNO percussionist John Poulter.  What’s exciting for us is working to allow people with varied musical knowledge to engage and contribute to group music making.  It has been particularly rewarding for us to see how motivated participants were to regain and learn new skills in a supportive environment.

“Music can have an incredible impact on health and wellbeing and so it’s fantastic to work with Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust to bring these projects to people across Tayside.”

Chris Kelly, THAT project co-ordinator, said, “Partnering up with Scotland’s national orchestra has given our participants access to an elite level of musicianship and opened a new perspective on music and the thrill of playing together.

“We are all learning so much from the partnership that we hope to be able to develop further work with the visually impaired in the future.”

The RSNO programme is one of a range of art programmes for people with long-term conditions currently being delivered by Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust, which promotes creative engagement with the arts to enhance participant’s health and well being.

For further information please contact Chris Kelly on 01382 835507 or email

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