The project investigated the perceived impact of music participation on various communities in Hull as part of the City of Culture year in 2017 and involved two separate studies.

The project was funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation via PRS Foundation and was led by Dr Andrew King (University of Hull).

New Music Biennial Composer residencies

Five composer residencies took place over the first half of the year in different communities around Hull, including older adults, adults with dementia, formerly homeless people, travellers, refugees and asylum-seekers, and school children. Each composer worked within a few of these communities to facilitate collaborative composition projects and the residencies culminated in two large-scale performance days at Hull City Hall. The research project explored the perceived impact of participation in the collaborative composition workshops on participants, as well as the skillsets employed by the composer-facilitators who led the workshops. The findings of the research in relation to older adults’ wellbeing, in particular, are published as part of a special issue of Frontiers in Psychology.

New Music Biennial Minute of Listening

Minute of Listening is a digital tool created by Sound and Music, the UK’s national charity for new music, that introduces pupils to a wealth of exciting sonic experiences. Pupils listen actively to a minute of creative music or sound at some point during the school day and teachers may choose to employ various extension activities to focus on creative, musical, or cross-curricular development. For Hull 2017 and as part of the PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial, over 50 primary schools in Hull participated in Minute of Listening. The majority of the Minutes were excerpts of new music expertly selected and curated by Sound and Music and connected in some way to Hull to further engage the children in the New Music Biennial and the wider City of Culture programme.

Our research considered the benefits of engaging children in new music through Minute of Listening, with reference to the perceived impact on children’s musical and extra-musical skills and wellbeing. Through observational and questionnaire data, the study sought to understand:

  • how teachers use Minute of Listening to support learning
  • what the musical or extra-musical benefits of participating in Minute of Listening might be
  • what effect Minute of Listening might have on pupils’ wellbeing.

Six Minute of Listening sessions were observed and video-recorded at three Hull primary schools over the course of four months during 2017. Observational data were analysed and various teaching strategies facilitating the children’s engagement with Minutes of new music were identified. Data analysis also revealed three types of listening that were encouraged and developed during Minute of Listening sessions: focused listening, critical listening, and listening to others. Subsequently, several potential benefits, both musical and extra-musical, of listening to and participating in activities exploring new music were determined. In addition to the expected musical benefits, analysis suggested that participation in Minute of Listening supported development of descriptive vocabulary, creative expression, concentration, self-reflection, perspective-taking, and critical evaluation.

Featured researcher

Caroline Waddington-Jones

Dr Waddington-Jones's research interests span music psychology and music education.

View profile