BLSO Charity Information
Welcome to the section of our website dedicated to our exciting new Charity. Our aim is to encourage music making at a local level within the UK emergency services and also make music therapy available to those in the emergency services who are suffering from PTSD, stress, anxiety and related conditions.
Our vision is to work with blue light organisations, staff associations, businesses who have an interest in the emergency services, other charities and specialist music therapy providers to offer music making experiences to as many people as possible across the UK. In addition to building on the great work the main orchestra has done at bringing musicians together, we will do this in two distinct ways:
Local music making
We want to encourage as much music making as we can on a local level. Our CEO, Seb Valentine has set up several local choirs and music groups and knows first hand the challenges starting a new group brings. You will need to find a suitable rehearsal venue, advertise, decide what kind of group you will form, source music, get someone to take rehearsals and accompany them. You may be lucky enough to be able to source these things for free and you may be able to take rehearsals yourself or know someone who can, but what if you don't? With cuts to buildings across the public sector it is increasingly difficult to find a room large enough to make music in. We would like to provide start-up grants and advice to people who want to set up a group and work with them to develop it to become self funding.
If you are interested in setting up a music group in your area, please email us to register your interest and we will contact you when we launch the scheme.
We believe that taking part in musical activities helps to build mental resilience and enriches peoples lives but where people are struggling to cope, music therapy can provide effective treatment.
The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century profession formally began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. (musictherapy.org)
See the video below for a short explanation of what music therapy is:
More recently music therapy has been used successfully to improve outcomes for veterans with PTSD. We believe strongly that music therapy has the potential to hugely benefit those in the emergency services who are similarly suffering due to repeated exposure to traumatic events. We have been discussing this with Daniel Thomas of Chroma, the UK’s leading national provider of arts therapy services, who is keen to work with us. On treatment of veterans, he said,
“PTSD is a normal reaction to abnormal events. Traumatic memories that cause PTSD are not stored like ‘normal’ memories, but music can by-pass cognitive appraisal to be used by the amygdala, the part of the brain which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory, in almost direct emotional processing.
“For many, talking therapies can be both distressing and intrusive and that’s why we developed a music therapy rehabilitation to help veterans. It’s something that works, as music is usually enjoyed in a safe environment, whilst also being evocative.
“Treatments such as music therapy can be a highly effective and cost-efficient approach. Specifically, in instances of PTSD, music therapy can help an individual to self-regulate through difficult emotional states and restore social relationships by fostering feelings of belonging.”
As a serving Police Officer, our CEO and founder Seb Valentine knows first hand how difficult and painful it can be to talk about traumatic events he has witnessed, even with colleagues. The job of blue light workers is to help people in crisis but the desire to help is, for many, an intrinsic part of their personality and goes far beyond being just a job. In fact, police officers refer to what they do simply as "The Job", and ironic joke on the fact that it tends to take over your whole life and is anything but. This means that it is very difficult for those in the emergency services to seek help when they need it and to talk about their experiences. Music gives an opportunity to express emotion without having to talk about the actual events.
Here is a video by Dan Thomas from Chroma, the UK's leading provider of Arts therapies, on how we could work together: