Kids Classics perform during Tradfest Drogheda 2019. Photo credit: Dave Keegan. Copyright: Kids Classics.

Gráinne Hope of Kids Classics performs at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda in 2019. Photo credit: Dave Keegan. Copyright: Kids Classics.

Kids Classics perform in a hospital corridor. Photo credit: Dave Keegan. Copyright: Kids Classics.


Trainees can include career musicians (all genres), young artist graduates, healthcare staff, activity coordinators and care assistants.

Practicum with onsite participants: patients, residents, healthcare staff,  activity coordinators and care assistants.


  • to connect artists and healthcare professionals to the field of Music & Healthcare. (Our projects are set up and delivered in close collaboration with healthcare staff).
  • to embed an approach that is consciously grounded in cultural interactions rather than clinical goals.
  • to introduce trainees to the concept of high-quality live music interactions.
  • to involve participants in the art of shared creative expression.
  • to impart the competencies and professionalism required for this role.
  • to enhance career opportunities for working artists.


Our approach to the training is based on the exploration and transmission of a skill set appropriate to the successful delivery of quality live music interactions in healthcare settings. The trainees are prepared ahead of their first live visit. The group learning process encourages the musicians to develop their confidence, flexibility and versatility through a series of tasks,  exercises, analyses and group discussions around the concept of live music and its place within the care environment.

Our healthcare partners support the project by opening their doors to the group and briefing them on the culture of daily life within that care environment. A designated staff member joins the facilitator team and enables engagement with residents across the site. As part of the debriefing process staff and trainers provide constructive feedback to the trainees at the end of each visit.

Training methods include group and individual learning as well as online and in-person supervision and mentoring.

A key element of our approach is to bring participants onsite to experience the appropriate placement of live music in real-time within a healthcare environment.

Topics supported by our methodology include:

  • the approach and best practice systems necessary for successful music interactions in healthcare settings
  • repertoire curation
  • ethics and confidentiality, health and safety considerations
  • spatial awareness and interactions with patients/residents, families and staff
  • partnership building within the healthcare sector
  • Self-care awareness, emotional wellbeing, empathy and intuition
  • challenges of teamwork in a sensitive environment explored through the medium of music and song.

Artistic Outputs

Each course delivers live music placements in a health setting with trainees playing for, and with patients, residents, family and staff.

Evaluation Methodology

The training courses are evaluated through:

  • reflective journals from the participants/musicians
  • individual and collective debriefing sessions and Q&As with trainers
  • completion of a written report for partners and stakeholders as required.

Evaluation Outcomes

Development of professionally competent healthcare musicians with a full understanding of the place of music and of the musician in health settings.

Challenges include:

  • Identifying funding partners to support the training required for artist development in this field of creative practice.
  • Growing and sustaining work opportunities for musicians following their training.
  • Promoting an understanding within the sector of the different approaches to music placement such as a trained musician in healthcare, an entertainer and a music therapist.

Related Learning:

  • Training projects in partnership with local government organizations and healthcare settings is key to the durability of any programme
  • Person-centered creative interactions facilitated by trained musicians can deliver high quality shared cultural experiences
  • Settings have recognised and acknowledged the difference between the presence of specifically trained musicians and regular entertainers, as well as the enhanced positive impact of the healthcare musician’s visit.

Outcomes: The development of local partnerships between county council arts offices, healthcare settings and local professional musicians.

Feedback from trainees 

Being a musician on corridors and beside beds I have experienced some of the most powerful and life-changing moments of my career as a professional musician.’ – Singer-Songwriter

It’s been far and away the most positive thing I’ve done as a musician.’ – Folk Artist

To know and be able to communicate directly with your audience through your art, is the pinnacle of a professional musician’s career. Music and Healthcare training and practical work has given me that skill.’ – Traditional Irish Musician

The training taught me to face into the energy that can exist between two or more people, however light or heavy that may be, and to be with it.’ – International Recording Artist

Every musician I believe will feel content and happy knowing they made a difference to someone’s life today.’ – Professional Entertainer

Partner feedback

‘I could write a book of the benefits that these talented musicians bring to our residents and our staff that witness the joy in each resident.’ – Director of Nursing

The training is in line with our strategy to integrate arts into all aspects of the community and to support artists to maximize their capacity and capability in the pursuit of their profession and ambition to live and work in the county.’ –  County Arts Officer

Documentation and Dissemination

Project reviews are undertaken by the organization through engagement with all the trainees and participants. These are shared with project partners.

Authorized video and photographic documentation is made available on websites and social media platforms.


  • Meath County Council Arts Office
  • Waterford County Council Arts Office
  • Create Louth, the Arts Service of Louth County Council
  • Limerick City and County Arts Office

Date of Publication

May 2022

Project dates

2013 - ongoing

Lead organisation

Kids Classics CLG

Funded By

County Council Arts Offices, Creative Ireland, Arts Council of Ireland


Gráinne Hope, Liam Merriman



Healthcare context(s)

Acute Hospitals, Older People, Training & Education

Nature of project

Collaborative/ participatory, Training/ Continuous Professional Development


Countrywide, Louth, Meath, Waterford

Web link


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