The Joy of Sound

London Met PhD student founds charity, providing bespoke music instruments and workshops where disabled people make a new kind of community music.
Date: 18 October 2017

London Metropolitan University PhD Organology research student William Longden launched Joy of Sound, a charity that aims to inspire people of all abilities to make music together.

Joy of Sound has engaged more than 1,500 volunteers and many thousands of participants of all ages and abilities in arts and music for wellbeing activities.

The charity works to engage and empower marginalised people by facilitating their active participation as equal partners in a broad range of exciting and creative activities including music workshops, theatre arts productions, festivals, films and educational outreach.

Based at Vauxhall, Lambeth, with alternative bases at Hackney and Notting Hill, Joy of Sound delivers weekly workshops, public events and presentations throughout the year working with local, national and international participants.

During 2016/17, Joy of Sound volunteers facilitated more than 11,000 session attendances. Workshops involve members playing an instrument of their choice and encouraging participants to play their instrument where appropriate, creating a wider harmony. The workshop is accessible to people of all abilities.

“Developing a music that can engage so many different people is inspiring, and for some, it is shocking to discover a music that is so natural, spontaneous and truly inclusive” said William.

“What makes this worthwhile for me, is being part of a group where everyone is acknowledged and appreciated as an equal.”

A key feature of the charity’s success has been William’s current PhD research into the co-design and production of bespoke music instruments, made to meet the personal likings and abilities of disabled and impaired players, including people with profound and multiple access requirements. Several London Met students have participated as instruments co-designers and makers, others as project volunteers and workshop participants.

During May 2016, the Joy of Sound volunteers delivered a week-long inclusive theatre arts and music open workshop, culminating in a public performance, as guest artists at the renowned Grotowski Institute in Wrocław, as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations.

The Joy of Sound charity was the European Year of Volunteering ACE Award winner (2011), gained a ‘Team London Award presented by the Mayor of London to ‘Outstanding Voluntary Organisations’. (2015) and was voted ‘Lambeth’s Voluntary Community Organisation of the Year’ (2015)

If you’ve been inspired and would like to experience a Joy of Sound inclusive music session, to learn more about the charity’s bespoke musical instruments projects, or become a volunteer, find out more on the Joy of Sound website.

London Met offer a range of postgraduate research degrees. Find out more about how you can apply directly through our website.