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About Open Strings Music

Open Strings Music is a CIC (Community Interest Company, company number 8988791) which provides participatory music opportunities for people of all abilities and backgrounds to connect and create through making music together.

Our Vision

We wish to contribute to a society in which everyone can connect through music-making: accessing, playing, and enjoying music together, regardless of economic circumstances, ability or needs, age, social status or previous musical experience.

Our Mission

Open Strings Music’s mission is to promote health & wellbeing, social inclusion and equality, by enabling the transformative experience of making music together.


• to enable people to access musical group activities: workshops, projects and events
• to promote health and wellbeing by embedding activities which support dexterity, mobility and cognitive skills
• to help participants develop their confidence, self-expression, and musical vocabulary
• to provide high-quality opportunities for groups of people to learn and play instruments (primarily stringed) together

Our Values

• Empowerment of people
• Quality of life and wellbeing
• Partnership and collaboration
• Social equality and justice
• Inclusivity

Open Strings Music works in accordance with Sound Sense’s Code of Practice for Community Musicians

Who We Are

Board of Directors:

Director: Isabel Emerson BE SSE 11-14More

Isabel Emerson is a highly experienced Goldsmiths University of London -trained community musician, professional cellist and trainer. Isabel is passionate about enabling the remarkable effects of participatory music on wellbeing, and active in the field of promoting creative connection using music.

Isabel works both on Open Strings Music projects as well as with Rhythmix in various settings: Wishing Well – bedside music for connection and wellbeing with young patients at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, with children & young people with special needs in respite care, in Brighton & Sussex, and in acute dementia settings and community hospitals throughout Sussex.

Isabel is a board member of community music organisation Sound Sense and a member of the Musicians’ Union. She is DBS (CRB) checked and has public liability insurance cover of £10m.


Director: Emma Welsh Emma ChichesterMore

Emma trained as a counsellor at the Re-Vision Centre for Integrative Psychosynthesis and on music in healthcare settings training with Opus Music. She believes that music and the creative arts have a key role to play in humanising healthcare, due to the profound positive impact that creativity can have on the health and wellbeing of individuals, relationships and communities. She is particularly interested in the connection between music-making and memory, and using voice and bodywork to build confidence and promote inclusivity.

Emma has facilitated creative projects using music and art with a wide range of community groups, including LGBT young people, adults with disabilities, the Jewish community and people with dementia and their carers.

Emma plays guitar and teaches ukulele; she is DBS checked and has public liability insurance cover of up to £10m.

Director: Ruth Williams Ruth

Ruth has worked as a university researcher for over 20 years and has experience in evaluation and impact, project management, governance and strategic development. Ruth is now a part-time freelance researcher and consultant, as well as a governor at a Brighton primary school and a volunteer with Age UK Brighton & Hove. She is also a cello player with Silver Strings, one of Open Strings Music’s longest-running projects.


Ruth’s work with older (and younger) people, and her association with Open Strings Music, has shown her the powerful impact that music-making and creativity can have on people’s lives.


Advisory Group:

Annita MossopAnnita

Naomi Smith 

Update, March ’17: We currently have a vacancy on our Advisory Group – please contact us for more details. 

Sessional Workers:

We work with a range of highly-experienced community musicians, all of whom are DBS-checked and have public liability insurance cover.


We are currently commissioned by Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, and work in partnership with many organisations such as Chichester Dementia Action Alliance, Brighton & Hove City Council, and residential settings throughout Brighton and Hove.

Open Strings is the trading name of Open Strings Music CIC.