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The Guild of Lifemusicians




The LIFEMUSIC training programme, developed over many years at the University of Chichester offers a unique and well-tested approach to participatory, therapeutic and community music.

The method has been developed and refined over a period of more than twenty-five years and has trained over 150 practitioners many of whom now regularly use the method in a wide variety of professional fields including: docial and health care, music therapy, education, community support, team building.


The method employs creative participation within an accessible and simple-to-learn framework.

Lifemusic is an accessible and creative form of music-making for groups which is designed to promote well-being, enhance relationships, enrich lives and strengthen communities. Both as a philosophy of music and as a specific approach to creative music-making it was established and developed by Dr. Rod Paton at the University of Chichester, through a process which began as long ago as 1988.

The practice draws upon an expanding tradition of community music which has its roots in many diverse traditions including free jazz, improvisation, music therapy, community choirs, progressive education and world music.

Since 2007 Lifemusic has been refined and developed into a specific method of community music practice which has many potential applications all of which have been tested and proven to be beneficial and effective. These include work with disadvantaged groups, in health and social care, particularly mental health and neurological rehabilitation, with young offenders, drug and alcohol dependency, older people (including dementia friendly groups) and with families and children.

Lifemusic method has also been tested and proven effective as a training tool for leadership, group management, team building and music education.  This 6-day training programme was established in the following year and to date, 15 cohorts of trainees has resulted in approximately 150 trained Lifemusic practitioners.

Lifemusic is unique in that it can be learned and used by both musically trained and untrained individuals. In fact, training groups have been most successful when made of a roughly equal mix of musically trained individuals working alongside professionals from other spheres. Trainees have therefore included psychotherapists, social workers, health professionals, art therapists, actors, teachers, visual artists, support workers as well as music graduates and professional musicians.

Everybody is musical

There are no wrong notes in music

Every sound has a meaning

Making music is an act of trust

The Lifemusic training will equip you to:

  • Facilitate workshops according to the Lifemusic method

  • Improvise fluently

  • Initiate group music making

  • Communicate effectively, verbally and musically.

  • Design and deliver projects which focus on the needs of specific groups.

  • Evaluate your work in terms of well-being, group awareness and community building.

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can be learned and used by both musically trained and untrained individuals.