sounds human: a conference

Leeds College of Music's Sounds Human conference is a celebration and evaluation of the personal and social benefits of musical engagement.


The practice of making music is an intrinsic part of what makes us human, from solitary acts of private expression to industrial scale commercial enterprise, as well as providing a cornerstone in the development of communities. Being involved in music making, especially as part of a group, can help the development of mental resilience, it can support the road to recovery and enable people to foster an identity. Music is for many, a way to express their humanity in a moment, space or time.

Conversely, with its often long and anti-social working hours and lack of opportunity for forward planning and time management, there is evidence to suggest that professional engagement in music and its industry carries the risk of stress, poor mental health and physical illness.

This conference creates a stimulating international forum through which we aim to share practice and research associated with the humanness of music and the subsequent issues for individuals and groups of people who take part in musical engagement or work within the music industry.

Key Questions:

  • How does music benefit individuals and communities?
  • What issues surround the wellbeing of the artist working in the music industry?

This conference is of interest to those who are involved as artists, practitioners, participants, commissioners or researchers in the fields of arts/music industry and health, social care, social enterprise, and community based projects.

Conference Strands: 

  • Sharing current musical projects/ initiatives and practice
  • Research and evaluation

Projects and research represented at the conference include those which address:

  • Music and mental health
  • Music industry and mental health
  • Music and social integration
  • Working with community groups
  • The innate human ability to create music
  • Personal experience in achieving technical musical development