Changing Lives


Plymouth Music Zone's youngest ever participant was 9 days old - the oldest is 94 and counting. So many stories to tell. Stories of change. Stories of courage. Stories that inspire...

When a person first comes through the door at Plymouth Music Zone it means the world to us that they finally leave having had an experience that has had a truly positive impact. Whether it's feeling more confident, listened to, more self-expressed, less isolated and lonely, having made new friends, having a sense of achievement from creating something or performing in front of a crowd, feeling more valued and accepted for who they are, excited about their new found talent, or having a new found firm belief in themselves as a musician - some kind of difference that's meant the world to them...

Here are just a few of the PMZ stories where your support really does help music to make a difference...


John is a resident at Devonport Views Residential Home. He is a full time carer for his wife who has Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes he runs errands for other residents too. John doesn’t have much time for himself and he also has health and mobility problems of his own.

John first encountered PMZ as part of the ‘Keep Singing, Keepsake’ project - an inter-generational music programme created to help reduce social isolation for older people. It involves weekly singing sessions and the creation of audio and video 'keepsakes' that can be shared with family and friends.

The residents of Devonport Views live in separate flats and may only see each other in the corridors on the way out to the shops. The PMZ sessions give the residents a chance to get together in the communal lounge and socialize and chat, as well as exercising their tonsils and playing instruments.

John has a pretty amazing voice. He loved the weekly singing sessions and they gave him a precious hour a week to do something just for himself.

When John saw himself in the Keepsake video he said:
“When I saw it (the film) at PMZ, it sparked me. I was different from what I thought I was – I realised I’m getting older and not looking after myself. There I was on the TV with only one tooth. It’s brought home to me that I need to pick myself up, so I’m much more positive now. I’m much happier. It’s brought a new lease of life to me really. It really has changed my life – I’m not trying to flatter you…. I felt like I was asleep and it woke me up.”

Since seeing the video ‘Keepsake’, John has been to the dentist and is getting a new set of teeth. He has spruced up his flat with a new carpet. He has joined another weekly music session, ‘Reverb’ - this time at PMZ’s Music Education Centre in Devonport, so he gets out of the home more. He has also become a member of the ‘PMZ’er Forum’ – a stakeholder forum made up of people with and without disabilities and those who support them. The Forum feeds in to developing the policies and future direction of Plymouth Music Zone.  John has rediscovered himself and is taking an active part in things again. He even bravely sang a solo on stage at the PMZ ‘Festive Jam’ concert. This was the first time he had ever done anything like this in his life!

Talking about his first session at Reverb, John said:
“It was an inspiration to be with disabled musicians. I felt welcomed and it wasn’t strange at all. The last time I felt part of something was when I was in the army. I feel part of this now. There’s nobody criticising me.”

This is the Keepsake video that inspired John:



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