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Ros Hawley


Ros Hawley is a sensitive and versatile musician who has developed specialist skills around the use of music in healthcare and  SEN settings. She has worked extensively as a lead artist and trainer for Jessie's Fund, Live Music Now! and The Royal Northern College of Music. As Music for Health Training Officer at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) she has played a significant role in the development of its innovative Music for Health Programme, training and mentoring both undergraduates and graduate musicians through accredited action learning placements in paediatric hospital, adult hospice and SEN settings. This has helped musicians to cultivate the skills required in order to play in healthcare settings, to engage and connect with patients and to deal with the unpredictable environment of a hospital, and in addition open up opportunities for students in considering new career possibilities involving music, health and disability. Ros’ training work focuses on using practical and simple musical ideas and exercises as starting points to develop group awareness, interaction and communication, generating and identifying the skills and awareness needed for interacting with people of different ages and cultural backgrounds in hospital settings. Ros is now sharing her expertise with practitioners and researchers, making an invaluable contribution to the evaluation and  dissemination of this work to other interested bodies; her work was recently celebrated as part of a two day seminar on Music in Healthcare held at the RNCM in May 2012.


Graduating from the RNCM in 1993, Ros was awarded a bursary to study on the postgraduate Performance and Communications Skills course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, specialising in workshop skills, leadership and music education. From there she gained extensive experience working as a musician in a diverse range of settings through Live Music Now! and  went on to deliver training for new musicians to the scheme. As lead musician for the music charity Jessie’s Fund she leads creative projects, staff training and musicians’ mentoring  in special needs schools and children’s’ hospices throughout the UK. A special interest for Ros in this work is in developing communication using music with children with complex communication needs. Orchestral projects include the design and delivery of special needs, early years, primary schools and projects with deaf and hearing impaired children and young people for the Hallé (including leading education projects the Vienna tour in  2002), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Sinfonia Viva, Manchester Camerata and Britten Sinfonia. Her collaborative work with theatre includes touring work for Interplay, a company specialising in both sensory and inclusive performances and tours, and Artizani Street Theatre Company. Ros has been working for a number of years as Musician in Residence at the Seashell Trust in Manchester, where live music is used as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to learning and therapy to deliver listening programmes, relaxation and leisure time sessions, curriculum and cultural enrichment and educational support.


Ros’s European career in Music and Health began with an appointment in 2005 to lead a group of 3 UK musicians for the first Musique et Santé  European Music in Hospitals Exchange  funded by Culture 2000/Arts Council England. This provided a unique opportunity to work alongside the musicians of Musique et Santé (Paris), one of the leading organisations to develop music work in healthcare settings, and to participate in hospital residencies with musicians from France, Ireland and the UK. Since the Exchange, Ros has devised and delivered musical residencies in a variety of UK healthcare settings including the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, Wigan and Leigh Hospice and Robin House Children’s Hospice in Scotland, and at Waterford Healing Arts Trust in Ireland. She has undertaken further training and development with Musique et Santé and has delivered training and participated in exchanges with the RNCM and Musique et Santé on a number of European programmes, most recently in Paris and Bucharest. She has continued to work to develop interactive music programmes on the wards in Children’s Hospitals, alongside Mark Fisher and 3 trainee graduate musicians, most recently as part of a Youth Music funded project, Medical Notes, which enabled the awareness and profile of music work with patients and families and staff at the hospital to be raised, and culminated in a commissioned report by Salford University in July 2012 ( see articles). 

Alongside her career in Music and Health, Ros is also known for her work as a klezmer musician and teacher . Described by the Guardian as ‘one of the UK’s leading klezmer clarinettists’, Ros was supported in 2008-11 by the Jewish Music Institute to further develop her studies in Jewish music by receiving support to undertake a masters degree in performance, specialising in klezmer music, for which she was awarded distinction; this included researching the repertoire of the Meron tradition, a unique klezmer repertoire that incorporates Arabic and Eastern Mediterranean influences alongside traditional Jewish and Hasidic traditions. Her interest in the process of learning music of another culture through her Masters Degree research and subsequent study led to her involvement as co-founder and ensemble tutor for the University of Manchester Klezmer ensemble, named after the late Manchester violinist Michael Kahan.


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