Changing Tunes is a registered charity that uses music teaching, rehearsing, recording, performance, improvisation and composition to aid the rehabilitation of prisoners and ex-prisoners. We have been doing this work for over 10 years. The common purpose created through the shared experience of making music provides many opportunities to build self-esteem, educate and change attitudes of offenders.
Ex-prisoners who have actively participated in the Changing Tunes' programme have a re-conviction rate of between 10% - 15%, compared to the national average of 61%.
Each week we lead music sessions in nine prisons (twelve by Easter '08), enabling prisoners to play music in groups and learn music theory. We see on average seven prisoners at a time. In order to give our work focus we work towards concerts, services or CD production for the Koestler Awards (we have won 26 in the last two years). Last year we worked with 171 prisoners, delivered 1704 prisoner sessions and held 15 concerts in prison.
Changing Tunes is seeking to expand, particularly into prisons within a hundred mile radius of Bristol. We normally seek funding for our work from education budgets and base our musicians in the Chaplaincy Team. This enables them to work without the support of an accompanying officer and to collect prisoners from the wings when necessary. To employ a Changing Tunes' musician to deliver three sessions per week costs £7,000 per annum.
Currently we work in HMP Bristol, HMP Eastwood Park, HMP Leyhill, HMP Shepton Mallet, HMP Erlestoke, HMP/YOI Guys Marsh & HMP Kingston, HMP Parkhurst.