My Passion for Music and the Arts - Breathe

My Passion for Music and the Arts

Mon 29 Nov 2021

Meet Lorna, who is the Project Manager for Breathe Melodies for Mums, a research-based intervention using singing to improve maternal mental health.

All our programmes at Breathe Arts Health Research are backed up by robust research and are planned and delivered by a team of passionate and knowledgeable people.  Every role across the company is varied, we would like to give you a snapshot into the daily working lives of our amazing team. This blog is the first of a series of interviews that will introduce you to the people behind our programmes at Breathe.  Lorna was interviewed by Lilli Murdoch, Digital Comms Officer for Breathe.

Lorna’s interest in arts and health began when she was in her teens. She volunteered at a residential home working with people with dementia and held a film night each week. Lorna had read that music could have a positive impact on people with dementia, so decided to play musicals from across the decades. At the home the severity of dementia varied, some people couldn’t remember their own name, or where they were. However, Lorna told me that amazingly the residents would sing along to the musicals each week, and they would remember the music and lyrics.

I’ve always been passionate about the arts and music, having worked in the music industry and specifically involved with music and mental health projects, I always knew music had power. To be able to join the health and charity sector, using music as a tool for mental health, has been incredible. That’s what attracted me to work at Breathe Arts Health Research.
Lorna Greenwood, Project Manager, Breathe Melodies for Mums

Sing Away the Winter Blues

Lorna’s first experience of the Breathe Melodies for Mums programme was during the winter lockdown when it was adapted to be delivered online to reach mothers. Previously, Lorna ran online events for Action Aid including a huge comedy fundraiser, so the thought of delivering online didn’t faze her, although she did tell me that the nervousness was still there, as it can’t always be seamless, glitches can happen.

I’d never been to an in-person Breathe Melodies for Mums session, so I had nothing to compare it to. I was seeing the programme from a different angle and could immediately appreciate the impact it was having. You could see the connection between the mums just being online together and amazingly, you could also see the babies interacting with each other through the screen.
Lorna Greenwood, Project Manager, Breathe Melodies for Mums

A Wall of Beautiful Sound

In October, after 9 months of delivering Breathe Melodies for Mums programmes online, we were finally able to offer in-person sessions to women in London.

“It was a wall of beautiful sound; I just couldn’t stop smiling. I was really surprised by how quickly the group broke into harmonies. It was so valuable to be able to connect, interact and observe how everyone was doing in the room through body and eye contact.”

Biggest Challenge

“I know it sounds clichéd, but my biggest challenge is/was the pandemic, it is something none of us have ever had to deal with before. We’ve had to constantly monitor government guidelines, adapt programmes to accommodate new legislation and find innovative approaches to make our model flexible and make sure everyone feels safe.”

Biggest Joy

Before and after the programme, women complete a health and wellbeing screening including a number of clinical measures, to measure the impact of the Breathe Melodies for Mums programme. Seeing the scores improve over the 10 weeks is amazing. We can really prove that the programme is having a positive impact.

Someone shared with me that the whole family learned the Spanish lullaby ‘Arroro Mi Nino' and were singing it to the baby. You’re not just reaching people in the room, you are reaching the rest of the family too, who may also be struggling.
Lorna Greenwood, Project Manager, Breathe Melodies for Mums

Through the Looking Glass

Lorna’s role is really varied. One of the major aspects of her role is to oversee the planning, promotion and delivery of the programme and she works closely with King’s College London on a large scale national research programme called SHAPER. This research assesses the effectiveness and implementation of three arts-in-health interventions; Melodies for Mums is one of these.  The primary aim is to upscale and embed them in a clinical pathway, strengthening the case for NHS funding in the long term.

“This week I gave a presentation to the Association of Infant Mental Health, around the research and delivery of Breathe Melodies for Mums. I’ve also been looking for new partnerships and ways to raise awareness and promote the programme. I work closely with the research team at King’s, and communicate with them daily about recruitment, the women on the programme, processes, assessments and safeguarding.”

The Research Behind Breathe Melodies for Mums

As well as screening before and after the programme, all participants give saliva samples, to record if there are any chemical changes in the body as a result of attending the Breathe Melodies for Mums sessions. I asked Lorna what the research part of the programme means to her:

“I’m a massive nerd. I did a natural sciences degree and majored in chemistry; I love research. Working on this project has been really rewarding for me, as for the first time since graduating, I feel like I’m using my science background knowledge alongside my passion of arts and music. I feel privileged to be working with some of the best researchers in the field of perinatal health and psychiatry. It’s pretty mind blowing.”

Our next Breathe Melodies for Mums programmes will be starting in January and February 2022, to find out more and how to sign up, please click here or email us on