Muso Baby at Manchester Museum

Muso Baby, Manchester Museum’s social prescribing programme has provided a lifeline for parents experiencing or at risk of anxiety or post-natal depression. The programme returns with a new series in the autumn.

Manchester Museum launched its social prescribing programme, Muso Baby in March 2019 in response to local needs. Working with music therapist, the programme delivers a therapeutic intervention in a non-clinical setting for parents experiencing or at risk of anxiety or post-natal depression and their babies, who might not normally access this kind of support or visit a museum.

For the first year, this programme took place in the museum. However, during the initial stages of lockdown in March 2020 these friendly, interactive music and sensory play sessions were quickly moved online. From March to mid October 2020, Muso Baby was facilitated via a closed Facebook page, enabling much needed access for the wider family, who were home schooling at that time.

Following October Half Term 2020, Muso Baby was once again reintroduced as a six week programme for parents with babies, open to referrals from health care professionals and accessible online via Zoom, enabling the more social elements of the original sessions in the museum in this new virtual space.

Led by music therapist Rachel Swanick, each series has 6 interactive music sessions, which share techniques with parents for bonding with their babies through music, actions and song. The sessions provide a safe space for parents to share their own experiences with a small group, whilst aiming to support parents bonding with their little one. They also give an opportunity to meet new people who may have similar experiences, whilst exploring the museum’s collections.

Parents attending the sessions have commented on how much they’ve enjoyed ‘spending time with other parents’ and ‘watching their children learn and respond to the songs.’ They have also talked about how the sessions have both lifted their mood and helped them to feel more connected to their babies.

Muso Baby is for parents and babies (not yet walking), and the number of participants is kept to no more than 12, enabling meaningful interaction and deeper connection within the group. The programme is open to referrals through GPs, Health Visitors, Charities and Health and Social Care professionals.

Manchester Museum’s next series of Muso Baby sessions will commence from Tuesday 9 November 2021 online via Zoom. All sessions are free.

“This (Muso Baby) has been a lifeline” Muso Baby participant, autumn 2020.

“My daughter is five and adopted and she LOVES the sessions!” Muso Baby participant.

“Music therapy is using music to help people to feel better. It helps people connect with themselves, those around them and also the environment they are in” Rachel Swanick

Find out more about the programme or contact Victoria Grant, Family Programme Coordinator at Manchester Museum for further information.