• Why should prisoners take part in something as enjoyable as music? They are in prison to be punished.

Changing Tunes exists to rehabilitate prisoners and help prevent re-offending after release. Our work is effective in doing this, so to stop our work would simply result in more victims of crime. Removing everything meaningful from a prisoner’s life simply leads to them harbouring bitterness and resentment, and reinforces destructive patterns of behaviour. It is a myth that prison deters people from re-offending, a depressing 61% will re-offend within two years. This figure is reduced to less than 15% for prisoners who have actively participated in our programme.

  • Where do you get your money from?

Charitable Trusts, prison budgets and individual supporters. We also raise some funds at concerts and from the sale of CDs and downloads.

  • How many staff do you employ?

In the South-West region we currently employ a full-time Director, two Team Managers, a part-time Office Manager and nine part time Musicians in Residence (between 1 and 3 days per week). We also have a network of unpaid volunteers. For more information please see our Personnel page.

  • Which prisons do you work in?

Bristol, Bronzefield, Cardiff, Channings Wood, Eastwood Park, Erlestoke, Exeter, Ford, Guys Marsh, Leyhill, HMP Isle of Wight (Parkhurst & Albany) and Winchester. For more information please see Where Do We Work?

  • How much does it cost to have a CT musician in prison?

The basic cost for one musician to provide 3 sessions per week in one prison for one year is approximately £9,000.

  • How can music reduce re-offending?

We have a whole page on this subject. 

  • What sorts of prisoners do you work with?

We work with all kinds of prisoners in all kinds of establishments, from high security through to open prisons. These include training prisons; local prisons; dispersion prisons; male and female establishments; dedicated lifer establishments; short, medium and long-term prisoners; adults and young offenders; segregated prisoners, etc.

  • How many do you have in your group on average?

On average, five. Although this can vary wildly from one week/session to the next. We rarely have fewer than two or more than 10.

  • Are they all beginners?

No. We work with prisoners with all levels of musical skill, from complete beginners to ex-professional musicians.

  • How do you choose who comes?

Anyone is allowed to attend (provided there are no security issues) and prisoners simply apply and they are invited to come to the next session or they are added to the waiting list.

  • Do they mess around in the sessions?

No. All those who attend value the sessions hugely and would not do anything to jeopardise their chance to attend or our work in the prison. The very occasional issues we do have are usually a result of personal differences within the group, but these are invariably resolved between thse involved and do not disrupt our sessions. The prisoners often come with emotional issues of the day, and we find that these are often dealt with through interaction, understanding and support from the other prisoners, or through the music making itself.

  • Are you music teachers in prison?

Not exactly. Although there is a certain amount of traditional one-on-one teaching, the majority of our work involves encouraging prisoners to work together in groups towards common goals. We are more like lead musicians, providing guidance, but allowing sessions and participants to develop organically. It is often good for prisoners to take initiatives themselves, and to realise that they can have important creative input into the groups.