About Us

Hull Sound Circles

We are a community music organisation based in Kingston upon Hull. Our goal is to bring recreational music making to our community. Music is a powerful medicinal tool for mental and physical well-being. Academic evidence highlights the health benefits of recreational music making. We employ local professional musicians and facilitators to deliver a wide variety of music workshops including:

  • Drum Circles
  • West African Rhythm/Song/Dance
  • Gamelan (traditional Indonesian percussive music) 
  • Sound Therapy
  • World/Old time singing
  • Soundscapes
  • Electronic music
  • Guitar/Band projects for teenagers
  • Early Years (0 to 5 years)

Our Mission

To improve physical and mental well-being through recreational music making. 

To offer quality music workshops delivered  by professional local facilitators  

To use a variety of music making approaches and Sound Therapy.  

To reach communities of all abilities, ages and cultural diversity.  

To facilitate individual and group creativity and expression. 

Donna Smith – Coordinator/Facilitator

Donna has worked as a professional Community Musician for 17 years. She has specialist knowledge in a variety of musical genres and a proven track record of delivering high quality musical workshops. Throughout her career Donna has delivered workshops to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds including:

  • 0 to 5 years
  • teenagers
  • adults
  • elderly people
  • people with Special Educational Needs
  • disabled people
  • people with visual/hearing impairments
  • people with Alzheimer’s
  • refugees

Donna loves to travel and has a passionate interest in ethnomusicology from living in Egypt for 5 years, learning the chants, rhythms of the Bedouin and Egyptians to soaking up the beautiful chants of Tibetan Monks during her stay at the Milarepa monastery in Tibet. Donna has also lived with the Kalash tribe in Pakistan, participating in chanting and singing around the fire with local tribes and trained in Gambia and Senegal, learning the intoxicating music of West African rhythm, dance and song. 

Donna is the founder and facilitator for the Hull Drum Circle and the Rhythm Pixies (an urban orchestra for 13 to 19 year olds funded by Music4U/Youth Music/Arts Council). 

Other projects have included delivering drum/song therapy sessions for Primary Care Trust and NHS; mentoring projects for Youth Music, Music4U; composing, facilitating and conducting the main piece for Music4U 10th anniversary; Music Leader for the National Centre for Early Music and projects such as Sing Up, Hopscotch, Rhythms of the World, Gamelan and Melody Monkey. Donna also coordinated the Hull Mela festival in 2004/5 (a celebration of equality and diversity through music, art, dance and food). 

BA (Hons) Community Music
Sound Therapist 
Village Music Circles Mentor/facilitator 
Gamelan workshop leader 
Rhythm2Recovery/Music Medicine practitioner 
West African/Arabic rhythm specialist
Song Circle/Vocal Alchemy leader
Early Years music leader

With a passionate focus on professional development, Donna continues to develop her skills by training with some of the leading teachers internationally. 

Hull Sound Circles Team

Daniel Arce – Community Musician/Scratch DJ/Electronics/Drum Circle Music support

Rosie Owen – Piano/Violin Teacher/Community Musician

Paula Chearman -Djembe/Duns/Drum Circle Music support

Sol Lyon – Djembe/Duns/Guitar/Bass/ Drum Circle Music Support

For community Drum Circles, an attitude of service to the community is the foundation from which to operate. All people from all walks of life, all colours have various things that they can do together, create harmony, and it is the simplest thing to make music and sing together.  Arthur Hull 

Throughout history rhythm has been used to embed learning. All of us remember using rhythmic processes for remembering factual information such as the number of days in the different months of the year, or our mathematical times-tables. We have also passed down social learning, ethics and values this way through traditional folk-songs, and nursery rhymes, and maintain this tradition in much of our popular music. Memories embedded rhythmically are amongst the most lasting. A visit to a dementia ward will reveal how after almost everything else is lost, musical memory remains.  Simon Faulkne

It’s involving people in an opportunity to support each other to express themselves creatively in ways that perhaps they had never done before and most importantly, it brings people together. It bridges the differences between people and it allows for unparalleled creative expression that really changes our biology and we’ve been able to demonstrate that on multiple occasions. Dr Barry Bittman 

We’ve been able to show on multiple levels that by biologically and psycho sociably that we’re able to reduce stress, even on the DNA level and what’s exciting about this is that stress is one of those factors that contribute changes in us that lead to disease and by doing this, we can keep people healthy.

This is not just about music. It is about awakened creativity and the heart. It’s about freeing your voice and spirit.  I invite you to release any doubts that you are musical, and to realise the power of music to nourish your body, mind, heart, and soul. Christine Stevens