About Us

Hull Sound Circles is a nonprofit community music organisation based in Kingston upon Hull. We provide educational, cultural, recreational and therapeutic music workshops for local organisations, charities and the wider community. Learning and playing music enables people to gain transferrable skills, such as listening, communication, fine motor skills and teamwork. Music is also a powerful medicinal tool for mental and physical well-being. Academic evidence highlights the health benefits of recreational music making.Each workshop is individually tailored to meet the needs and requirements of our participants, through reflective and reflexive practice, evaluation and monitoring we ensure our sessions are people led. 

We offer a  variety of workshops that bring all cultures, ages and abilities together to share inclusive musical experiences. We offer young people the chance to gain the valuable Arts Award at four levels: Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver. 

We work with young people of socioeconomic disadvantage, people with SEND/PLMD,  people with visual/hearing impairment , people with Alzheimers/Dementia, the elderly, asylum seekers and refugees. 

We employ local professional musicians and facilitators to deliver a wide variety of music workshops including: 

  • Drum Circles
  • West African Rhythm/Song/Dance
  • Arabic rhythm/song 
  • Gamelan (traditional Indonesian percussive music)
  • Sound therapy
  • World/old-time singing
  • Soundscapes
  • Electronic music/turntablism
  • Guitar/band projects for youth
  • Ukulele singalong
  • Early Years music ( 0 to 5 yrs)
  • Song circles
  • Guitar workshops
  • Violin/Keyboard workshops

Our Mission

To educate and develop the musical skills of all participants.

To use a variety of teaching and facilitation approaches to music making.

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

To foster individual and group creativity and expression. 

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

Donna Smith - Coordinator/facilitator

Donna has worked as a professional community musician since 2003. She has specialist knowledge of a variety of musical genres and a proven track record of delivering high quality musical workshops. Throughout her career, she has delivered workshops to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, including:

  • 0 to 5 years
  • teenagers
  • adults
  • elderly people
  • people with SEND
  • People with SLD/PMLD
  • people with visual/hearing impairments
  • people with Alzheimer’s
  • Refugees

Whatever the project, Donna brings lessons from her twin passions for travel and ethnomusicology to her work. In her 5 years in Egypt, she learned the chants and rhythms of both Egyptians and the Bedouin. While living with the Kalash tribe in Pakistan, she learned the local chants and songs and connected with the local tribes, participating in chanting and singing around the village fire. While staying at the Milarepa monastery in Tibet, she soaked up the beautiful chants of Tibetan monks. She has also lived and trained with internationally renowned Masters in Guinea Conakry, Senegal and Gambia. learning the intoxicating music of West African rhythm, dance and song.

Donna is the founder and facilitator of the Hull Drum Circle, Rhythm Pixies,  (urban orchestra for 13 to 19 yrs ) and Musical Routes funded by Music4U/Youth Music/Arts Council. Donna works with the special schools of Hull developing original music pieces for the annual Colours of Music concert.

Other projects and roles have included:

  • song writing, guitar, ukulele, drumming workshops for Tweendykes and Northcott school
  •  sound therapy for Age UK and Alzheimers’Society
  • delivering drum/song therapy sessions for the Humber Primary Care Trust and NHS
  • mentoring for Youth Music and Music4U
  • composing, facilitating and conducting the main piece for the 10th anniversary of Music4U
  • being music leader for the National Centre for Early Music, facilitating projects such as Sing Up, Hopscotch, Rhythms of the World, Gamelan and Melody Monkey
  • coordinating the Hull Mela festival, a celebration of equality and diversity through music, art, dance and food, in 2004/5.

Qualification and skills:

BA (Hons) Community Music
Village Music Circles facilitator/mentor

Sound therapist – COSH

Rhythm2Recovery practitioner

With a passionate focus on professional development, Donna continues to enhance and grow her skill set by training with some of the leading teachers both in the UK and internationally.

Hull Sound Circles Facilitators 

Daniel Arce – turntabilism, electronic music, keyboards, Drum Circle support bass

Rosie Owen – piano, keyboards, violin, music theory

Donna Smith – guitar, ukulele, djembe, ngoni, frame, music theory


Hull  Sound Circles West  African drummers and Drum Circle/music support:

Dun /vocals/guitar  – Alex Ridley                                  Solo djembe/accompaniment /vocals/Guitar – Sol Lyon

Sangbani /vocals/bass/frame drum – Charley May                   

Ken/vocals – Antonnia Ross