Just The Tonic with Katie Derham


Rehabilitation with Roger Graef

Season 1, Ep. 8

In the final episode of the current series, Katie Derham finds out how music can help people in the prison system get their lives back on track.

Katie chats to the renowned documentary producer, theatre director, and criminologist Roger Graef. Roger produced the groundbreaking and multi-award-winning Feltham Sings documentary filmed in Feltham Young Offenders Institution. Inmates and staff offered a glimpse into their lives but instead of simply telling their stories, they were given the opportunity to sing, rap, and quote poetry about their lives and their dreams.

Changing Tunes uses music and mentoring to help people lead meaningful crime-free lives. They work in prisons, young offenders' institutions, and secure children's homes across the UK employing musicians-in-residence in long-term residencies. Katie hears about their exceptional success from Chief Executive David Jones and Cam Harper, a former prisoner who now runs Changing Tunes record label, Red Tangent Records.

The People's Orchestra is gearing up for a major music project this year based around the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Katie finds out what musical resolutions players have made for 2022.




More Episodes


Positive Power of the Arts with Carlos Acosta

Season 2, Ep. 1
Katie's back with a new series of Just The Tonic, the podcast that shines a light on the positive power of the arts.In series one, we looked at how music can help mental and physical well-being and in this series, we'll explore the benefits of getting involved in other arts forms too.For this episode, Katie's stepping back into the fabulous world of dance- she was in the Strictly final with Anton du Beke!Last year, Eastenders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was the first deaf contestant to take part and, with her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice, she waltzed her way from Walford to the Strictly crown. Rose did so much to break down the stereotype that deaf people can't dance and can't enjoy music and that's exactly what dancers Billy Read and Sarah from Critical Mass want to do. We hear from Billy about his Forbidden Identity performance at Birmingham's International Dance Festival which explores growing up as a Deaf child in a hearing world. Sarah talks about the huge benefits she gets from dancing with Critical Mass, an inclusive dance participation project bringing together young people from across the West Midlands with and without disabilities.And Katie chats to Cuban dance legend Carlos Acosta about his extraordinary life and his plans for the future as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Plus we get a sneak peak of their fantastic show at the Birmingham International Dance Festival!We'll be following The People's Orchestra as they prepare for their performances at the Birmingham 2022 festival in the run-up to the Commonwealth Game and Chief Executive Sarah Marshall tells Katie what they have in store.https://thepeoplesorchestra.com/

Inspirational Music Educators with Nicola Benedetti

Season 1, Ep. 6
Katie Derham explores how music education for children can be Just The Tonic. She finds out from Nicola Benedetti how music-making can help young people learn all sorts of life skills. Nicola has long been a champion of making music lessons widely available and, through her Benedetti Foundation, provided a lifeline for young musicians during the pandemic. The enormous benefits of giving children a good music education are well-recognised. Neavan Lobban, twenty-two-year-old principal conductor with The People's Orchestra attended a state school that specialised in music education. He firmly believes that instrumental lessons should be provided free of charge. Sistema Scotland's Big Noise projects have been helping young people in deprived communities in Scotland for a number of years, providing music lessons at no cost. Based on the renowned El Sistema system in Venezuela, their motto is social change through music. Senior musician Jo Ashcroft has worked at the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling for many years and she's seen first-hand how children who attend music lessons regularly do better at school. Symone and Scott Hutchison are living proof! They've been attending Big Noise lessons since primary school and now they're on course for a career in music. There are many ways in which making music can have a lasting impact on young people's lives. Find out more when Katie meets inspirational music educators in this week's Just The Tonic.