This library of musical instruments is helping Scots overcome mental health issues during lockdown

Music Broth founders Jen O’Brien and Felix Slavin outside the premises, Govanhill Glasgow.

A musical instrument library is tackling mental health issues linked to isolation in Scotland with its touchless, sanitized musical instrument and equipment delivery service.

With over 14,000 musical instruments and equipment on offer, from upright pianos to clarsachs and fully equipped drum sets, Music Broth at Govanhill in Glasgow has a variety of instruments that all music lovers can enjoy and relax in quarantine.

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Founded by musicians Felix Slavin, 29, and Jen O’brien, 43, in 2018 as a social enterprise with charitable status, Music broth aims to make music more accessible and sustainable for communities across Scotland, especially in this difficult time.

Nuala McConville playing her borrowed Yamaha keyboard for her family. Picture: Contribution

Jen said, “The whole idea of ​​Music Broth is to give people access to music when they normally wouldn’t.

“Music can be a great way to bring families together, especially in times of lockdown, but it can also be a great way for people to have time alone with their instrument.”

Electric guitar borrower Stewart Lochrie, 44, said: ‘I’m protected and can’t go out so I’ve decided to use the time to resume learning guitar.

“It’s been a huge help when I’ve been stuck indoors for the past few weeks.

“Normally I would have popped into a music store and tried a few before buying one, but that obviously wasn’t possible and won’t be for a while yet.”

Music borrower Denise Noble, 45, said the service was a big help in entertaining her two daughters Nuala, 9, and Nina, 12: “Throughout the lockdown we had a guitar and a keyboard which have been great for girls.

“It’s been such a boredom break and it’s been great for getting everyone involved away from computer and phone screens and allowing us to have some family time together.”

His nine-year-old daughter, Nuala, who entertains the whole family with her “keyboard gigs”, said: “I enjoyed learning all the different songs on the keyboard and it’s a good distraction from my homework and my laptop.”

Initially starting with eight members, Music Broth has now expanded its community and currently has over 199 members and 63 volunteers to date.

The library has delivered across Scotland; From Irvine to Paisley and Glasgow to Edinburgh, they are committed to helping Scots around the world access music, especially at a time when mental health issues are on the rise.

Charlie Reischl, 28, borrower and volunteer at Music Broth, said: “Access to instruments has been totally essential in keeping me sane during lockdown and improving my mental health.

“I have just arrived in Glasgow as a student and would not have been able to access the types of musical instruments I have without Music Broth.

“I released instruments without a huge commitment to buy them, especially when money is tight in quarantine.”

Since opening in 2018, Music Broth has always been committed to ensuring that all members of the community have access to music without the added stress of finance.

Jen said, “We don’t think it’s fair that only people who have pianos in their homes can play music!”

“We currently have members who are not earning due to lockdown and we are very flexible to ensure they still have access to the service even when they cannot pay.”

The library also offers free online music tutorials on their Youtube channel so members can learn to play new instruments in isolation.

Music Broth is adapting to the circumstances of the lockdown and is currently working on creating an online musical instrument catalog, listing all the instruments available in the library, which aims to go live to the public by the end of July. .

The social enterprise relies on funding and donations to maintain its services and is currently looking for a van to continue to efficiently deliver musical instruments to its growing community.

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