Learning comes in various shapes and forms for students. Some are instantly invested in the classroom environment and others take time to adjust. In certain instances, pupils may be completely disconnected to learning.


COOL Music is a collaboration between Glasgow Caledonian University and the Edinburgh-based social enterprise Heavy Sound, founded by Jordan Butler. It has developed a programme that aids disillusioned and disengaged students to reconnect with themselves, education, and music.

Nobody can ever truly understand the struggles everyone is facing, even students in the classroom who are high-achievers could be under hidden strain.

Stepping away from the traditional route of top-down musical learning – where students are educated classically in a controlled environment – COOL Music incorporates infectious drum beats, the pulsing sounds of DJ decks, to the polished chords of an acoustic guitar: putting creative learning in motion.

And it works. Entering a group, which meets once a week over 16-week periods, the enthusiasm for the class is palpable. Young people from mainstream schools and secure units, who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), have the opportunity to explore issues that are affecting them through music – even subconsciously – resulting in greater connection to school and peers.