About Spiritus Studios

Spiritus Studios offers Rhythm and Beat based lessons and workshops for children with special needs, aimed to promote social, emotional, behavioural and cognitive development, through music, horses or a combination of both. An idea conceived when Caren was just fourteen; Spiritus Studios is the result of PhD Research conducted in the field of Equine Therapy. Caren’s early interest and training in Singing and Special Needs, significantly informed her PhD Research practice. Having an initial background in Sculpture specialising in Audio Visual Media, Caren’s research set down to design and develop an Audio Visual approach to Equine Therapy, thereby making it more accessible to a broader public body. Ultimately her research focussed on Rhythm and Beat Perception; an element characteristic to both Equine Motion and Music, and its effects on Child Development. Spiritus Studios incorporates the theories and findings fundamental to this field of research, in order to promote learning, memory, attention, behaviour, social interaction and physical abilities as well as a greater understanding of emotions, self-expression and self-actualisation.  Ultimately, it strives to assist children and young people with special needs to achieve a greater potential using Rhythm and Beat based musical, vocal and/or equine activities.  

Personal Info


Dr Caren Hession

Rhythm & Beat Research

Rhythm and Beat Perception Synchronisation is the body’s innate ability to move in sync to beat based rhythms. It can be achieved by physical or acoustical means and is noticeable at an early stage by babies and young toddlers who bob to music. The perception of beat based rhythms has been shown to stimulate performance, velocity, memory, attention and learning ability. This is evident daily; when we tap our feet in time to music or when the opening bars of a song stimulates the memory of the lyrics. Music consists of a series of beats and rhythms, played over time. In order to perceive music, our brains must remain ‘on-line’ and requires a degree of Temporal Order Processing, so as to piece the various melodies together. This is much the same in a learning environment, where, in order to follow teaching instruction (and learn new tasks), a child’s brain must sequence information together. However, children with weak timing/rhythm skills or attention problems have great difficulty achieving this. Rhythm keeping ability is a simple skill, which can be taught and learned, encouraging children to process, sequence and pay attention to time based stimuli. It addition, many children experience difficulties in understanding social and emotional cues due to difficulties in interpreting tone/pitch. The perception of regular beat based rhythms stimulates areas of the brain involved in social and emotional behaviour. This, in turn, can affect behaviour and learning ability. Ultimately, by teaching children basic and fundamental skills through rhythm and beat based exercises, we can create a greater environment for self-development. For more information please contact caren@spiritusstudios.com. Watch Video Here

Caren Hession Music

In conjunction with her PhD Research, for over 8 years, Caren has been developing her vocal technique, vocal style, song writing ability and performance skills under the tuition of several internationally recognised Vocal Coaches. Influenced by Gospel, Soul, R&B and Irish folk, Caren is currently training under the guidance of Industry Vocal Coach and International Educator Joshua Alamu (aka Mad About The Voice whom she met in 2013), where she is working on her first original album. Her songs explore sentimental moments in time, through heartfelt soulful melodies - acting as a significant means of creative and emotional expression. At present, Caren is pursuing a Vocal Coach Training Apprenticeship under Joshua's Mentorship. As a result, Caren is continuing her studies in vocal science and education, as well as participating in training courses and observational sessions in both London and Malta. In addition, Caren also coordinates ‘Mad About the Voice Ireland’ which offers tuition and mentorship in the areas of Vocal Technique, Vocal Style, Stage Performance and Artistic Development to singers of all levels, from Joshua Alamu; through one to one private lessons, choral ensembles, group workshops and motivational talks on a bi-monthly basis, and more recently from Caren herself. For more information on Mad About The Voice Ireland please email madaboutthevoiceireland@gmail.com or visit http://joshuaalamu.com/studios/mad-about-the-voice-ireland/   Watch Video Here    

Creative Artist Statement

Caren is a Galway based artist whose creative visual art work revolves around historical human equine relationships and the contemporary role of the horse as a medium to transport thoughts, feeling and emotions associated with social and emotional conditioning. Caren is interested in the influences society at large impose on us: the manner in which we position ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally and subsequently, the effects this can have on Self-Actualisation. Her recent work explores the fundamental elements of Equine Therapy, as well as the documented findings from her own studies in Rhythm and Beat Perception, in which she uses the physiological and acoustical elements of the horse to assess the benefits of Equine Therapy for children with Special Needs. By drawing a comparison to the repetitive and somewhat restrictive behavioural patterns often imposed through social and emotional conditioning, Caren creates site specific orchestrational works which not only evokes contemplation in the viewer, it also places them in a position where they too may be subject to therapeutic properties of Rhythm and Beat Perception. Through an exploration of the rapport between the external pressures of a conditioning society and the internal conflicts often associated in meeting those demands, Caren’s work attempts to exploit the dualistic relationship of Self-Actualisation, by anchoring reference within intangible human equine partnerships. Watch Video Here  


Contact Caren

Email: caren@spiritusstudios.com

About Dr. Caren Hession

Having an early interest in Special Needs and over ten years experience working formally in the field, Caren’s work revolves around Rhythm and Beat Perception, an element characteristic of both Equine Motion and Music. In particular, her work focuses time based stimuli and its role in promoting learning ability, memory, attention and performance, and consequently, self-esteem, confidence, motivation, self-regulation and behaviour. Her PhD Research, which included the coordination of over 180 children with special needs across Ireland to participate in a self designed therapeutic programme involving equines and music, has been presented nationally and internationally, in Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Poland, Germany and the USA. In addition to this, Caren remains dedicated to her first love, singing. Over the past eight years, Caren has devoted considerable time to developing her skills in vocal technique, vocal style, song writing and performance under the guidance of several internationally recognised vocal coaches, most influentially, Joshua Alamu. Caren is currently working on her first original album.  In addition, she is also pursuing a Vocal Coach Training Apprenticeship under Joshua’s Mentorship so as to incorporate the benefits of Rhythm and Beat Perception more effectively. Caren is passionate, down to earth, caring and dedicated, with her primary aim being to assist children and young people in achieving a greater self-expression and actualisation through music (singing) and/or horses.