Using empirical evidence from a realist evaluation of music-based wellbeing interventions, we developed a recovery-focussed model for people with mental health issues. Arts-based approaches for mental health are used internationally and the concepts described here can be understood globally, allowing for cultural variations. Our model draws on ideas of product, personhood, positive interaction and peers (4P) to increase wellbeing and promote recovery through participatory creative activity. This article describes the original study and the model itself. Drawing from McCaffrey’s work on music therapy and recovery (2011), and Leamy’s CHIME recovery model (2011), our framework can be used to potentiate recovery for people experiencing a range of challenging circumstances. We expect this empirically-based music-centred model to contribute to an ecosystem of recovery approaches.