A huge thanks to Brighton Dementia Alliance, Age UK and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning services for funding Movingsounds to run music for health workshops in 4 day centres in Brighton and Hove helping to create a city-wide dementia friendly community. ...
"Moving sounds have made so many differences to the lives of our residents many of whom are living with advanced dementia or are at the end of life. The care and compassion they showed when they played individually to one such resident in her room brought tears to the eyes and real joy to a lady who passed away a couple of days later. Even our shyest resident has been joining in conversation with the inspirational Lex Titterington who just sat quietly with her, encouraging her and helping her to move to the music and to play a percussion instrument. This resident could also be observed tapping her toe to the music and when the group left told me what a marvellous day she had had - "the best for a long time". " ...
Movingsounds has been running music-for-dementia workshop which has been an pleasure for all. "The workshops are varied and fully inclusive . Great care is taken to tailor them to the needs of the audience for example on finding that one of our residents used to sing in a folk club Keith learnt some of his favourite folk songs so that he could accompany his singing on the next visit. The resident loved performing and the others saw him in a new and different light. For just those few minutes he was "back in time and feeling glorious"." ...
In our Music for Dementia sessions one co-ordinator said: "A number of residents have a favourite poem about the beautiful tulip tree in our garden, "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer . Movingsounds found the time to research this poem, which is also a song, learn the music, play it for the residents and then teach them how to sing it. Several residents can still be heard singing this song when looking at the tree from the conservatory or from their bedroom windows. These might seem like small changes but they have made serious differences to the quality of life of the people I work with every day." Sue. Claydon House. ...
Movingsounds has had the pleasure of working with people living with dementia in Lewes district and brighton and hove. Here is what a visitor wrote about her experience:
I arrived early, with my three year old daughter in tow, and we took a seat along with all the other clients, my child in my lap.
We sat in a large circle of armchairs, at least fifteen of us. The clients already looked cheerful and engaged, as the facilitators slowly moved around the room, greeting every single one of them individually.
The female facilitator, Lex, clasped each person’s hands in her wonderfully warm ones, as she introduced herself and chatted warmly with each person. The male facilitator, Keith, worked alongside her. I could feel the clients open up to them and feel valued and cherished.
As introductions completed we began a physical warm-up, ‘to bring oxygen to the body - and to the brain!’ Everyone joined in as we stamped, clapped, waved our arms, and made circles in the air. Occasionally we would all be asked to try to ‘copy’ what ‘Bob’ was doing – and we would all zone in on ‘Bob’ who would feel very important as we all tried to copy his exact actions!
Suddenly the most delicious, soulful clarinet music filled the air. There was no backing, nothing but the deep tones of the clarinet, said to be the closest instrument to the human voice, as Keith filled the room with its sound.
Who knew what tune he had played? Soon people were calling out the name of the song, and then we were singing it – ‘The Sunny Side of the Street’ – but not just singing, ACTING out the song with actions for every thought. The sun shone in our actions, we were grabbing our coats and hats and throwing away our worries (particularly satisfying). All were engaged in this fun action song, including my three year old, and of course the centre staff, who supported this whole group with their usual mixture of hands-on support, humour, encouragement, the utmost respect, and everything in between – I am in total awe of the work they do.
Suddenly we were into a throw and catch game, as we all caught our shakers, dozens of coloured eggs which suddenly emerged from a colourful bag. If you missed your catch the first time, you got as many goes as you needed until you caught it! Then we were into a kind of jamming session, with guitar playing, shaking our shakers and clapping; then voices were added in an exciting ‘all the women’/’all the men’ question /answer arrangement, which ran for some time as we all got the hang of it.
Now we were going to do something new. We all learnt the sign for the word ‘new’. One hand held horizontally was the soil. The other hand rose up from behind it, fingers first, as a flower. What a wonderfully apt sign of a new shoot emerging from the earth. Even my three year old managed it after some careful placing of her hands.
We watched, spellbound, as Keith carefully joined up several wooden pipes, added a bag, and Irish bagpipes took shape before our eyes. There was a wonderful still in the room as we listened to the unusual sound. Soon we were moving again though. First clapping, then dancing, as some of us took to our feet in a spontaneous Ceilidh dance, first in twos and threes, then holding hands in a circle. At first I danced with ‘Kate’ – I had sat next to her throughout and it was clear that her repetitive thoughts were bothering her at times. However, clapping and dancing cut through these like magic. She beamed at me as we waltzed around the room.
It was at this point that my daughter joined hands with a lady in a wheelchair. They were jigging along next to each other, obviously having a wild time.
As we took to our seats again, the group was now gradually winding down. Gentle, wind-down music was played on the guitars. More magic was yet to come though.
As we sat quietly, one client, ‘Thomas’, unbidden, took hold of the hide drum. He was fascinated by it, then slowly beat it, absolutely in time, as he circled the room, bringing it to every person. This was ‘client-led’ at its best, as he followed his natural instincts and brought his interest to every person in the room.
I managed to find some simple notes to sing along, and ‘Kate’ joined me, exactly matching, perfectly on pitch, the notes I was singing. Her worries once again forgotten.
It was then that I glanced at my three-year-old daughter. She was still holding hands with the lady in the wheelchair. Both were still, looking utterly comfortable and at ease. Not for the first time over the course of the group, I had tears in my eyes.
I want to thank everyone involved for doing something wonderful in that hour at the Phoenix centre. I felt moved on so many levels. The warmth of the human spirit shone through. Thank you again.