In these music sessions I meet the residents at the energy they are at and tailor the music making so as to foster trust and safety within the group. Gently I will adjust the music making activity appropriately according to the needs of the group, i.e. choice of repertoire, tempo of music, choice of instruments, volume of music. These sessions, whether they be in a communal setting or at the bedside of a resident are always delivered with gentleness, flexibility and sensitivity.
Music Making in Care Homes
How We Connect
No two sessions will look exactly the same, depending on the needs of the residents. Generally, we begin with some gentle breathing exercises and physical warm-ups such as light stretching, wiggling fingers, and toes. There will be a selection of pitched and percussive instruments for people to explore and experiment should they wish. Staff members are always very welcome to play an instrument, and even better, share or help a resident to play something. Accompanied by my guitar, we sing a range of well-known songs together. I encourage movement where possible; clapping hands, swaying to the music, tapping feet. Usually, as the session goes on, memories are evoked for people and fascinating stories emerge. With a group I get to know well, these stories may then lead into some songwriting sessions.
I encourage participation in whatever form people feel comfortable with. That may be sitting with eyes closed and listening. It may be playing a drum. It may be singing. Anything goes, as long as people feel included and safe.
Popular songs from these sessions include...
Delilah, Que Sera Sera, Fly Me to the Moon, Edelweiss, Singin' in the Rain and Summer Holiday
Residents of a local care home come to a community singing performance by the St Johns Singers and show their enjoyment through dance.
"Amy involves everyone in playing instruments and singing in a smooth and
friendly way, making our residents feel very comfortable, at ease and
keen to participate in the music making."
Ana Domagala, Regents House Care Home