Hitting the right note 

13/11/2017 00:00 
A project that uses music to bring “sunshine” to the days of older patients has won a prestigious award.

Music, Memory and Me, a partnership between ULCH and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, triumphed at the Building Better Healthcare awards.

The project, in which young Guildhall School musicians bring music and song to older patients, including those with dementia, was named best collaborative performance arts project.

UCLH Arts and Heritage was also highly commended in another category for Working Lives, a collection of photographs by Graeme Weston that reflects the diversity of people in UCLH’s workforce and the roles they perform.

Music, Memory & Me uses the music and song to break down barriers, from unlocking hard to reach memories in dementia patients, to prompting impromptu sing-alongs among patients who would normally prefer to be alone.

A team of eight musicians visit wards T10 and T7 and plays music and songs tailored to the patients’ age and backgrounds, including requests and childhood favourites.

The initiative is funded by UCLH Charity and The Friends of UCLH, and the benefits are clear. 

One patient said: “It brings sunlight to the afternoon.  I feel happy and alive.”

Another said: “It’s amazing how the words are there, somewhere, in the back of my mind.”

Ward staff gain a valuable extra insight into their patients and the musicians obtain experience that will help prepare them for professional life.

Guy Noble, UCLH’s arts curator, said: “There is something hugely important about music’s ability to break down barriers and bring people together.

“Using young musicians to bring music to older patients has created a sense of shared meaning, identity and a lot of joy and laughter.

“Music, Memory and Me is a hugely important project and it is a privilege and a delight to share this award with the Guildhall School.”

Project manager Rhia Parker said: "In every session that we do, myself and the team witness first-hand the transformative potential of music.

“Whether it's a moment of re-connection to one's own past via a childhood song, or a new connection made to a carer through the shared act of listening and singing, Music, Memory and Me allows patients to have a voice, a history, and a present.

“It's humbling to be witness to an often emotional process of remembering, as well as a real privilege to offer a space where someone can feel valued and celebrated for who they are now.

“We are incredibly grateful to both the Guildhall School and UCLH for their ongoing support and feel honoured to have received this award."

Held annually, the Building Better Healthcare awards celebrate innovation and improvement in buildings, architecture, medical devices and people working in the healthcare industry.





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