Community Music Practice: Working with People Living with Dementia
This course focuses on music-making with people living with dementia. This rapidly-growing and exciting area of the field focuses on how music can enable those living with dementia to connect and create, combating social isolation, and helping maintain a sense of agency and identity.
Community Music is a term used to describe an inclusive and participatory approach to music that works towards musical, personal and social outcomes. This can operate both therapeutically and educationally, but Community Music has its own rich history and culture. Our portfolio of Community Music Short Courses builds on thirty years of Community Music training at Goldsmiths and offers a broad range of general and more specifically focussed courses. The current situation gives us the exciting potential to share our courses online and we welcome attendees from across the globe. We are hoping through these courses to build new networks of practice and will be offering a variety of ways people can keep engaging, learning and sharing after attending one of our courses.
Awareness of the benefits of music for people living with dementia has grown rapidly in recent years, with research and anecdotal evidence demonstrating that active participation in music has a very positive effect on engagement and wellbeing. Work in this field can take place in residential settings such as care homes, in the community, and in healthcare settings. Music-making in these settings can include:
• familiar repertoire – helpful for reminiscence and creating a sense of safety
• improvisation – creating in the moment together, as a means of communication as well as promoting the equality of everyone involved
• musical activities such as singing rounds
• writing songs as a group
• exploring sounds and listening
This is a rewarding area of work, contributing to a culture where people can develop or rekindle musical skills, interests, and connections – even if for a short, but illuminating time. This work requires a sensitive, flexible, and reflective approach, which this workshop will introduce you to.
This course is ideal for you if you are:
• a musician who would like to develop your skills in this field
• a professional or family carer who would like to develop this skillset
• a music facilitator already practising in this or a related field
• a professional in a related field, eg Occupational Therapist, Psychologist
• interested in learning more about how interactive music-making benefits everyone
No formal skill level is required but to gain the most out of this workshop, we would expect you to feel confident in using either your instrument or your voice, in a range of ways, in the session.
Due to the current situation with the Covid virus we have adapted this course to run as two 2 hour sessions with a gap in between. Our tutors have been gaining lots of experience in working online and have adapted the structure to ensure that participants will get a great learning experience and also gain some extra skills and understanding about online community music practice.
We may be able to offer shadowing and placement opportunities to attendees.
Why Study this Course?
• Explore and develop skills relevant to community music practice
• Learn new techniques and approaches
• Develop approaches to monitoring
• Enhance your understanding of the role of the musician in these settings
• Explore and develop your own style of delivery
Other Community Music Practice Courses:
- Community Music Practice: An Introduction
- Community Music Practice: Reaching Out to Young People
- Community Music Practice: Working with Disabled People and Young People with Special Educational Needs
Bela Emerson is an improvising cellist, community musician, and trainer. Following a 20-year professional performing career – playing in venues as diverse as Sydney Opera House and eastern European village halls, and composing for filmmakers and acrobats – she began facilitating participatory music sessions full-time as a result of studying music workshop skills at Goldsmiths with Graham Dowdall and Dr Phil Mullen.