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Working with people living with dementia


Oct 09 2021


10:00 - 16:00



Community Music Practice: Working with People Living with Dementia

Course overview

This in-person 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.

Who this course is for

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.

We may be able to offer shadowing and placement opportunities to attendees.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have gained a greater understanding of the importance of participatory music-making for people living with dementia
  • Have explored a range of songs, melodies, and activities relevant to people living with dementia
  • Have developed a range of tools and approaches to lead effective participatory group music sessions within this setting
  • Have developed your musical and leadership skills in appropriate ways to work in this area
  • Have learned ways to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of participatory music activities with these groups

Fees and booking

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at shortcourses (@gold.ac.uk) so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible.

Please note that our short courses sell out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

Tutor information

Isabel Emerson


Goldsmiths College
8 Lewisham Way


Goldsmiths College

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Oct 09 2021
  • Time: 05:00 - 11:00

More info

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