SCO ReConnect is a programme of interactive, creative music workshops for people living with dementia.
This project provides a series of music sessions in which patients are invited and supported to sing, play instruments, improvise and listen. Sessions are delivered by a specialist workshop leader and two SCO musicians and involve dementia patients, visiting family members and NHS staff.
Singing benefits older people, including residents of care homes
Care homes themselves can benefit from singing, too
There are lots of ways to sing
A Singing Home – where many of those ways of singing are deployed every day – brings even more benefits
Singing leading needs to be of special quality
Singing leaders can have a range of roles
Musicians and care homes need to be supported for when demand rapidly increases
Musicians and care homes need to be able to buy and sell better
Issues around repertoire need clarifying
Singing work must be sustained
'It’s better than any medicine!' – participant in LMN Ryedale project
'The Baring Foundation has been funding in the field of arts and older people for the last five years. We believe that singing has a unique magic not only for older residents but for the whole community of a care home. This broad consortium is a great basis for a project which we hope will bring that magic to thousands of people.' – David Cutler, The Baring Foundation
'This hugely important initiative will bring music to people who might be living the final years of their lives in loneliness or confusion. I have seen countless times that there is nothing like music to bring people together to create a safe and happy environment where human relationships can flourish.' – Julian Lloyd Webber, LMN Ambassador
'It is very rewarding to hear our residents talking about the sessions together, and the elements they enjoyed. In particular, these sessions enable individuals who have recently joined the homes to have a purpose and a voice, and decrease their isolation, which is difficult to achieve using traditional approaches.' – Victoria Elliot, Principal Care Consultant at The Orders of St John Care Home Trust.
'Despite growing evidence of the value of music for people with dementia, we are not seeing enough being done to improve access to appropriate music-based activities. When talking about specialist music therapy, current availability only equates to roughly 30 seconds per week per person with dementia, meaning that very few individuals are benefitting from this valuable intervention.' – Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive
'People with dementia often live in a silent world. Yet music can bring a person back to life. The ability to connect to music is an innate aspect of being human; having a diagnosis of dementia need not undermine this.' – Neil Utley, The Utley Foundation
To improve the quality of life for people in care homes and help create happy environments for carers, family and care home staff. This is urgently needed as, according to the Alzheimer's Society, 70% of the growing number of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.
To collate the existing evidence for the benefits of singing/choirs for older people/in care homes/links to the wider community. This should include benefits for staff, family and friends, choir members as well as residents.
To map existing activity.
To describe different models of activity, e.g. dedicated choirs for care homes, performance by community choirs in care homes, etc., giving their benefits as well as the challenges for using these and how they can be overcome.
To assemble any existing materials that support choirs in care homes and produce new materials where needed. This should include considerations of quality of the artistic experience and art achieved. Special reference should be made to dementia.
To describe what more can be done without extra resources and cost what more activity could be achieved with further resources. This should include for instance, awareness raising, brokerage between care homes and choirs, the use of awards and competitions, whether new or existing.
Launched in May 2015, A Choir in Every Care Home explores how music and singing can feature regularly in care homes across the country.
Over the course of the first year, senior representatives of these national organisations met regularly to share knowledge, understand what works, undertake research and consultation and actively create the conditions to make every care home a singing home.
Wellbeing through Music. This takes place in healthcare settings, where City of London Sinfonia (CLS) musicians deliver performances, often at patients’ bedsides, as well as end-of-term projects for young children in major London teaching hospitals such as Great Ormond Street. They also undertake regular visits to care homes in North London, making music with Holocaust survivors or people suffering from dementia. Plans for the next three years include creating a body of research around the effectiveness of these projects, going beyond the anecdotal and providing clinical evidence as to their effectiveness.
Growth through Music. This sees CLS musicians working with very young children (aged 3-7) in communities that are geographically or economically isolated, including rural Suffolk and Tower Hamlets. Working closely with schools and music education hubs, CLS addresses a significant gap in provision for children at a crucial time in their academic and social development, performing for children and families through its Crash Bang Wallop! and Lullaby concert series and creating interactive first-time orchestral experiences for teenagers and young people through its First Time Live projects in collaboration with Orchestras Live.