Health & wellbeing


SCO ReConnect

Edinburgh, UK

  • Due to the generosity of SCO ReConenct's funders, the project was able to expand to run a series of 20 regular weekly sessions from July to December.

  • To use live music to help improve patients’ and carers’ sense of well-being and quality of life.
  • To encourage the general use of music in the care setting.


SCO ReConnect is a programme of interactive, creative music workshops for people living with dementia, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

The project aims to use live music to help improve patients’ and carers’ sense of well-being and quality of life, and to encourage the general use of music in the care setting.

SCO ReConnect aims to put patients at the heart of the musical experience. The sessions incorporate improvisation and interactive performances of varied musical repertoire, which might include songs from musicals, well known Scottish tunes, and popular hits from the past. Patients are invited and supported to join in by singing, playing instruments, dancing and listening. During workshops, SCO musicians perform and improvise around familiar melodies and spontaneously generate musical ideas to match the mood and musical preferences of the participants.

Around eight patients take part in each session and are encouraged to attend as many workshops as possible. Occupational therapists, members of the nursing staff, activity co-ordinators and family members also join in.

The programme is led by Dr Jane Bentley, a community musician who specialises in working in health, social care and wellbeing settings. Jane has been working with SCO musicians since 2013 to explore ways of interacting with people with dementia through music. A growing SCO team regularly devotes time and expertise to the project and in 2017, Peter Franks, Alison Green, William Stafford and Donald Gillan were joined by Su-a Lee and Eric de Wit.

Posted In  Health & wellbeing and  Outreach

A Choir in Every Care Home includes a set of free resources to inspire and support care homes to engage with music

A Choir in Every Care Home

United Kingdom

A full list of A Choir in Every Care Home's working group can be found here.


Ten headline findings:

  • 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.

A Choir in Every Care Home hopes 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 70% of the growing numbers of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems (according to the Alzheimer’s Society).

There is now hard evidence to show that music participation can help those living with dementia to engage and remember; and more generally, to alleviate the effects of breathing diseases; reduce stress and anxiety; and build relationships between residents, carers and staff. A Choir in Every Care Home hopes to find the best ways to bring these benefits to older people, and support care homes to take part, on an ambitious scale.

The project relaunched on 20 September 2017 with presentations at the Best Practice in the Care Home Sector conference in Birmingham and the Kindness Can: A Positive Future for Loneliness conference in London.

Header photo: A Choir in Every Care Home includes a set of free resources to inspire and support care homes to engage with music

Posted In  Health & wellbeing and  Research

Meet the Music

Meet the Music

Piano House, Brighton Terrace, London SW9, United Kingdom

  • Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School

  • Breathe Arts Health Research

  • The Christopher Rowbotham Charitable Trust
  • The Douglas Heath Eves Charitable Trust
  • The Dunhill Medical Trust

  • Evelina Hospital School

  • The February Foundation
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital School

  • Harrow Music Education Hub

  • Headway East London

  • The Human Trafficking Foundation
  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (King's College London)

  • Jewish Care

  • MariaMarina Foundation
  • Orchestras Live

  • Queen Mary University of London

  • The Richard Hickox Foundation
  • Royal Hospital for Neurodisability

  • St Joseph’s Hospice

  • Task Force Trust
  • Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service (THAMES)

  • University College London Hospital School

  • 'Some of the kids had never publicly performed before. It was a real milestone for their confidence. To be given the opportunity was just fantastic.' Julia Schubert, Westgate Youth Group, Ipswich


  • To work in care homes, hospitals and hospices, honing the necessary skills to allow music to aid in the healing process and provide an outlet for those who need it most.
  • To work alongside local music hubs to deliver unique creative projects and first-time orchestral experiences with young people who have significantly lower levels of arts engagement.
  • To address the economic and cultural barriers that may prevent young people from discovering classical music, workshop participants work directly with our musicians to programme and produce a range of exciting and inspiring concerts.


City of London Sinfonia‘s Meet the Music programme spends over 170 days a year in the community making music with 14,000+ people.

Current Meet the Music projects include:

  • 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.

Header photo: Lullaby concert in CLS’s Growth through Music programme © Paul Coghlin

Posted In  EducationHealth & wellbeingOutreach and  Performance