Music can have the power to positively influence our lives; lifting our moods, changing a group dynamic and offering our therapists a really interesting way to engage each individual in their rehabilitation programme. All of these I have been privileged to witness recently here at The Marbrook Centre.
Firstly is our partnership with the Nordoff Robbins Music Charity where one day a week we benefit from a professional Music Therapist in the centre, spending time either ‘one to one’ or in group rehab sessions. Their trained mix of musical skills can be a particularly powerful ‘tool’ to engage with those most profoundly disabled by their injury, as hearing is one of our most robust senses. Our musical memories also tend to be some of our most deeply embedded. We have a number of residents living with Early Onset Dementia who experience limited communication skills, yet after only a couple of bars a tune they recognise, they lose their inhibitions and take centre stage to sing every word fluently.
Our Speech and Language Team have created ‘Festive Therapy’, a fabulous choral group including residents and staff, all joining together to make parts of The Marbrook Centre echo to some of our best known carols.
All this prepared us well for our annual family Christmas Carol Concert, in partnership with our friends from the Peppercorn Music Academy. A Sunday afternoon where we all gather whatever our musical ability, relaxing in the knowledge that all missed notes are hidden thanks to the choir’s collective talent.
So it is with no surprise I read research about the positive effect singing can have on everyone’s mental health. So be brave and make the most of every opportunity to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures, the joy of singing.