With your help, we can bring the joy of live music
to thousands more people across the UK
With your help, we can bring the joy of live music to thousands more people across the UK

Keeping the Music Going at Monkscroft Care Centre

Everyone is a musician, and has musical identity; taking the time to explore this, having fun, and being playful, will help music to grow in a setting.

In autumn of 2019, Live Music Now’s South West branch embarked on a 6 week intergenerational music project with Monkscroft Care Centre, Tinies Nursery, Windsor Street Care Centre and Tree Tops Nursery led by Live Music Now singer/songwriter Julia Turner.

This project was featured as a case study in a consultation report produced by the National Activity Provider’s Association (NAPA) and funded by the Baring Foundation, in September 2021. Download the full report, ‘Arts and Culture in Every Care Home’ here.

Residents and children taught each other favourite songs and together wrote their own songs, with ideas for lyrics and tunes coming from both the residents and the children. They even wrote a song about the chickens that lived at Monkscroft (the children helped to name the chickens too!) Julia noted how “when one woman started singing along and smiling the care staff were amazed. They had not seen her engage in anything for a long time.”

Julia then arranged everything and sent lyrics and recordings to homes and nurseries so they could practice in between visits. They had a lovely share in December with residents from both care centres present and were gearing up for their next Live Music Now residency when Covid hit.

Sarah Davis, Activity Coordinator at Monkscroft Care Centre, said: “During the pandemic, our way of engaging with music had to change in many ways. We were still able to offer those natural musical engagements daily however we immediately missed that engagement with our local community such as musicians visiting us.”

To help bridge the gap, Julia created a video for Monkscroft residents where she sang the songs they had sung regularly together during her previous visits, as well as the song they wrote together with the children about the chickens that used to live at Monkscroft. The familiarity was really important and helpful, as residents recognised the songs they had formerly enjoyed as a group, which sparked memories and lots of conversation.

“We really valued the pre-recorded videos that were available to us from Live Music Now. We found them really useful to use on a 1:1 basis, and this also enabled us to use the same video multiple times if we wished. It was a wonderful way of using music in a meaningful way when group activities were not possible during the pandemic.” Sarah Davis, Activity Coordinator, Monkscroft Care Centre, The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT)

 

A member of the Monkscroft team and a resident enjoy a pre-recorded video from singer/songwriter Julia Turner (Photo Credit : Beata McLean)

Monkscroft Care Centre was keen to keep the music going during Covid, and engaged another LMN musician-in-residence, Chris Webb. Chris conducted his entire residency through zoom and led a collaborative song-writing project culminating in ‘A Monkscroft Christmas’ inspired by residents’ memories and hopes for Christmas:

The care homes returned to live performances with Live Music Now musicians in June 2021 but the key findings from the project will inform future work.

Key Findings

Carefully planned and delivered participatory live music activities that involve all, building on their strengths, knowledge and skills can support the growth of a new musical skills and confidence in the setting and contribute to a legacy of ongoing music activity.  Targeting work to a fixed group of residents and staff over time rather than trying to reach as many people as possible can build something strong that is more likely to build grow and remain, benefiting the whole home.

This project was featured as a case study in a consultation report produced by the National Activity Provider’s Association (NAPA) and funded by the Baring Foundation, in September 2021. Download the full report, ‘Arts and Culture in Every Care Home’ here.

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