Transforming Communities

Menuhin Centenary : exploring best practice in music for older people

At LMN’s international conference on 16 April 2016, the first section of the day was focused on music projects for older people, including those in care, and those still living independently, for whom loneliness and early-stage dementia are particularly significant issues.

Douglas Noble (LMN Strategic Director of Wellbeing) began by showing a video of LMN’s ‘Songs and Scones’ project, which brings people together in rural communities, with very moving benefits for all involved.


Songs & Scones – Ryedale, North Yorkshire from Live Music Now on Vimeo.



Douglas then explained the background to the project, and the methodology he has developed for measuring its impact. He also explained the remarkable philosophical and evolutionary basis for using music to enable social groups to bond, based on Robin Dunbar’s observations of chimpanzees. Finally, LMN musician Chloe Saywell, who features in the ‘Songs and Scones’ video, then discussed her own experiences on the scheme. She concluded “Of course, your quality of life depends on the quality of your relationships. That’s what our music projects are all about.” The full presentation can be watched below:



Menuhin Centenary conference: Songs and Scones from Live Music Now on Vimeo.



The next presentation was given by Carol Main, who showed how LMN has worked with composers to enable older people to participate in the creative process, resulting in some very powerful pieces of new music.



LMN Menuhin Centenary 2016 – Composing with Care – Part 1 from Live Music Now on Vimeo.



We then showed a film entitled “Songs from Above and Below”, in which LMN had worked with Scottish composer John McLeod.



Songs from Above & Below from Live Music Now on Vimeo.



Douglas Noble then went on to discuss the background to this project, and why music is such an enabling tool, to unlock creativity in older people.



LMN Menuhin Centenary 2016 – Composing with Care – Part 2 from Live Music Now on Vimeo.



You can read a summary of the whole conference here.


Photo credit: Ivan Gonzalez