Music in Mind

Our Music in Mind programme began in 2013 and is delivered by musicians from the orchestra alongside a music therapist. Workshop sessions are designed to be improvised, giving people with dementia the chance to communicate and interact with others through musical expression, particularly for participants with limited verbal skills and those in the latter stages of the illness.  Participants are encouraged to make their own creative decisions by choosing which instruments to play, when/ how to play them, and how their music fits in with the rest of the group. The Camerata Musicians work closely with participants to identify those activities that elicit the most positive responses and develop these, gradually drawing ideas from the participants to incorporate into the improvisations, developing activities and experiences that exist in the moment.  People with dementia can often be frustrated by their illness and therefore our programme focuses on increasing their personal dignity and empowerment, therefore helping to improve their quality of life.

The programme is currently being delivered in community centres, care homes, day care centres and hospitals across the North West. It is funded entirely by grants from charitable trusts and Public Health/ NHS. We are currently in the third year of a three-year funding agreement with the Henry Smith Charity to support our Music in Mind programme in Manchester and Salford.

Research and evaluation is embedded throughout the Music in Mind programme, through partnerships with the University of Manchester and HKD Research. 

Between 2015 and 2018, Robyn Dowlen, an ESRC-funded joint PhD student with the University of Manchester is measuring the in-the-moment impacts of music-making for people living with dementia. Her work has received national and international recognition and has already resulted in the publication of a review of the qualitative literature on the personal benefits of musicking for people living with dementia, which is available here

Dr Heidi Koljonen of HKD Research has evaluated the impacts of Music in Mind projects for people living with dementia in care homes. This includes a report documentating the outcomes in six care homes in Tameside and Rochdale, as well as a report higlighting the outcomes of a new co-delilvery methodology in a Manchester care home, in which an Activities Coordinator received training to deliver their own music-making sessions after the project finished. 

This training process has been piloted in a range of care settings since 2015 and is continually evolving to ensure that the outcomes of Music in Mind extend beyond the funding period, supported through the use of written and digitial resources.

Find out more about Music in Mind evaluations here.

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