Virtual classical music concert delights care home residents

A Surrey-based care home group and a City Livery Company have teamed up to delight residents with a virtual classical music concert, all as part of a pilot study designed to see if music can help boost residents’ moods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHD Living, which owns and operates 13 care homes across Surrey and South London, and The Musician’s Company, which is the only City of London Livery Company dedicated to the performing arts, treated residents to an hour-long performance via Zoom on Monday 5th October 2020.

The concert saw cellist Timothee Botbol, flute player Alena Lugovkina and mezzo soprano Lotte Betts Dean perform a repertoire of music from Bach to Sinatra to an audience of nearly 100 residents.

An interactive event, the musicians introduced each piece, giving information about the composer and the music in order to trigger memories and encouraging the audience to join in, leading to much foot tapping, clapping, singing and sometimes even dancing!

The collaboration came about after The Musicians’ Company was inspired by the success of a series of concerts held for dementia hubs last year, which have been continued by Zoom this year whilst live, in-person performances have not been possible.

With many research results that established that music is a key factor in helping people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and can make significant short term improvements in their condition, The Musicians’ Company developed a programme of engaging and participatory musical sessions designed to inspire, excite and motivate dementia patients and their carers.

Now, the company is looking to expand the programme to include care homes, allowing a wider audience to benefit from music therapy whilst also beating the COVID-19 isolation blues.

Speaking of their collaboration with CHD Living, John Nichols, Master of The Musicians’ Company said: “The coronavirus pandemic has hit care homes particularly hard: not just the illness itself, but the lockdowns, bringing isolation and loneliness to residents who have been deprived of contact with their families and loved ones.

We are delighted to be running a pilot study with CHD Living to see if, as with the dementia hubs, music can help in these appallingly difficult times. “Music is the medicine of the mind”, as John Logan put it in the mid eighteenth century: and that is just as applicable today as it was then.

We hope that we can provide an hour of solace, comfort, and entertainment for those residents who have been so hard hit by the events of the last few months.”

Resident Barbara Mattacks (96) from CHD Living’s The Summers care home in West Molesey said of the concert: “It was lovely to enjoy some music from musicians all over the world today. It was such a wonderful way to start the week and made us all so happy! We loved getting dressed up for the occasion and singing along too.”

Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality and Communications at CHD Living, added: “At CHD Living we truly believe there should be more music in the care industry, so we’re delighted to be working with The Musicians’ Company on their pilot study and hope to be able to help demonstrate the many benefits of music in care homes. We’ve seen first-hand today how even a short exposure to music can make such a positive impact on our residents by giving them stimulation, evoking emotions and memories, and improving their general moods.”

“We hope to continue incorporating more music into our residents’ daily lives and are very grateful to The Musicians’ Company for including us in their study”, Shaleeza concludes.

For more information on CHD Living please visit www.chdliving.co.uk

For more information on The Musicians’ Company please visit https://www.wcom.org.uk/

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