Manchester Camerata Forms Joint Partnership with Care UK to Launch Music in Mind

Camerata one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras has joined forces with Care UK to launch a unique new creative program called Music In Mind. Here’s an article about it taken from their website so we’ll let them explain what it’s all about.

We have joined forces with Care UK, the UK’s leading care provider to embark on a unique, inspiring and life-affirming creative programme, Music In Mind. Over the next ten weeks, Manchester Camerata musicians, together with professional music therapists will run twice weekly sessions with residents of Station House Care Home in Crewe living with dementia – to help improve communication and interaction through musical improvisation and intervention.

Music in Mind

Photo courtesy of Camerata website

In the UK, the current number of people diagnosed with dementia is estimated to be just over 800,000 – and this number is rapidly rising owing to the aging population. Care UK and Manchester Camerata have appointed Manchester University to evaluate this current ten week block both during and after the sessions in Crewe.

Research, evaluation and evidence is the backbone of this work to examine the health and wellbeing benefits to all involved – from the participants and their carers to the Care UK residential home staff. In embarking on this new collaboration – both participating organisations aim to illustrate how creative interventions such as Music in Mind can help alleviate some of the symptoms of dementia and enrich the quality of life of people affected by it.

What is unique about Music in Mind’s approach to music therapy with people living with dementia is the way in which both musicians and music therapist work alongside each other. As the project’s lead therapist Greg Hanford – Director of music therapy services company Musability – explains:

“Manchester Camerata’s musicians are engaging not just as professional musicians with years of performance experience behind them, but also as people with a passion for music. They can use this love and their level of musicianship to co-facilitate group music therapy sessions with music therapists such as myself. And it is this original combination of music therapy expertise and orchestral musicians as co-group workers that is pioneering and leading the field.”

Learning and Participation work is at the heart of Manchester Camerata. Music in Mind is as much a learning experience for its musicians as it is for its participants. It offers them the opportunity to strip back their skills – to return to basics. It almost asks of them to unlearn all that they have learnt as professional musicians – in order to free themselves up to improvise and to engage on a humanistic and one to one level with the individual with dementia.

During the Music in Mind sessions, participants are able to pick up percussion instruments as and when they feel like it throughout each session. They are encouraged to tap and touch as the therapist and musicians join in alongside them. Song is often introduced at the request of the participant or when it arises naturally and spontaneously within a particular musical improvisation. When it does, both the therapist and participating musicians simply add harmonic support. Each session is different – as the focus is always on the participants and centred entirely on what they express an interest and a desire in doing.

As a longstanding trumpeter within the orchestra Helen Quayle explains, “Each session begins – not when I pick up my instrument to play a tune but when a participant initiates it. I have to go against my natural instinct to lead. The key to each Music in Mind session is that it is participant led. This experience is organic in its purest sense and very liberating for professional musicians, such as myself.”

Music in Mind Project

Image courtesy of Camerata chamber orchestra

This collaborative project has been made possible through the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation, a charity set up by Care UK to give back to the community at company level, and support initiatives which reflect the organisations core values. The theme for the foundation’s inaugural year is ‘promoting wellbeing through the arts’. To support this theme, the Foundation wanted to invest in research which would help improve the wellbeing of more vulnerable communities in society – including those living with dementia.

The aim of the research conducted by Dr John Habron at Coventry University was essentially to identify the impact of group music therapy with orchestral co-facilitators on people living with dementia and their carers. It was concluded, following this qualitative study, that Music in Mind improved quality of life; enhanced relationships with others; increased confidence; improved sense of identity and of well being and it stimulated long term memory. The impact for carers and their families was equally as positive.

This Music in Mind project will also have a positive impact on the staff who care for them. Care UK’s Head of Dementia, Maizie Mears-Owen, comments: “We have long known about the benefits of music for a person’s wellbeing. However, there is also a lot to gain for the carer as they can develop a stronger bond with the people they support, and feel greater fulfilment in their role. We hope to take learnings from this project and replicate best practice in our other care homes and day clubs.”

Bob Riley Chief Executive of Manchester Camerata concludes:

”In recent years there has been an increase in arts and creative interventions and engagements with dementia sufferers and we as a leading Chamber orchestra equally as passionate about our learning work as we are about our public performances, are delighted to be a part of this trend. But what is particularly exciting is that through this unique partnership with Care UK and independent music therapist, Greg Hanford – we are able to bring something new to the creative intervention arena. We are able to offer people living with dementia the chance to engage with music and musicians in a completely natural and holistic way. And hopefully as a result we can make a real difference to their quality of life.”

Music in Mind Project

Photo courtesy of Camerata

Care UK
Care UK is a leading independent provider of health and social care services in the UK.

Health Care
Care UK provides a range of healthcare services to NHS patients:

  • Over 50 primary care services including GP and walk-in services, out-of-hours, diagnostics centres, clinical assessment & treatment services and prison health services.
  • 11 hospitals that specialise in elective, planned surgery with exceptional clinical outcomes and no cases of hospital acquired MRSA.

In patient satisfaction survey results, 90% of patients rate us as excellent or very good for overall quality of care.

Social Care
Care UK provides care for older people and people with complex needs in both residential and community based settings.

  • We manage 112 care homes with over 6,000 places
  • We run 13 day care centres – including one that is open 24/7
  • We provide over 100,000 hours of homecare every week to more than 14,000 people in their own home
  • We have around 50 branches and 18 extra care schemes nationwide. In the past year, we provided a total of around 7.8 million hours of individual support.
  • We deliver tailored care, rehabilitation and support for 300 people with complex mental health needs from a network of 19 homes and hospitals, as well as in the community, and specialist care and support for people with chronic and enduring eating disorders.
  • We help 550 people living with learning disabilities through independent supported living, flexible support at home and active day schemes, in addition to residential care services at 18 locations.

With expertise in both health and social care, we are uniquely placed to deliver integrated health and social care solutions.

Care UK can provide experts for interviews and to help journalists prepare stories on a range of health and social care topics.

For more information about Care UK, visit the CareUK website



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