Music Movement

I listen to…I sing to…I dance to…

The beneficial impacts of music, singing & dance with people in long term health care are well established. With subtlety, music & movement activities build on the well-known preserved memory for song and music in the brain and provide a way for people along with their carers, to be expressive and socialise with others in fun and supportive sessions. Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music is especially easy to recall and is seen as a backdoor into the connections of the mind.

” I recommend artists use a music playlist for groups to choose, own, discover & update. Playlists are a useful way to initiate conversation, invoke old & instil new memories, as part of an activity or easy listening. A portable speaker with apps such as Spotify work well. “

Julie Spollen

Potentially travel the radio world, I’ve just been to the Faroe Islands on

Music Conversations from your Chair 2022

A project with anam-ceol-music-therapy supported by Anam Beo and Dublin Mid Leinster HSE Services. This five-week programme of creative music workshops, led by music therapist Bernadette Moran, offered residents space to share meaningful songs with one another during weekly group and individual sessions. The aims of the programme, the theme of which was “musical conversations are the back door to the mind” included;

  • Providing opportunities for self-expression.
  • Providing opportunities for verbal and non-verbal communication through music.
  • Providing opportunities for social interaction and inclusion among residents.

During these sessions, residents had opportunities to choose songs and sing them with the group, which often prompted rich discussions in which residents shared their individual life experiences. There were high levels of engagement. These moments fostered opportunities for connection and community among the residents and offered a safe space for creative expression. Feedback from care centre staff has been overwhelmingly positive also, showing that the residents discuss the music sessions throughout the week and look forward to them every Tuesday. The programme concluded with residents arranging a small concert for staff. They performed material from their chosen set list which included songs they had shared together regularly during the group sessions. Participants spoke about the positive experiences they had gained from participating in the programme. This built into a performance with immense confidence & enthusiasm. Bernadette Moran 

Catherine Donnelly Activate & Dance @ACHILLESDI 

The Get Togethers were community engagement sessions open for all individuals, members of the Irish Wheelchair Association, Offaly Disability Equality Network and Ballycumber Active Age Group. Catherine made a presentation about her practice and peoples perceptions of space, their experiences, their locality and impacts on creative engagements and our social health. Artists live improvisation inspired by the space & those present. Catherine lead group creative movement responses to the sessions. ACHILLes Dance Initiative facilitate, develop and attract participation in community and contemporary dance in Mayo and Roscommon.

Aisling Brennan, Visual Arts & Music facilitator & Art Therapist @trueselftrueart  

Aisling was at the forefront of the Anam Beo music initiative at Ofalia House.

Ailish Claffey Dance Artist

Anam Beo welcomed Ailish Claffey to work with participants from a HSE care setting and the Irish Wheelchair Association. A wonderful dance artist and movement practitioner with an interest in health, wellbeing and older people.  Specialising in choreological studies. Ailish works in a collaborative capacity exploring and creating work that examines the complexity of human relationships.

“Dance Classes, participants are inspired to explore movement and music in ways that are energising, fun, stimulation and creativity. Lots of benefits are recorded from taking part in dance classes such as increasing range and fluidity of motion, multi-tasking and balance increase in addition to co-ordination and efficiency of movement. A professional dance artist, Ailish Claffey trained in Dance for P.D. with David Leventhal, Mark Morris Dance Company, Brooklyn, US and renowned functional anatomist Irene Dowd, NYC. Classes start with gentle chair based warm up, than work towards shifting weight out of the chair and up to standing before transferring weight and travelling through space. Affinities of movement, effort qualities and rhythm are explored as we connect to the music and enjoy moving together as a group.”

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