Wigmore Hall Learning’s Music for Life programme continues to engage people living with dementia in musical creativity together with their families and carers. As well as increasing their sense of wellbeing and alleviating loneliness, working all together helps improve relationships and understanding.
The BBT Communities grant will support the increasing need to connect with people who are at even greater risk of isolation due to the pandemic restrictions. The programme reaches them online in their homes, or in-person as and when it is possible. Music for Life musicians also benefit from their training which equips them with additional skills that positively impact other areas of their life and work.
It has enabled me to explore my deep interest in creative work with people living with dementia. Through the project I have gained more skills in using music to enhance wellbeing, and I really want to pursue more work in this field. It has been incredible to see the ways that music can be used to instill an inclusive and creative sense of community in which everyone exists as equals. I see the composer as a community figure, and I have been further inspired by the Music for Thought project to make community projects and outreach work an even larger part of my life.
Royal Academy of Music musician
I felt connected, engaged and supported. I felt that I was being seen as myself, not defined by my diagnosis… it was an opportunity to be with others who have similar diagnoses, but without these being the focus of the group. In the past I have sometimes found professional musicians intimidating, but this was certainly not the case here.
We are so grateful for the generous funding from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust which enabled us to lead transformative and impactful activity with people living with dementia, their families and carers across our Singing with Friends choir as well as our Monday Afternoons programme for people with young onset dementia. We were also able to lead vital training and development for Music for Life musicians at a crucial time at which we were returning to in-person activity after a long time apart. This activity was vital for Music for Life participants, many of whom had been isolated and experiencing loneliness during the pandemic. We are now able to lead regular in person and online activity on both Singing with Friends and Monday Afternoons, enabling more people to take part regardless of whether they can access in person or not, and this is in large part due to the generous support from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
Photographs by James Berry