The sound of music permeated the premises of Jewish Care’s Vi and John Rubens House in Redbridge as residents, relatives, staff and volunteers were entertained by a roaming troupe at the launch of a two-year residency for Wigmore Hall’s Music for Life programme.
Music for Life will bring the professional musicians, residents and care staff together through interactive collaborations.
Helen Preddy, Jewish Care’s creative arts development co-ordinator, said the project was designed “to enhance quality of life by increasing self-esteem, as well as interaction with others. The facilitator takes direction from the residents, focusing on their strengths, and often gives carers, volunteers and relatives a diﬀerent perspective on the residents.
“For those living with advanced dementia, research shows that music memory is rarely degraded. Music continues to stimulate and have tremendous therapeutic impact.”
Clarinettist Luke Newby will be making weekly visits to the home, moving through lounges and visiting rooms to create musical interactions.
There are already plans to form a Rubens House Community Choir featuring residents, staff members and volunteers.
Wigmore Hall learning director Daisy Swift said the organisation was “passionate about the impact music can have on all our lives. Music for Life truly embodies the values which lie at the heart of our work — creativity, collaboration and equality.
“We can make music an embedded and vital part of the life of the home and its staff, residents and families.”
Melanie Farenden, daughter of resident Gloria Jaffe, attended the opening session with her own daughter, Laura.
“My mum doesn’t usually join in but she loved the double bass, playing the tambourine and singing when the musicians were here,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever heard her sing in our lives. She had a really lovely afternoon. It’s been brilliant for everyone.”
Home manager Momar Camarra added that “it was fantastic to see and hear everyone joining in, making musical requests and playing the musical instruments. It created an incredible atmosphere.
“We know music has a profound effect on the well-being of older people and the residency will bring ongoing opportunities for our residents to continue to enjoy music in many forms. We can already see the positive effect.”