What we do
Music in Mind is delivered by Manchester Camerata alongside a qualified music therapist. The weekly sessions utilise musical improvisation as a way of encouraging people with dementia to express themselves and communicate with others in the group. Participants make their own creative decisions by choosing which instruments to play, when and how to play them and how their music fits in with the rest of the group. The musicians gradually draw ideas from the participants, valuing everyone’s contribution.
Since 2012, over one thousand participants have engaged with Music in Mind in care homes, day-care centres and hospitals across the North West. The project is funded by grants from charitable trusts, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups, including a three-year grant from the Henry Smith Charity. Carers are supported to facilitate their own music sessions after the funding period to sustain the impacts in the long term. Resources are also being developed to aid this process and a co-delivery model was trialled at the end of 2017.
Research and evaluation has been embedded in the project since its inception. In partnership with the University of Manchester, a joint PhD student is conducting a three-year study measuring the ‘in the moment’ impacts of music for people living with dementia. Independent evaluations through HKD Research Ltd have also shown a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of people with dementia, including an increase in 90% of the service user’s mood, communication, social and musical skills by week four of the project.