Connections in Music

Natasha Larkin

As a music therapist I am so very lucky to share all the wonderful moments music can generate between people and Cheslyn’s Floor at Elton House is no different!

“Singing helps me forget about all my worries” said a resident during one of our music therapy sessions. Prior to starting the session she had expressed to me that she was mixed up and worrying about a lot of things, a few songs later she was able to recognise and express that she felt less worried and was enjoying the singing. It’s this immediate, in the moment impact that shines through during music therapy sessions at Elton House. Giving space to share feelings and worries is important, but encouraging and supporting residents to engage in something motivating and distracting enables them to break free from the often constant confusion.

Every music therapy session in Cheslyn’s lounge is different, giving residents the opportunity to engage in the music in their own way, be it singing along on the sofa or dancing to the music in the adjoining dinning room! After only a few sessions the individual characters and personalities were coming through, and it was lovely to see how each individual resident interacted in the group session with the music.      

Music therapy offers a space to experience and share connections with each other through music making and singing, providing an opportunity to relax and have fun or simply dose through the sounds tapping their feet along to the music. “Music warms the heart” – it is hoped that the positive expressions and experiences like this, alongside the vocal and verbal stimulation is sustained for a while or perhaps the whole afternoon after the music therapy sessions, enabling them to hold on to those uplifting feelings throughout the rest of their day. 

“You start the tune and I’ll pick it up” – a space to accept their inability to remember all the words, and supporting them to understand it’s ok not to remember, it’s ok to forget and it’s ok to sing ‘laaa’ instead of the words…we all do it! Through the weekly group singing and discussions, the residents have naturally began to show each other support, empathy and encouragement, as well as showing more confidence.

It’s the small moments within music therapy sessions which are often the most extraordinary, for example, kneeling down to play the guitar in front of a resident to bring them into the moment, suddenly gaining their full attention and hearing their voice join in the chorus. The overheard conversation between two residents about how lovely it was to sing all together. The bouncing shoulders and quick feet of a resident dancing her way towards the keyboard after hearing the music down the corridor. The music therapy sessions embrace these moments and aim to improve the wellbeing of each resident in their own individual way.

By Natasha Larkin, Music Therapist, working with Signature at Elton House

To find out more about Elton House, or to book a visit, please visit our webpage here.