Music in Health

“Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heartstrings. It acts as medicine.” Macklemore

I passionately believe in the power of music and I love sharing it with other people and helping them to explore music for themselves.

We all have an inherent relationship with music. Right from the start of life in our mother’s womb we hear the melodic contours of her voice and the constant, comforting drum of her rhythmic heart and internal organs.

We also have a need and desire to communicate with others. Music enables us to do this without the confines of words and it can access deep emotions which are difficult to express in any other way.

These are some of the reasons why music is beneficial in healthcare settings:

  • Music is above all pleasurable whether you are playing it, singing it, discovering it or listening to it.
  • Music can raise self-esteem through participation and achievement.
  • Music helps with socialisation and is inclusive and non-competitive
  • Music relieves boredom and provides a diversion from stress or pain
  • Music allows the participants to share a unique experiencePJ-AS462_HEALTH_NS_20091116210932
  • Music stimulates the mind and memory
  • Music provides an outlet for self-expression and creativity
  • Music is an excellent tool to express emotions
  •  In recent studies measures of well-being amongst elderly people who participated in music sessions were consistently higher than amongst a comparison group who did not.
  • In these studies participants reported social, cognitive, emotional and health benefits of participation in music.

What do I do in a “typical” music session?

For starters, there is no such thing as a “typical” music session! Each session is different because I respond to the people I am working with at that very moment in time. I always have my violin with me to play and I also use my voice. I am a very flexible musician and one minute I might be playing a piece of Bach and the next minute jamming with someone on guitar! I always aim to provide a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in which all the participants feel safe and engaged. I view my sessions as a way of sharing music: playing or singing for and with the participants, leaning towards active engagement rather than simply entertainment. As a professional musician I deliver violin playing, singing and music making of a very high standard. I am always flexible within the sessions and I am able to adapt and diversify a workshop and be led by the participants themselves expressing their own wishes, ideas and creativity. I always bring a number of instruments for the participants that are accessible to play as well as many song lyric sheets. I remain open and sensitive to all participants and my aim is to include everyone at all times.

Who do I work with?

In short I work with anyone of any age and am happy working one to one or in groups. I have a wide range of experience in different health settings (see below) but I am also always open to anything new. If you think that you might know someone who would benefit from a shared musical experience do not hesitate to contact me to discuss it or to ask amy questions.

What experience do I have in healthcare settings?

Whilst working in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra I was a lead musician on their Merseycare Musician in Residence Project. I delivered music sessions on a weekly basis in a range of different mental health settings including the Psychiatric Intensive care Unit at Rathbone Hospital, the dementia ward, Brain Injuries Unit and STAR unit at Mossley Hill Hospital, Heys Court which is a continuing care unit for older people with a mental health diagnosis and Boothroyd Unit which is an inpatient unit for older people. I have also worked in other acute mental health units such as Stoddart House and Windsor House as a visiting musician as well as supporting the lead musician at Ashworth Hospital which is a high security psychiatric hospital.

I also worked on 2 projects at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where I took music onto a variety of wards from waiting rooms to Oncology.

I also received funding from the European Association for the Education of Adults to train with Musique et Sante in Paris where I was lucky enough to take music onto the wards of Parisian General Hospitals.

Where am I based?

I am now based in Bristol and am happy to work anywhere within 50 miles of my home.

What have people said about my sessions?

“Jenny makes her sessions entertaining and relaxing and has a positive influence on the ward amongst service users and staff.”

“Jenny is able to engage with hard to reach service users using her musical knowledge, humour and of course her musical talent..she is intuitive sensing the mood in a room where she effortlessly draws people into music may it be folk, classical, modern or popular.”

“I was feeling very depressed before Jenny’s session and did not even want to join in. Once the music started it took me to another world and I felt happier and more able to cope again.”