Edinburgh – Jamming at the Hive: five years on

Every week, MiHC singer and guitarist Charlie Gorman sits within a circle of chairs at the Hive café space at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and is joined by service users and patients.

The group gives people who are often feeling powerless the chance to express themselves and play us their favourite song, which is also a wonderful opportunity to get to know the patient’s characters and personalities, which hopefully rebuilds their identity and recovery.

Here, the live music is co-created by everyone present. Audience members are also the performers; they take the lead, perform and play their own instruments whilst being accompanied and encouraged by Charlie:

“I’ve hosted music workshop sessions at the Hive, part of The Royal Edinburgh Hospital, on behalf of Music in Hospitals & Care for over five years. In that time I’ve seen how valuable and therapeutic participation in music can be to both people’s body and mind. Many who visit the Hive sessions for the first time are often hindered by low self-esteem… they tend to be very subdued and physically hunched from a real lack of self-confidence.

For anyone who makes the brave decision to get up on stage and play an instrument or sing a song in front of their friends and other audience members, it’s like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. People become visibly more confident, walk taller and seem to come alive, and in most cases, the performer wants to sing or play again and again.

I genuinely believe these sessions can give individuals, through a boost in confidence and self-worth, the initial platform to gain the strength to move on to the next step in their recovery.”

Care staff at the Hive tell us that these events promote a sense of control, involvement and investment for the people within their care:

“Music Jam is one of our busiest activities and is loved by everyone who attends. There are a few service users who come every week and the buzz they get from singing with Charlie is so inspiring to watch. Patients’ faces really do brighten up after they have sung something at the group, they are always so proud of themselves (rightfully so) and the whole group is always so supportive of each other on Charlie’s lead. The group gives people who are often feeling powerless the chance to express themselves and play us their favourite song, which is also a wonderful opportunity to get to know the patient’s characters and personalities, which hopefully rebuilds their identity and recovery.” – Jennifer Learmonth, Assistant Activities Worker at The Hive.

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