Our stories

People are at the heart of what we do. Discover some of our stories from across the UK to find out more about how people in healthcare are benefitting from live music experiences.

Mike's story

“It’s quiet when you’ve got dementia,” says Mike Brookes, who has been living with vascular dementia for 10 years. In lockdown, life has been particularly isolating for Mike, who is a RAF veteran, and his wife Liz.

“It’s been devastating, lonely and terrifying” says Liz, who lives with Mike in Rochdale. “Normally, we are very busy with lots of activities but they just stopped dead in the pandemic. The impact on Mike was really negative. And it was hard for him to engage with things online.

“We’ve really missed live music, which transformed Mike.”

“Live music should be on prescription for people living with dementia”

Marilyn's story

Looking across at his wife Marilyn, Chris Mercer sees her smile. They’re sharing a Music in Hospitals & Care live music experience at Holy Cross Hospital in Surrey, where Marilyn lives at the moment, and Chris used to visit every single day.

“Marilyn had an accident which left her with brain damage and she has relatively low awareness and is often asleep,” says Chris. “But when there’s good live music going on, she reacts to it. She is more awake and it makes a big difference to her wellbeing.”

Alan's story

Alan is a stroke survivor who accesses support and activities with the help of Donna, Stroke Communications Support Coordinator for The Stroke Association in Bridgend.

One of these groups is Movement to Music, led by Anwen at Rubicon Dance, who we have partnered with to share live music at dance sessions in care homes and day centres. Isla from Music in Hospitals & Care spoke to Alan, Anwen and Donna on a video call about the sessions moving online.

That element of having live music performance was really uplifting, it was really engaging. It was so nice to see everybody smiling and joining in, and people who hadn't joined in the previous sessions, who were encouraged to come along for the live session, have now said that they are going to continue to come every week.

David's story

David is 15 and has cerebral palsy. He accesses respite care at Robin House in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, which is operated by the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

David loves music and has recently joined some of our #MusicEveryDay live stream sessions. We spoke to David’s mum Evelyn and CHAS Activities Facilitator Alison on a video call.

It’s just a fantastic way for David to engage with something that he loves… I see the benefit it has for David and I would hate to think there's anyone out there who can't access it. It would be such a shame.

Mary's Story

Mary is 79 and has been a resident at Grange Care Home in Kilmarnock for two years. She takes part in all of the activities organised by Derek, the Lifestyle Coordinator, but she has a particular fondness for music. Isla spoke to Mary and Derek on a video call.

“We haven’t had live music for months. Everything we have been doing is just on the TV or videos, that type of thing. So to have someone who was actually interacting directly, asking them what songs they would like to hear, I think it was almost like a wee touch to the outside world again. And that just made you feel a bit more hopeful afterwards.”

Southampton: Sarah's story

Musician Phoebe Gorry reflects on a performance she gave at Southampton General Hospital that she will never forget.

Sarah’s mum said that it was the most stimulated she had seen her daughter for weeks – the experience really demonstrated the power of music as a therapeutic tool.

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