Singer and guitarist Edelle McMahon has been working with Music in Hospitals & Care in Northern Ireland since 2018. Edelle reflects on the #MusicEveryDay online programme as the weekly live streams draw to a close.
Live streams helped people to feel less isolated
“I think having the online programme available during lockdown has been crucially important for people in health and care settings. It gave people an anchor in their week, so they knew on Tuesday afternoons it was Music and Memories. The Zoom sessions where people could join from their homes and actually see each other and interact helped them to feel less isolated.
Enjoying music helps people to de-stress and relax. Singing along is great for posture and breathing, which in turn means more oxygen is getting to your vital organs including to your brain so it can aid cognition.
At the beginning it felt very strange to be performing just to a camera, but when you can see that little number of people that you know are tuned in on YouTube and the comments coming in on the live chat, it’s easier to be a little bit more naturalistic because you know that there’s an audience there.
It has made me a better guitar player. When I first started playing as a teenager I learnt how to fingerpick and mainly did this for years. I only started using a plectrum regularly when playing in care homes where everyone is there singing along and the most important thing is to keep the tune and stay in time. So for the live streams I had to learn to use a plectrum with a bit more finesse.”