I was awarded the Finzi Scholarship in 2009. The funding enabled me to pursue a passionate personal and professional interest in the role of music in the care of people with dementia. Over the next year, I spent time in dementia care settings across the UK and in Italy, Sweden and Barbados working with staff and speaking to staff about their musical experiences in young life, and observing musical interactions in the settings.
The outcome of this experience has been far-reaching both personally and professionally. I learnt about cultural practices in dementia care and how music was perceived as a care intervention in the different countries. I learnt about factors that might inhibit staff to engage with music in their workplace and a good deal about forms of music-related training that staff felt might be useful to them. The latter has considerably informed my current teaching practice in the UK with post and undergraduate music and nursing students. It has also driven forward a newly launched organisation, Music4Wellbeing, which promotes music as a support tool for professional development in health and education settings.
Since the scholarship trips, I have re-visited many of the new friends and colleagues I met as a result. This unique opportunity has enabled continued international partnerships that aim to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their care-givers across the world. Thank you!
For information on Music4Wellbeing see: Music4Wellbeing
For information on Music and Health research see: Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health