What Happens in A Session?
Singing for Wellbeing begins each week with a very relaxed coffee and catch up start. Both new and old faces are welcomed as soon as they walk through the door by one of the many enthusiastic volunteers and course leaders. Refreshments are provided and biscuits laid across a table where the first half an hour is spent encouraging people to make new friends, catch up with old acquaintances and swap and exchange various stories. Creating such a social and stimulating environment is an essential aspect of the workshop, as a community atmosphere provides the backbone to the Singing for Wellbeing experience.
People seem to enjoy doing something jointly with other people and there is a lot of evidence that being socially engaged is good for people with dementia. (Jane Elliott, How singing unlocks the brain, BBC news health)
There is never any pressure put upon those participating in the workshop to join in and everyone is recognised as an individual who will take part in activities over different rates of time and take from activities in different ways. Many participants have been seen to progress over attendance to Singing for Wellbeing and have breakthroughs which have astonished both themselves and their carers.
Through the use of soft percussive instuments, movement is used to keep both in rhythm with what is being sung but also as a gentle way of engaging participants with exercise and muscle memory, associating gestures with corresponding words which are being sung.
Suggestions are always taken each week for songs which people may want to hear and sing, as well as the presence of old favourites which are led by Sandra and Jackie. The session always begins with a "Hello song" as well as a "Goodbye song" (Until we meet again, lets keep the music within our hearts...) which both engage participants and carers allowing them to feel included and welcomed within the sessions.
Listen to audio of a session & an interview below