Author: Dr Gwawr Ifan and Dr Myfanwy Davies, Bangor University

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Three: 4.30pm – 6pm

A growing body of medical evidence emphasises the positive effects of music on the elderly and people with dementia (e.g. Aldridge, 2000; Bungay & Skingley, 2008).  Music is reported to enrich the lives of these groups and to provide a necessary stimulus. With Governmental policies reflecting the use of the arts in healthcare in Wales and internationally, there is a greater demand for qualified musicians to undertake projects in care homes. 

Musicians working in health care settings face various difficulties and require musical and personal competences that are likely to go beyond their professional training (Marland, 2007).  As these are novel interventions, musicians will need to develop skills to ensure the acceptability of their work within an institutional setting.

This paper presents a case study of a music residency programme in a care home within a deprived area of north-west Wales. It explores the skills and strategies developed by and required of the musician, and begins to delineate a model of competencies needed by professional artists in therapeutic settings to be expanded and tested in future research.

We conclude that innovative projects such as that described should be used to develop systematic training programmes for professional artists in order to make best use of the potential they offer.

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