Lent: Looking Outwards – “The Soundtrack to My Life” Event

Lent: Looking Outwards – “The Soundtrack to My Life” Event

STML SSB posterLast summer, in between meetings I nipped into our local Farm Shop, to grab some things for the family supper. Whilst doing so I was approached by a local resident, John Osborne, who wanted a quick word. John explained that he was interested in running some sessions in the village to try to increase awareness and understanding of dementia. His hope was to encourage Thornham to become a Dementia Friendly Village.

It’s interesting that sometimes it is the random conversations that really spark something. My nursing past, and my priestly present made me instantly interested ,and a dialogue between John and I began.

John, is a qualified social worker and a musician. He has worked in health and social care for over 35 years, including running his own care company. His particular interest in dementia arose after caring for his own father for many years through a whole journey of progression of dementia. John currently runs a training company, JoCo Learning & Development, who provide social care training including specialist dementia courses and a business development programme supporting organisations to be Dementia Friendly. John also volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society as a Dementia Friends Champion.

John: Anybody can take steps to become a Dementia Friend, its about understanding more about the condition, and the things we can all do to support people living with dementia and those who care for them. We offer training and support to organisations to consider their customers, environments and their staff who may be caring for someone with dementia or have a diagnosis themselves.

With the support of a small grant from Thornham United Charities six sessions have taken place in the village, including the Soup and Sandwiches Lunch in November. To date this has resulted in 72 people becoming dementia friends.

I think what has inspired me about working with John, is his incredibly positive attitude. There are certain subjects that we as a culture avoid publically: ‘money’ and ‘death’ are two examples. Cancer used to be another, but dementia is definitely still on the banned list. As a nurse I learnt that facing up to a diagnosis is the first step to a healthy approach to the rest of life. As a Christian I understand two particular things: that our suffering God allows us to see possibilities even in suffering, and that God is intensely interested in every individual, whatever limitations that individual lives with. We are all children of God in God’s eyes, and precious, so surely I need to be following Jesus’ example and help meet the challenges of all stages of life with compassion and with cheerfulness, finding what is good there.

John also runs a charity, ‘musicworks’, which promotes all forms of music. The charity also hosts a series of ‘Music In Care’ projects including ‘Soundtrack to My Life’, a toolkit he designed using personalised music in a therapeutic way to support people living with dementia and ‘My Music Oasis’ which uses personalised music for carers. A third toolkit followed, ‘My Story in Music’, a legacy project using music at end of life.

“As a musician I have always been aware of the power of music, it took me a few years after my fathers death to reaslise what would have made our family position better, with this in mind I created the ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ a toolkit designed to improve the quality of life for people with dementia through the application of personalised music to daily living”

 John and I are planning two further events within the Heacham and Rising Deanery. On the 16th February as part of our ‘Lent: Looking Outwards’ series, John will introduce to us the possibilities of music in dementia care. We then hope to have a special Deanery evening furthering this exploration of music and memory.

I hope that all of this work will encourage us to understand the possibilities of care and the hope even in challenging circumstances.

Rev. Susan Bowden-Pickstock (Saxon Shore Benefice)



‘Music in Care’ Supported by Donation from John Lewis’ ‘Music Matters’

‘Music in Care’ Supported by Donation from John Lewis’ ‘Music Matters’

In June, we announced that we had received a grant from the John Lewis Partnership’s ‘Music Matters’ fund for our Care Homes Project fund. (see previous article here)

On the 17th of November, Louise Law and James Cordin from John Lewis Partnership in Nottingham, visited staff from Kingfisher Court and Seely Hirst House on their final day of ‘Soundtrack to my Life’ Training.

Staff from Kingfisher Court and Seely Hirst House meet staff from John Lewis

Staff from Kingfisher Court and Seely Hirst House meet staff from John Lewis

Both Care Homes were given the opportunity for members of their management and staff to receive FREE training and toolkits as part of the Care Homes Project.

John Osborne, Chair and Artistic Director of musicworks said: “We were thrilled to receive this grant from the John Lewis Partnership. As a direct consequence of the award we have been able to provide toolkits and training to two local care homes to implement the ‘Soundtrack to My Life’. In addition to directly enhancing the quality of life for residents with dementia, this innovative and creative approach will greatly enhance the skills and knowledge of care and support staff.”

We look forward to keeping in touch with the Care Homes and following their progress with ‘Music in Care’.

The training was provided by JoCo Learning & Development. Thanks to Seely Hirst House for hosting the training sessions.

PRESS RELEASE – Caring for Rushcliffe Carers – A Music Oasis

PRESS RELEASE – Caring for Rushcliffe Carers – A Music Oasis

oasis workshopRushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group and Nottinghamshire County Council are providing a workshop for Carers in Rushcliffe to learn about the power of music to enhance their quality of life and providing them with a specially designed toolkit “My Music Oasis” from local charity, musicworks.

The “My Music Oasis” workshop is designed for people caring for others, and aims to recognise and celebrate the vital role they play, often at a significant cost to themselves.

The fun and interactive workshop, run by musicworks’ training partner, JoCo Learning and Development, looks at how the “My Music Oasis” toolkit is used to capture personalised music and make beneficial use of it in the daily life of a Carer. It will be an opportunity to meet other Carers and socialise whilst creating their own personalised playlist. Participants will receive the toolkit free of charge to keep and use.

The “My Music Oasis” toolkit, designed by West Bridgford based charity, musicworks enables Carers to draw together pieces of music and memories that are significant to them and can be used to aid rest and relaxation, and focus the mind on the good times that they have shared with the person they care for.

John Osborne, Chair and Artistic Director of musicworks said, “Understanding the power of music, and how to use it, is a profound way to empower your health and enrich your life. Music has been shown to ease physical discomfort and pain, ease emotional distress, promote spiritual awareness, aid relaxation, enhance relationships, improve quality of life, support life review and bring joy and positivity which are all vital to allow Carers to continue their support of others on a day to day basis”.

Marie, a carer from NHS Rushcliffe CCG Patient Cabinet said “This workshop sounds exciting and a lot of fun. It’s an interesting and relaxing way for Carers to share memories and socialise. I’m really looking forward to choosing my playlist”.

Penny Spice from Nottinghamshire County Council, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with both our local NHS and independent sector colleagues on this exciting and innovative project.”

The event will take place on the 20th October 2015 between 2pm and 5pm at West Bridgford Library. Carers who are interested in taking part should call 0115 9145879 or 07955016377 to book a space. Places are limited to 20 participants. Download the flyer information here: Oasis Workshop – Rushcliffe CCG

For more information about the workshop please contact Kate Williams on the numbers above.

Participants must be registered with a GP in Rushcliffe to be eligible for a place on the free session.
Participants can reclaim replacement care costs from Nottinghamshire County Council whilst attending the workshop – details of how to claim will be supplied at the workshop

Open Mic Night is Back!

Open Mic Night is Back!

open mic landscape poster 2015 (NEW TIME)Following on from their successful Open Mic Night fundraiser in 2014, two local performers, Amanda Bruce and Lucy Theobald are organising another ‘Open Mic Night’ in aid of musicworks. The event was a huge success and so they are back at the Poppy and Pint this August to give another opportunity to local singers.

Money raised will help to fund musicworks’ “Care Homes Project” which aims to provide Care Homes with training and “Soundtrack to My Life” toolkits to benefit people living with dementia. Amanda said “Soundtrack to My Life” captures the power of music to reconnect people with dementia to memories that may at first appear to have been lost. One of the incredible things about music is its ability to evoke emotions; a song may be ephemeral but its effects are long-lasting, and the toolkit is an important aid which every person with dementia deserves to have access to.” and Lucy added “We really wanted to organise another event as musicworks does such important work for people with dementia which I really think should be supported and showcased. The Open Mic Night is a great way of getting the people together, and using the rich musical talent that Nottingham has to offer in support of this fantastic cause. We hope more people will join us after the success of last year – it was such a fun night to be a part of.”

John Osborne, Chair and Artistic Director of musicworks said, “It’s wonderful that Amanda and Lucy wanted to organize another event after the success of last year. An event like this brings all the elements of musicworks together – giving people an opportunity to perform and supporting local talent whilst raising money that we can use to give people access to music through our ‘Music in Care’ projects. It was a great fun event and we look forward to welcoming lots more talented people to share their talents.”

The event is being held at The Poppy and Pint in West Bridgford who are kindly donating the use of their function room to support the event.

Those attending the event can get up and sing or just come along to listen. Singers should bring sheet music for the event’s pianist or an MP3 player with their backing tracks. Instrumentalists are also welcome but acoustic or small set ups only due to time and equipment constraints. Entry is £5 minimum donation on the door.

Contact us for more information – we look forward to seeing you there!

Thank You John Lewis!

Thank You John Lewis!

We’re pleased to announce that musicworks have been awarded a grant by the John Lewis Partnership’s Music Matters fund.

The John Lewis Partnership has been making grants to support musical activities of all kinds for over 75 years. Grants are awarded for specific musical events or projects that make an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the local communities of which we are part. musicworks applied for a grant to support the Care Homes Project which aims to fund the use of ‘Music in Care’ for Care Homes.

Directors John Osborne and Jo Belton were invited to the John Lewis store in Victoria Centre to meet Community Liaison Coordinator, Louise Law, who presented them with a cheque for £1000.

We look forward to using that money to support the use of ‘Music in Care’ for local care homes as soon as possible.

Huge thanks to the John Lewis Partnership and Louise at our local store for their support.

John Lewis  JLP


What is ‘The Soundtrack to My Life’?



The ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ was the first of the musicworks three ‘Music in Care’ toolkits. It was designed for people living with dementia and other memory loss conditions.

John Osborne developed ‘Soundtrack’ following his own experience as a carer for his own father through his dementia journey. As a social care professional and musician, it wasn’t until after his father had sadly passed away that he was able to reflect on how music could have helped his journey with dementia.

Personalised music is emotional and that emotion acts as a ‘memory bridge’ which can take you back to a significant event, person, place and how you felt at that exact time.

The brain has the ability to store musical memory in complex ways. For people living with dementia this memory bridge is vital to reconnect them with memories from their life story which may otherwise be lost due to the illness.

The ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ toolkit offers people with dementia especially, a way to collate their important and significant musical life story.

The toolkit comprises of short questions to prompt the individual to think about people, places and events that may have important musical memories. There is space to record the music and most importantly, the story behind why it is important to the person.

As well as the toolkit pages, ‘The Soundtrack to My Life’ includes helpful notes to help the user, their family or carers with the process of collecting musical memories.

The musicworks ‘Music in Care’ project also promotes the use of music listening technology for people with dementia and carers. There is useful guidance on how to access and use affordable music technology from CDs, iPods and music online like YouTube, Spotify and iTunes distilled in such a way that should see novices gain confidence.

Look inside: (images)
The ‘Music in Care’ project is all about person centred engagement with music and so the toolkit also manages to include some practical ideas on how to use personalised music collection(s) as part of a person centred daily routine.

When it comes to music interventions for people with dementia, and in fact in all musicworks’ ‘Music in Care’ toolkits, the distinct strength is; ‘Soundtrack’ offers more than a one off activity. Both the process of creating a ‘Soundtrack’ and music listening are equally important. It offers meaningful occupation, strengthens identity and is portable, travelling with the person through their dementia journey. It is a proven way to bring a person centred approach to music choice and selection to routine day activities, reminiscence groups, singing, choirs, dance, exercise and beyond.

‘Soundtrack to My Life’ toolkits cost just £10 and includes free electronic storage of any toolkit that has been completed as an insurance against loss or damage. This means that any ‘Soundtrack’ can be recreated for an individual or their relative should they need a replacement.

Training workshops are available for health and social care professionals and carers to learn more about ‘Music in Care’ and how to use ‘Soundtrack’ toolkits. For more information about training please visit JoCo Learning & Development’s website here
by Kate Williams on 10th February 2015.