Music making with isolated care home residents

Musician and former Wigmore Hall Trainee Music Leader Luke Newby tells us about his one to one activity with care home residents unable to leave their rooms, as part of our three-year residency in partnership with Jewish Care

Since July 2020 I have been working with the brilliant staff at Vi and John Rubens House to provide 1:1 music sessions with residents who are not able to leave their rooms. Everyone working and living in care homes has experienced an incredibly challenging year and we wanted to make these sessions an outlet for expression for both residents and staff. Each session is unique with an aim to be co-created and responsive. We have made music in response to visual art and poetry, listened to pieces of repertoire, sung jazz standards and created a dance for a teddy bear and a lullaby for a doll. The residents and staff members are able to engage in many different ways, including playing percussion instruments in improvised pieces of music, singing, directing music through words and gestures or simply listening.

Each week the staff at Vi and John Rubens do an amazing job in facilitating the sessions by taking me (on an iPad) to the different rooms in the sessions, making sure the residents are comfortable and then being imaginative, sensitive and creative musicians in our music making. In this time of isolation for us all this has been a wonderful way to connect with people.

"When we go to residents’ rooms they may be agitated but with Luke’s music and lovely nature he changes their moods very quickly"

Staff member

"How wonderful, I love music"

Resident

"You really took me somewhere"

Staff member

Read more about Music for Life and the residency at Vi and John Rubens House here