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Enriching lives through music

Residents at Sanctuary Care’s care home in Chester are hitting the high notes, banging the drums and singing loud and proud, thanks to an exciting new partnership with the UK’s largest music therapy charity, Nordoff and Robbins.

Music therapy student Hannah Thompson has embarked on a six-month placement at Upton Dene Residential and Nursing Home, where she spends a day a week taking our residents on a “musical journey”.

Armed with wind chimes, a guitar, the cymbals and drums, Hannah leads both individual and group sessions with our residents.

She explains: “You can see so much joy when the residents sing. Music doesn’t rely on words, so it enables people to feel connected, to be valued in a therapeutic relationship.”

Hannah is in the final year of her Master’s degree with Nordoff and Robbins, validated by Goldsmiths, University of London. 

A true sense of achievement

The home’s activities co-ordinator, Bernie Harding says: “At Upton Dene we are passionate about enriching the lives of our residents, and music is such a magical way to do this. Our residents are having an absolute ball with Hannah and have such a great sense of achievement, expressing themselves through music.” 

As well as stimulating the senses, Hannah’s sessions have also been a reminiscence activity for many of the residents, some of whom live with dementia.

She adds: “Music can connect us with old memories, but also gives us the opportunity to be present in the moment, connecting with someone else, creating something that you can be really proud of.”

One resident who has absolutely loved Hannah’s sessions is Ivor, who now wants to buy his own drum set!

And for Hannah, music is about celebrating people’s abilities and what they can do, making it so inclusive.

She adds: “I want people to have the opportunity to have this new experience of themselves – with music there is so much you can do and so much there is still to do. We are enjoying having the opportunity to make music together!”

With a unique approach shaped by more than 60 years of practice, Nordoff and Robbins’ trained music therapists use the power of music to break through barriers, creating space for people to express themselves and find connection in society.

For more about how the team are enriching lives at Upton Dene, Sanctuary Care’s Enquiry Support Team are here to talk on 0800 331 7411

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