Music, Memory and Me is a collaboration between University College London Hopspital, Royal Free Hospital and the Guildhall School that aims to build a better and more compassionate attitude towards elderly hospital patients through the sharing of songs and music. In doing so, it aims to help UCLH and RFH more effectively support elderly patients and those with dementia, while offering a unique opportunity for Guildhall students to use their training in a hospital setting. Music, Memory and Me won the Better Healthcare Award for Best Collaborative Arts Project (Performance) in 2017.
Music, Memory and Me occurs every week at both UCLH and RFH. Each session is two hours long and the team comprises of three Leadership students and a tutor. Each session is different, with a mix of individual and bedside work, whole-bay music-making and longer sessions in communal day rooms. There is a strong focus on participation and ownership. Patients are invited to choose songs, sing and play hand percussion. Social isolation is broken down as patients talk to their neighbours, while family and staff are also invited to get involved.
The project uses a variety of tools to collect feedback, including specially devised forms for both patients and staff, as well as reflections and observations from the students. Case studies of particular patients are built up with the assistance of staff to help inform the development of the project. As it continues to grow, the project aims to deepen the understanding of the impact of the sessions, and to refine its research models.
You can listen to a radio interview about the project here: