Monday, October 6, 2014

The Origins of Music, Health, & Wellbeing

"The great saxophonist Charlie Parker once proclaimed "if you don't live it, it wont come out your horn". This quote has often been used to explain the hedonistic lifestyle of many jazz greats; however it also signals the reciprocal & inextricable relationship between music and wider social, cultural, & psychological variables. This link is complex & multifaceted & is undoubtebly a central component of why music has been implicated as a therapeutic agent in vast swathes of contemporary research studies. Music is always about more than just acoustic events or notes on a page.  Moreover, music's universal, & timeless potential to influence how we think, & feel, lies at the heart of our motivation to produce this edited volume.
   Music has been imbued with curative, therapeutic, and other medical value throughout history. Musicians, therapists, philosophers, as well as other artists, and scholars & scholars alike  have documented its physical, mental & social effects, in treatises from as early as 4000 BC to the present (Spintge & Droh 1992). Clearly the relationship between music, health & well-being is complex & involves numerous facets & challenges. To begin with, there is considerable debate on all three of the terms in this volume. Leaving aside  the intracacies, of etymology & translations into various languages, one significant challenge is the establishment of causal links between musical activities on the one hand, & specific individual, health & wellbeing benefits on the other. This book is conceived to accept this challenge by means of building evidence-bases in different areas of music & health research & we hope that this collection of chapters will further our understanding of music as a part of both human nature, & human culture"

& so begins the book that I have just received, and am reading avidly

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Hilda Ross CD

The Hilda Ross Glee Club is formed from the residents of the villas (independent living units) at the Ryman Healthcare Hilda Ross Retirement complex in Hamilton, New Zealand.  Formed two years ago as a research group for Dr Julie Jackson-Gough, this group has continued to grow from strength to strength. In November 2007, they were the focus of a presentation done by Dr Julie made at the gerontology conference. The Glee Club performed at the luncheon, and then were featured on National Radio the same evening.

The group is non-auditioned, anyone from the villas or studios, may come and sing. In 2007 the were twelve regular singers, in the Glee Club.  In  the interim three of the Glee Club have died, and the group is now 16-strong, including Marie Jenkins, Hilda Ross Activities Co-ordinator.  The average age of the resident Glee Club singers is 78.5 years. They have performed at the village, and also at the nearby University of Waikato, where Dr Julie is a senior lecturer.
Julie continues to train the Glee Club and accompany them on the piano. The rising standard of the participants' singing has been a joy to hear and this CD shows what they have achieved in the last two years. To check out Dr Julie's ongoing research:

Saturday, August 9, 2014


We are planning to run a Non Competitive Choirs Festival in Auckland, in March 2015.

It will be a chance for choirs to hear each other, and get ideas for their own choir. Depending on who joins in it may be an all-day festival, or a half-day festival.

If it is an all-day festival, then it will be catered, at cost.

There is a choir from Tauranga, that has shown interest and there may be other choirs from around the upper North Island that may be interested in coming as well.

Follow my blog to get updates.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Evidence of the ongoing effects of the 8 to 80 concert.

In 2012 the Forest Lake Gardens Choir sang with the Forest Lake School in the 8 to 80 concert as part of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.
It was a tremendous event attended by 500 people, in the English Garden.

The event was always intended to link the village to the school, and to set up ways that the village residents could support the school.

Helen Glynne now goes to the school as Whaea Helen, and gives reading help to students who are behind in their reading. It started from the relationships that were established as part of the children and the 'Village people' interacting. The Principal saw an opportunity, and took it.

Helen's husband, Jim, has Alzheimers and the other men in the village look after him when she goes to the school.

She how has recruited three other people to go and work in the school as well to support the children's reading. Raewyn Beard, Babs Miller, and Eric Ashton.

Let me tell you about Eric Ashton. Eric was becoming frail. Helen recruited him for the reading programme, and he has found a new lease of life. He has been energised by finding that he is useful again!

This is Eric in 2013, it was the publicity photo for the 2014: 8 to 80 concert, which did not happen, as the new festival organiser said it was not suitable!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dr Graham Stokes 2

We don't know why dementia starts. It is striking at random. It is a disability. It is a person with a disability. They have rights. The person is still there, it is just that they are disabled. The new always stays strange, so it is good to keep people in their own place. Layers and layers of intellectual devastation. In the beginning it is subtle, changes in concentration. It could be depression, thyroid problems, but needs to be checked out.

Concentration deficits: Capture successes by putting their house number on their door (for Health and Safety, put actual room numbers on the frame of the door). Activities need to be meaningful to the person.

Incidental and intentional learning deficits: Incidental learning is no longer possible. Intentional learning cannot occur. What they know is all that they know now. They become like Teflon, nothing sticks.

Loss of established memories: Forgetting personal history. What they learn last, they forget first.

Disorientation: New place, new room, new toileting place. Don't know where you are, or what time of the day it is.

Language impairment - speech and comprehension: What the person with language impairment suffers from is that they are not able to communicate. People can sing when they cannot speak. Sing directions to them, and they may respond.

Executive dysfunction: inability to make decisions for self. It starts right at the beginning. People make very bad decisions. It is an indicator of problems ahead

Apraxia: loss or impairment of the ability to execute complex coordinated movements without muscular or sensory impairment. Loss of coordination, related to dressing themselves, ido-motor apraxia is unable to make a deliberate movement, like pick up a cup, to drink the tea.

Agnosia: loss or diminution of the ability to recognize familiar objects or stimuli usually as a result of brain damage. Loss of meaning, nothing makes any sense whatsoever. Proso-agnosia, means faces all look the same. Babies have agnosia, until they make sense of the world.

                                                                               - evolving dependency

Dr Graham Stokes part 1

Dr Graham talked about himsef:

He is uncomfortable with people behind him. When he goes out for dinner with his wife, he sits against the wall, and she sits across the table from him.

Move on to if he gets dementia. He is seated in the middle of the room, and he gets up and moves to another seat. Somebody not understanding, leads him back to his seat in the middle of the room, and he gets up and moves again. He is taken back to the seat in the middle of the room, and moves again. By this time the meal is over, he has not eaten, because they have seated him in a place where he has never been comfortable.

It is important to know about people's back story, and the things that make them feel insecure, get the story from family members, or write your own story, the things that make you insecure, and the things that conversely make you secure.