Forthcoming article in Voices

I am very pleased to have had a paper accepted by Voices: World forum for Music Therapy . The paper is entitled “Expanding a care network for people with dementia and their carers through musicking: Participant observation with ‘Singing for the Brain'” and is based on data from my PhD research on the use of music in dementia care. The article will be published in the 2011 July issue.


Music use in dementia care often takes place within a music therapy context, where music therapy sessions aim to reduce agitated behaviour, regulate emotions, access memories or enhance inter-personal communication. Such sessions usually take place within care homes and their effects have been evaluated in a number of studies. However, there is little research on music use that takes place outside of care homes (e.g. in community centres) for people with dementia who are cared for at home by their family.
This paper discusses such music use, focusing what the weekly local music making activities affords the participants in relation to every day dementia care. Working as a music sociologist, I use empirical data I collected as a part of a study of a community based music activity called “Singing for the Brain” (SFTB) run by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK. The data was collected through extensive participant observation research and interviews with organisers, carers and care receivers. Three preliminary findings are discussed: 1) how SFTB can be understood as a ecological practice; 2) its various “spin-off’ effects in the everyday care of the members with dementia; 3) how SFTB, together with other local music groups, constitute a “music and care world” in the town and how this develops into fluid support networks for local people with dementia and their carers.

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