Continuing the Conversation

Continuing the Conversation is a new project exploring music in dementia care in response to the Utley Foundation’s 2018 Commission on Dementia and Music report, which urges arts organisations to work towards raising public awareness of the value of music for people with dementia.

Funding from PRS Foundation has allowed La Folia, a registered charity and music production company, to commission a new piece by Richard Barnard in response to source material gathered during a series of music therapy sessions at Springfields Residential Home in Bridestowe, Devon. The sessions, led by HCPC-registered music therapist Megan Brand, supported residents, relatives and carers to engage in musical dialogues, and encouraged confidence in relatives and carers to use music therapy techniques in day-to-day care, even if they don’t consider themselves to be ‘musical’.

One participant reflected: ‘I think this project may have benefited me as much as it has Mum. Memories have been encouraged and revived and to a certain extent relived. But most importantly it has been an opportunity to engage with Mum and do an activity with her that has brought topics of conversation (and snippets of scandal) that might never have been explored otherwise.’

For Richard Barnard, the commission will explore how music therapy and wellbeing outcomes can inform new compositional ideas, and engage older people in the creative process. The piece will be premiered in Summer 2020 in Bridestowe, performed by La Folia musicians and professionally recorded, in order to be shared with a wider audience.

La Folia’s Continuing the Conversation project is supported by PRS for Music Foundation.