Introduction and First Movement
Driven from the brief that music profoundly effects all our lives, both consciously and subconsciously, David started on a journey that would eventually become ‘Music for Health’.
More than 22 years ago, when David was a pro musician he became a dedicated watcher of the people around him. He noted that when people were functioning at their optimum level, they would usually listen to what they would describe as their favourite music. Yet when things were not going too well, they would turn to many other types of music and this appeared to help them to re-balance. It seemed to David that if he could identify that optimum place, he could compose and record tailor made music for individuals that would guide them back to what was now called their ‘key note’.
The next thing to discover was to what extent ‘key notes’ varied from person to person. For this, he worked with people from differing backgrounds, culture, belief etc. on a one to one basis. It soon became clear that generally the ‘key note’ varied very little from person to person. There was a central band where most of us (regardless of the label life had given us) fit.
Would family units ‘key notes’ be in an even tighter band? Was the next question in the progression. 18 or more years ago many families kindly volunteered. However, one family were particularly interesting as their ‘key notes’ were almost identical. The family – Peter and Sally Sandon (who were to become our very own Local Directors for Worthing years later) and their three children. The Sandon family were (and still are) a very close and solid unit and as much in harmony as any healthy family could be. (Even though one of the children at the time was in his teens!) David was able to compose a family piece for them. This led to the thought of general groups of people. Do they acclimate when sharing a space together, in the same way a family seemed to? The answer David found was that it was certainly true in varying degrees.
It was at this stage that Helen became activity involved. Having felt her own ‘key note’ she listened to countless recordings, seeing where she was led by them in varying moods and situations. One thing that started to become clear to both of them, was that MANY of the beautiful Classical pieces and favourite contemporary music was already guiding us back to where our optimum key notes live. These composers were instinctively or inspirationally helping us all….
Thought turned to people who, for whatever reason, could no longer utilise this natural balancing ability. Possibly people who were ill or no longer have that degree of freedom of choice. Helen’s 97 year old Great Uncle Joe was such a person living in a Chichester Care Home. Joe was brought for regular visits and one of his favourite things to do was listen to ‘John McCormack’. Joe was asked if he would listen to other differing kinds of music as well. Joe was the perfect person for this job. He was a knowledgeable Yorkshire man who speedily expressed his opinion. Balanced programmes were specially worked out for these sessions. Joe arrived for the visits in differing moods, but soon settled. Hopefully you will see all residents’ faces become alive and animated for yourself. Joe was the first to do this to a structured programme.
It was an invaluable time, both in the foundation of MFH and in special shared family moments.
More experience with other elderly people in similar circumstances were in harmony with Joe’s experience.
David and Helen say that during the few days they had an elderly ex RAF Officer to stay with them ‘Music for Health’ was born. To recount this wonderful story would take many chapters. Just to tell you that a man’s life was turned around primarily by music, but also by care, respect, interest and interactive involvement.
The focus now on helping people like Joe, the ex RAF chap and many others that David and Helen had worked with. Mostly people who were no longer able, for differing reasons, to utilise their own built in balancing system. Roughly two further years were spent bullying friends and colleagues into taking part in trial interactive, holistic workshops, until they felt that they had as complete an experience as possible – primarily balancing the music used, but working bilaterally, vocalising, showing love and respect, always making joy a major ingredient.
Eventually, Music for Health was launched. Residents, staff, owners and managers were staggered at the results. What ‘Music for Health’ had recognised over many years was proved to be so. Most residents in Care Homes aren’t in a position to carry out this natural re-balancing for themselves. This is also compounded by their very limited bilateral movement. Putting both of these things back into residents lives alongside our holistic approach, plus the finer human qualities we freely give, has (as you will see) magical results. We are continually seeing residents blossom into the people that they really are.
HOW PRIVILEGED ARE WE!
For more information on the Founders of MFH, click here.