A new partnership with national music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins is supporting people to live life to the full, right to the end, at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
The new music therapy service is now available, offering people opportunities for creativity and expression at a time when these can be difficult to achieve. Joining the hospice team is music therapist, Fraser Simpson, who offers individual and group music sessions. No previous skills are needed for people to access music therapy.
“Music connects us with what it means to be human. Sometimes music can say so much more than words. Music therapy offers opportunities for relaxation, creativity and non-verbal expression (when words are difficult), as well as musical companionship, support and intimacy: a different way of ‘being together’.
“Improvising on a range of musical instruments, song-writing, listening to music for relaxing or remembering, singing or learning to play a tune – any or all of these can be encompassed within a music therapy session. In music we can be playful, interactive and adventurous even in times of illness, pain and fear. This can ease difficulties faced, or give a new experience of self”.
The music therapy service extends to the entire Isle of Wight community, thanks to a new community choir also being led by Fraser. Anyone is invited to come and join the choir, and you don’t need any knowledge of music to become a member. He said:
“There are many benefits to singing; it’s an aerobic activity that is a great form of exercise and drives more oxygen to the brain! Singing also releases feel good endorphins, it is relaxing, positive, uplifting, social and creative. It brings people together, and above all is fun!”
The first meeting is being held between 18:30 and 20:00 on Wednesday 18th January in the John Cheverton Centre. However, you can also join at any time on any other Wednesday evening after the launch.
Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive, said:
“I am delighted that we are now able to offer music therapy thanks to our partnership with Nordoff Robbins.
“Music connects people in a very powerful way and access to this kind of therapy can help people to express things in ways that they may not have been able to before. This is particularly important when people are coming to the end of their life; music can offer expression at a time when this can be difficult to achieve, and it is one way the hospice helps people to live life to the full – right to the end.”
Whilst many of the people Fraser is working with have never played a musical instrument before, others bring varied musical skills – all levels can be encompassed in music therapy. Jamie Jennings, 65, has enjoyed a lifetime career as a musician, singing and playing the electric accordion. Jamie, who has cancer, recently spent time on the Inpatient Unit (or ward) at the hospice. When he discovered there was a music therapist on the ward he asked his son to bring in his musical equipment, which had been sitting unused for several years. Working with Fraser, Jamie has been able to enjoy once again the magic of making music with another person, giving him renewed impetus to share his music with others.
Jamie was able to return home after treatment but wants to stay involved with the hospice and share his passion for music with others.
“I met my wife through music, she became my partner as a singer. I was playing on my own, and she asked if I would play a song, so she sang and I did the backing and we developed a duo, which was very good.
“I just fell in love with music; it was part of my soul. It’s my life, it’s my memories, it’s the people I bumped into along the way. It’s everything that’s gone around me. Music is the quick link to the soul,” he said, “and everybody can do it!”