Zest Fest 2017 – supporting BBC Music Day

Music for Health is pleased to announce that our annual Zest Fest at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital has been selected by the BBC as a feature of BBC Music Day this Friday 3 June. There is an action packed event programme between 10am and 4pm and all the atrium events are open to the public so come along and join in the celebrations with music, laughter, face-painting, balloons and magic. At 12pm there will be a samba parade around the hospital grounds culminating in the atrium with a fantastic sing-a-long samba Happy Birthday to mark the hospital’s 7th birthday. Music for Health has been delivering residencies and training programmes at the hospital since it opened 7 years ago and before that worked at Booth Hall Children’s Hospital. Our work continues to go from strength to strength and the BBC are highlighting the importance of our work bringing high quality music onto the wards for patients, their families and for staff members. We’re very grateful to Youth Music for funding this event and to our event partners Music in Hospitals for providing many of their musicians.

 

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PEP:medical students explore communication with musicians on children’s wards

pep jan 16“From this point I can be considered an advocate for the arts in healthcare. The PEP has allowed me to appreciate the value of creative expression not only for those who are ill, but for everybody.  I will continue to learn and develop my own creativity to better my personal and professional development”

Ten more third  year medical students studied approaches to  holistic healthcare with Music for Health and Lime Arts in January 2016. For many this was their first experience of visiting a paediatric hospital, and in seeing first hand the impact of hospitalisation on children and their families. All the students had an interest in either music, or the arts in general – or both – and used their own interests to explore the benefits of music and the arts to young patients who find their lives disrupted by medical treatment.

“I’ve learnt to appreciate the emotional side of a patient’s recovery, and the concept of using music to address this need. And the fact that this is a new form of communication skill.” 

The students learnt about how  techniques used by musicians on the wards can inform their own communication with patients, and the experience stimulated discussions about their own aspirations for healthcare environments of the future. We were 100% inspired by the dedication, commitment and desire evident in these young professionals right at the start of their careers to make the healthcare environment a better place for patients, and the compassion and conviction shown through their vocation to help people often at the most vulnerable times in their lives.

” I’ve learnt so much about how to engage with children and I will definitely carry these new lessons with me. The way that music changes the ward environment in such a positive way was amazing”

Exploring the clinical environement from a musical perspective provides new insights as to how we train young medical professionals in developing communication skills, and in addressing perceptions of performance and presentation in practice. Often a desire to ‘do things the right way’ can overtake the need to remember to listen.

” The PEP is a great experience that taught me lessons that can be applied in my future career. I learnt how to approach children effectively. I learnt that we should not forget that patients are human too and they need us to treat them like one. We often have our own agenda coming in and forget to really communicate with them.”

In working together we find the best advocates for each other’s practice. It is a privelige to work with such dedicated future medical professionals and to gain an insight as to why they have chosen medicine as a career. In the same way, these clinicians of the future are now able to understand through first hand experience, why arts in healthcare is so important.

” Thank you so much! I have a whole new appreciation for the importance of  art and music as a part of health, I will take away so much from the experience. I want to spread the word about what you do. I especially hope that other hospitals will take it up.”

If you want to find out more, an article on our work in training medical students in music and communication at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital can be found on  P. 6 of Pacemaker Magazine:

 http://pacemakermagazine.com/2015/11/30/pacemaker-year-2-issue-02/

Job Opportunity with Music for Health

LIME Music for Health is recruiting an experienced, part-time freelance project manager for their Youth Music funded programme at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – please share the following link with any relevant groups/contacts and thanks in advance. Deadline for applications is 15 February 2016.

http://network.youthmusic.org.uk/jobs/lime-music-health-part-time-project-manager-manchester

I am the Moon goes to Texas

 

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Ros Hawley and Mark Fisher will be visting Texas next week as part of their work at LIME Music for Health. A paper on Ros’s case study “I am the Moon”, published by Music Mark in 2013, has been accepted as part of an international panel on music and wellbeing at the Society of Ethnomusicology’s 60th Conference at the Austin Hilton, 3-6th December, Texas.

“I am the Moon” is a case study of Ros’s work as a musician  in hospital  told through examples of music making  with patient Jamie Knott (1998-2012). Both their stories are linked by the music making they experienced together. Jamie took part in music making sessions for 3 years with Ros alongside fellow musician Mark Fisher and placement students from the RNCM, with the support of Jamie’s Play Specialist, Pauline Shaw. The case study and presentation are written with the blessing of  Jamie’s mum Tracey.

The abstract for Ros’s conference paper appears in full below:

‘Am I dying Mum?’ is not the question any parent wants to be expected to answer in their lifetime. Through my work as a musician in hospital, working alongside music colleagues and a play specialist, I encountered a family who went through this very experience. I will use this case study as a basis for my paper, examining the processes of observation, performance, engagement and reflection necessary for creating responsive musical dialogue in hospital. The hospital environment presents numerous auditory and sensory challenges that can impact significantly on a patient’s sense of private space. Musical interaction offers a multi-layered experience in which responsive musicality, sensory sensitivity and interaction create a channel for meaningful engagement with patients, family, musical team-mates, medical staff and the environment itself. The therapeutic benefit of music as an aid to relieve anxiety, pain, distress or boredom is common and the effects of increased oxygen saturation or reduced high heart rate are frequent results for patients participating in live musical interaction. Notions of performance and performer are challenged when working at the bedside, demanding that ‘musician- as- music partner’ takes priority over musician-as- presenter. A process of rethinking and reconnection occurs as a musician’s context-aware role is developed. When cultivating space for musical interaction in hospital, the musician has to be receptive, spontaneous and fluid in approach: observing first, listening to what is musically needed, then playing and engaging appropriately in response. A platform for equal communicative exchange through musical dialogue can then be created.

Lime Music for Health (and Ros) would like to say a huge thankyou to mum Tracey and gran Mary for their support in putting this presentation together, and in giving permission for us to share Jamie’s life with others as a way to help tell the world about the value of the work of musicians in hospital settings.

 

A Songbird’s Tale: “One…two…three…hop!” A story for families inspired by Musicians’ Residency

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” Nothing stays the same forever. That is the magic of things” (Vathys Libelulla, the dragonfly)

A Songbird’s Tale tells the story of young bird Brambling Rose, who, after being seriously hurt in a collision with a glass windowpane finds his way home to an independent life, helped by a series of kindly creatures encountered on his journey of recovery.

” I can’t see very well. Where am I ?” (Brambling Rose, the songbird)

Written and composed by LIME Music for Health Specialist Mark Fisher, A Songbird’s Tale is inspired by his experiences working on a two year music residency with fellow musician Ros Hawley and the children, families and staff they met on wards 83, 78 and HDU. The project is funded by Youth Music.

Brambling’s story is an imaginative tale, travelling through a series of mini worlds of nature where he meets the animals who help him to find his way back to his nest. At times Brambling finds himself on his own and he has to use his own will and resilience to travel on further. Brambling’s experiences in the story not only help him to get better, they give him the courage to be independent and free.

” You must take the path home. Once there you will be as strong as you ever were”  (Madame Caladria, the snowy egret)

Colourful Birds, a dragonfly, a hornet, a terrapin, honeybees and an angel fish are all characters he meets along the way; each has a role in helping Brambling to help himself and find his way back to his nest, in the tree in the garden from where he first flew.

” I’m Perry Starey man, carrier pigeon to the stars…I’ve got a message for you!” (Perry Starey, the pigeon)

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Brambling’s journey mirrors the pathway to recovery that many of the children from these wards have experienced, and is a reminder to all of us of the journeys we make and the stages we go through in finding our way in life.

” I know you can, you just have to have faith in yourself” (Vathys Libelulla, the dragonfly)

Mark explains how he created Brambling’s story:

“The idea just came to mind while working on the project. I was reminded of the plight of birds when they hit a solid object, like a window – an obstacle that is invisible to them. Comments made by consultant Dr. Grace Vassalo, in an interview given for our project, made me think about the children and their family’s journey when their world is turned upside down by illness, and they find themselves in hospital. An analogy was created in my mind between the impact on the bird of hitting the pane of glass and the sudden occurrence of illness that can happen to children that we have met. Some birds do get up and recover after a time and this made me think of the story.”

All of the characters are based on living creatures; some of the characters take their names from their real names in nature, other character’s names are inspired by mythological creatures.

LIST OF CHARACTERS (in order of appearance):

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Vathys Libelulla – A Dragonfly
Brambling Rose – An Injured Bird
Dr. Bird – A Hummingbird
Hornette Coleman – A Hornet
Dr. Smew – A Duck
Nurse Amelia – An Angelfish *
Terry Pinn – A Terrapin
Morris – A Mynah Bird
Billy McCaw – A Macaw
Soup – A Superb Bird of Paradise
Maggie – A Magnificent Bird of Paradise
Madame Caladria – A Snowy Egret *
Mister B – A Bee

* voiced by Sue Wolmersley, all other characters voiced by Mark Fisher.

As part of our final celebrations of the Songbirds project, all the children and families who have worked with Mark and Ros will receive a recording of A Songbird’s Tale and Songbirds music as part of two special end of project events to be held on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The Songbirds CD, as well as featuring Brambling’s story, will feature full versions of music used in the story. The music will be familiar to the children as it has been both inspired by and specially composed for them as part of the project, and used by the musicians on the wards during their weekly sessions.

Click on the link below to listen to A Songbird’s Tale: 

The children and families will also receive specially designed Songbird postcards along with percussion instruments similar to those used with Mark and Ros on the wards to take home and use with their families, all of which will be presented in a special bag. A Songbirds logo will be created by LIME artist Kim Thompson, inspired by magical birds created by the children and staff in sessions with Play Specialist John Smith.

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Fellow musician Ros says:

“The project has been an incredible experience. We have learnt so much from all the children, families and staff who have welcomed us into their world at the hospital. It has been a privilege to be able to offer music as an element of rehabilitation for these children, and to see how music and musicians can play a part in a child’s progression towards going home.

Although our Songbird’s project will be finishing this autumn, we will be seeking further funding and sponsorship to turn A Songbird’s Tale into a children’s book, audio book and play for children in hospital, with the aim of performing and touring it at children’s hospitals around the UK.

Anyone interested in supporting us in developing our idea can leave a message here for Mark and Ros so we can contact you, or we can be contacted directly through our website http://www.rosfishmusic.com.”

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Manchester Medical Students PEP in Narrative Medicine in Music, Writing and Art, Summer 2015: “THANKS for an amazing experience.”

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Our second PEP programme with students from The University of Manchester Medical School took place between June and July this year, with a second group of ten students putting into practice their creative skills alongside the LIME Music for Health team.
The PEP continues to expand its creative horizons, with students this time not only exploring music, but also choreography, spoken word and visual art as part of sessions led by PEP tutors under the guidance of Dr. Julia Humphreys. LIME’s role within the module is to give the students a practical experience of the clinical setting from the perspective of using music as an interactive and communicative vehicle for expressive exchange between musicians, patients, families and staff. This is contextualised by additional ‘overview’ sessions that introduce the wider role of the LIME team, and accompanied by a practical exploration of creative techniques used by visual artists who work with patients.

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Many of the medical students who take the PEP do so because they have an interest in the arts in some way. But also important here is the fact that students choose this module as it offers a contrast to other elements of their clinical learning, whilst still being crucially centred at the heart of the patient experience. In working with the LIME musicians students are able to gain valuable experience in paediatrics – and in understanding the hospital through the eyes of a child patient and their family. Developing the skills to communicate with children who are hospitalised takes time, and the PEP provides the opportunity to observe, communicate and engage with child patients through use of performance and interactive techniques learnt from observing musicians with specialist training in the field.

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As one of the students observed: I was also exposed to the numerous considerations that a musician has to make when playing on the wards, from body language and position, to being constantly aware of the patient’s reaction and desire for music, to knowing one’s place when on the wards. Despite having the best intentions, musicians must always respect the patient’s wishes and foster their sense of control, especially when they have no say in their illness progression.”

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This year student Alison Haigh used her experience to directly inform her clinical learning. Her PEP project focused on the how music can relieve anxiety in hospitalised child patients. She composed a song directly informed by observing and then participating in musical activities on the children’s wards with the musicians. She describes her learning process:
“I realised that children in hospital meet a lot of new people each day from the multi-disciplinary team that cares for them. I wrote “Say Hello” to try and alleviate some of the anxiety around meeting new people in hospital for children, through the medium of music. The lyrics describe meeting and greeting people and encourage the children to wave along and say hello. I presented the lyrics with some cartoons about meeting common members of staff, so children who cannot read could look at the pictures to help them understand what the song is about. When we first played the song on the ward the children waved along and relaxed with the music just as I had envisaged. It was immensely gratifying to see the smiles on their faces and their parents too. The children also added their own percussion to the song as it was played, encouraging interaction with the song and its message.”

Say hello alison song picture

The PEP provides a unique opportunity to explore the roles and relationships brought together through the hospital experience and our own perceptions of health and ill-health. It reminds us all that positivity can be created within the smallest of responses and in the shortest of interactions. It reminds us too that the process of healing is multi-faceted.

The reflection of one of our students sums this up: There has always been such a divide between the arts and science, as if these were two opposing fields that could never integrate. This placement has been incredibly eye-opening in that it changed my perspective and I saw that there was not only an essential link between the two worlds but that they each had unique benefits to offer to the other.”

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Sound and Sensory Explorers Project at RMCH – supported by Jessie’s Fund: “Thankyou all so much for putting a smile on my baby’s face.”

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Sound and Sensory Explorers at RMCH
Starting in Jan 2014, Sound and Sensory Explorers provided the opportunity for a new monthly music session for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at RMCH led by a multi disciplinary team of musicians and therapeutic play staff.
The project has been supported by the music charity Jessie’s Fund http://www.jessiesfund.org.uk who support music activities for children with SEND and life limiting medical conditions, whose access to creative and live music sessions can be compromised.
Play Specialists Pauline Shaw and Kathy Cotton from the Department of Therapeutic and Specialised Play worked alongside LIME Music for Health Specialists Ros Hawley and Mark Fisher to develop a regular music session supporting the creative learning, developmental and sensory needs of children with complex special needs who are hospitalised at RMCH.

Sound exploration, sensory play, children’s songs, musical composition and storytelling formed the basis of the session, and a special song, Sensory Explorers, was written by the musicians for the project.  Sessions were initially designed to bring together children and families from different ward settings who shared similar needs whilst in hospital. The clinical environment can lack sensory stimulation for children with additional needs and the project aimed to address this by bringing together a range of specialist skills linked by a belief in the need for children to be able to creatively experience the world around them, even when it seems far away. Musician Ros Hawley describes the idea behind the collaboration:

“Specialists in Therapeutic Play have a clear knowledge and understanding of the sensory needs of such children when they come into hospital and through previous experience of working together, we could all see the potential for using our skills collaboratively for the children’s benefit. Music can play a great part in enabling the opportunity to develop confidence and spark interest in the process of learning-through-experiencing, and it was with this in mind that the idea for the project was born.” 

Pauline and Kathy helped with gaining feedback from parents after the sessions. Here are a few quotes collected from our forms:

[My child]  “learns songs and actions and it helps with his speech… also helps his recovery “

“My daughter has been in hospital for three and a half months now, she loves music, and the fact that you come in to play/entertain always makes her week.”

[My child]  “loves music and instruments and singing, was good to join in, has been connected to machine for long time.”

“My son enjoyed the music very much, this is a great therapy for the kids.”

Whilst it quickly became apparent that families benefitted from being with other families as part of the session, the team  also became aware that there were some children with additional needs who were not able to access a group session, due to issues such as infection control protocol and gaining support to access the session – some children’s families live a long way from the hospital and might not be available to accompany their child to the session, for example, or  a child may be too poorly to move away from their bed for any length of time.

Towards the end of the project some of the remaining time was saved and used to visit individual children and families as recommended by staff. This enabled the musicians to be flexible in their approach and able to access families that may not have been able to be part of the group session.

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Our funding is now finished and we would all like to thanks Jessie’s Fund for enabling us to have this focused time to think about the sensory needs of these children in hospital, which can sometimes get lost within the wider focus of healthcare. We are hoping to run sessions again at a later stage and continue to raise awareness of the needs of these children when they find themselves in hospital.

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MREH Lunchtime Concert: Beaver Road Primary School Choir

MREH Lunchtime Concert: Beaver Road Primary School Choir

MREH Lunchtime Concert: Beaver Road Primary School Choir

The patients and staff at the MREH enjoyed another wonderful lunchtime concert in the atrium on Friday 13th March.  The Year 6 choir from Beaver Road Primary School in Didsbury sang their hearts out for people waiting for hospital appointments, both young and old, as well patients and staff passing through – many of whom stopped in their tracks to listen.  The performance brought smiles to many faces and really lifted the atmosphere in the atrium.  One gentleman exclaimed “Absolutely brilliant!  I’m almost lucky there’s something wrong with my eye!  And they’ve just sung my favourite song of all time!” (‘Who will Buy’ from Oliver).  A lady came up with her son at the end of the concert: “Can I just say a huge thank you?  That was so wonderful.  We’ve been here all morning bored stiff and that was a lovely experience to end on.  Thank you!”

Manchester Medical Students Making Music: “Music is a universal way to express yourself and can only, in my opinion, enhance healthcare.”

“It has made me more aware of how a rounded approach to medical care can affect a patient’s experience.”

Richard PEP 2015

10 medical students from The University of Manchester Medical School have just completed a 4 week placement with the team at LIME Music for Health. Their course, the Personal Excellence Pathway (PEP) in Narrative Writing, Music and Art, aims to open up the opportunity for creative responses to the clinical setting: to observe, reflect and respond to the hospital environment and medical training through spoken word, music, song, art and creative technology. As part of the PEP the students have spent time working alongside Ros and Mark and the team on the wards at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and participating in music sessions with children and families on the wards. It has been great to see the students finding their place within the music team – here’s what they told us abut their experence:

” [The hospital] doesn’t have to be a purely clinical space; using music can transform the atmosphere and shift the power balance towards patients who are contributing to and directing the music.”

“I felt more ‘life’ in the hospital with music..we learnt to observe children’s needs, listening to them
before talking to them.”

” I have seen how valuable music can be in soothing, relaxing and lifting the spirits of patients, their families and staff members.”

Students have produced a range of creative documents in response to their placements – these have included a creative music app to enable patients to make music when the musicians are not with them, a leaflet informed by parent and patient experience telling families about the work of LIME Music for Health and a lullaby for children in hospital.

Seeing the clinical setting from a new perspective has given students the opportunity to reflect on their own ambitions for the future, as summed up candidly here by one of the students:

It has emphasised the importance of holistic therapy, the role that hospitals should play in treating the person and not the illness. It’s difficult in hospital to find time to do this all the time, but an awareness will only make me a better doctor.”

A three year old boy was thrilled with the harp! He played the  little one Margaret had brought with her and also was allowed to play the bigger one which he was ecstatic about!

A Week of Musical Wonders… The Manchester Eye Hospital lunchtime concerts continue to delight…

Margaret Knight, harpist, has been sharing her music in hospitals for the last twenty five years for the benefit of patients, their families and hospital staff.  We managed to book her for a lunchtime concert in the Eye Hospital during one of her bi-annual tours of the North of England for Music in Hospitals.   In addition to her orchestral harp, she is always accompanied by her little harp that people are invited to ‘have a go on.’  She brought a gentle but uplifting atmosphere to the atrium and had virtually the whole room listening to her – people put down their phones and newspapers and seemed almost hypnotised.

The Monday performance featured The Robin Sunflower Duo and they certainly brought sunshine to the atrium, with their bluesy, jazzy vibes.  A gentleman being treated for leukaemia was waiting for his prescription with his wife:  “The music is a good idea.   I come in to the hospital twice a week and am really enjoying it (the music).  It breaks up the day.  Better than sitting, brooding on your problems.  We always sit here and have our butties whilst we’re waiting.  This is good!”

A woman waiting in clinic with a young child: “It makes you feel like you’re not in a hospital!”

Cupid’s Bow Cello Duo were the guest performers  on Wednesday.  It was quite a busy day, with much to-ing and fro-ing in the atrium.   A gentleman sitting very close to the music was smiling broadly throughout the performance.  “This is the first time I’ve seen a cello played live.  It’s absolutely brilliant!  Red hot!”   I noticed a gentleman who was standing listening with a young child in his arms.   He was waiting for his wife to finish her appointment.   “The music is a really, really good idea.  Rather than having a boring wait or just music in the background, this is fantastic having it live – the interaction is great.  My daughter – I couldn’t keep her happy with the long wait.  As soon as the music started, I couldn’t keep her away.  She’s entranced.”

A woman was passing with two young children.  The children stopped, started smiling and sat down next to the duo to listen.  When their mum called them away, the girl whispered a shy “Thank you” as she left.

Stringboxes, a kora and double bass twosome,  have been the perfect finale to the week.   Their African/Jazz/Gypsy fusion always goes down well in the atrium and they are becoming firm favourites.  We are noticing that people are coming back specifically for the concerts  – and today was no exception.  There was clapping, dancing and much jollity to be had!   Stringboxes will be back in two weeks time to share more of their unique musical blend.

We continue our eclectic mix of performers next week with pianist John Ellis, swing trio The Charleston Charlies and sitar player, John Lancaster.