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.