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.”

SExp poster

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.

clarinet

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.

Jessie's Fund

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 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.

From Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience NHS

Compiling an interim report of our Youth Music Funded Projects at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and received the following tweets from Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience at NHS UK;

“Hospitals and illness are anxiety provoking, music can soothe and calm reducing stress and releasing feel good hormones. The value of music in health cannot be understated, not only for patients and families but also for staff in creating great patient experience.”

It’s great to have endorsement of the work at this level. Also fantastic to be receiving positive feedback from patients, families and staff at the hospital on a weekly basis.

We're gathering feedback from our young participants and Salford will be undertaking fieldwork using specialist ways of engaging with young people so their voices are heard in the research outcomes.

We’re gathering feedback from our young participants and Salford will be undertaking fieldwork using specialist ways of engaging with young people so their voices are heard in the research outcomes.

Lunchtime Concert Series at Manchester Royal Eye Hosptal

The lunchtime concert series at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital have begun in earnest and are adding a rather wonderful element to the atmosphere of the hospital atrium.  For the next three months music will be performed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtime.

The aim of the concerts is to uplift, sooth and entertain – not only for patients of the Hospital but for staff and visitors alike.  Anxieties can often be eased by listening to live music, and the hope is that the concerts will help to distract and calm what can sometimes be a stressful and time consuming experience.

From string quartets, to ska, harps to harmonicas, there is something for everyone in the latest schedule.

Feedback from the concerts so far:

100% brilliant! Really, really good! It gives everyone a smile. A lot better than a telly!”

“My hearing’s alright – it’s my eyes that are a bit dodgy, so the music is great!”

” If people are feeling ill, it can give them a little bit of respite. I make a point of coming when I know the music’s on and I’m trying to persuade my co-workers to come too. This (the atrium) is a wonderful space!”

Please look at the ‘Concert Series at CMFT’ page to check what concerts are coming up.

Project Jam Sandwich performing for the lunchtime concert series in the Eye Hospital.   Diverse performances from classical to swing to folk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12 - 1pm in the atrium.

Project Jam Sandwich performing for the lunchtime concert series in the Eye Hospital.
Diverse performances from classical to swing to folk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12 – 1pm in the atrium.

Channel 5: Dec 9th, 9pm: Music for Health at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

instruments pic

Channel 5’s programme, Kids Hospital at Christmas,  films the day to day life of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and features some of the LIME Music for Health team, and students from the Royal Northern College of Music. Gain an insight into the wonderful hospital we are so lucky to be a part of:

http://www.channel5.com/shows/kids-hospital-at-christmas/episodes/episode-1-692

Concerts across Manchester Hospitals

John Lancaster photo

Photo: John Lancaster on sitar at RMCH

The Autumn Concerts Series continues with spotlights on staff talent at the hospitals as well as featuring resident artists and guests from our Music for Health Training Programme at the RNCM. We’ll also be updating on our Youth Music funded work at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital very soon so stay tuned!

REH – Royal Eye Hospital, SMH – St Mary’s Hospital, RMCH – Royal Manchester. Children’s Hospital

13th November 12.30pm – Staff Talent – Andrew Kelly a lab technician from Genetics SM playing beautiful Flute music – REH atrium

13th November 1.30pm Resident musicians Stringboxes (Kora, voice and double bass) perform a unique mix of West African, gypsy, pop and jazz music to both sooth and enliven – SMH atrium

14th November 11am – Featuring Ruth Segaud (Lime Medical Notes Mentor) on violin, the amazing Dotted Crotchets String Trio play a lively and uplifting selection of popular and classical arrangements – RMCH atrium

14th November 12.30pm – Staff Talent – Julian Harris research nurse, CCRF playing acoustic guitar – REH atrium

18th November 12.30pm – Tom Sherman (saxophone/guitar), Ruth Spargo (cello) and Cecily Smith (cello) are all Supervisors on the Medical Notes project at RMCH and will play a selection of different music that they use on the wards with children, their families and staff – REH atrium

19th November 12.30pm – Heart Strings consists of three RNCM friends who have a shared interest in improvisation and creative music making. The trio enjoy playing a wide variety of music, including the favourite classics, gentle jazz, and some well-known show tunes. Much of this repertoire has been self-arranged. The girls played in the atrium spaces of St Mary’s Maternity Hospital and RMCH in 2012, and since then they have been keen participants with LIME Music for Health, and enjoy making music both in the public spaces of the hospital and on the wards – REH atrium

More soon!

Autumn concerts and a special broadcast on Radio 2

Lime Music for Health presents…

Thursday 30 October 12.30pm Royal Eye Hospital atrium and Monday 3 November 12.30pm St Mary’s Hospital atrium: resident musicians Stringboxes (Kora, voice and double bass) perform a unique mix of West African, gypsy, pop and jazz music to both sooth and enliven.

Friday 7 November 12.30pm Royal Eye Hospital atrium: Lime’s three Music for Health specialists, Ros Hawley, clarinet, Mark Fisher, guitar, and Holly Marland, kora and voice. Combining Klezmer, Greek and West African music with original compositions and songs used in their ward work, this trio will uplift and inspire, creating a unique and beautiful tapestry of sound.

You can also listen to an excerpt of Ros and Mark working on ward 83 at RMCH as part of the Music as Medicine documentary broadcast on Radio 2 on Monday October 27th at 10pm, presented by Ricky Ross. Find the link to listen again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2

 

Ros and Mark, with staff, patients and family members promoting the Special Educational Needs Interest Group,  "Sensory Explorers", funded by Jessie's fund. This event  was part of Equality and Diversity week at the Trust. These additional projects are made possible through the long term security afforded through Youth Music funding

Ros and Mark, with staff, patients and family members promoting the Special Educational Needs Interest Group, “Sensory Explorers”, funded by Jessie’s fund. This event was part of Equality and Diversity week at the Trust. These additional projects are made possible through the long term security afforded through Youth Music funding