Follow Ros and Mark’s specialised project on Ward 83 at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, working with early years children with long term ventilation needs and those functioning at an early years level due to acquired brain injury. This is a two year project funded by Youth Music with the support of Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust. It is now in its second year and there will be a final celebratory event at which commissioned films by Hafsah Naib and a written evaluation by Salford University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work will be launched as well as music specially written during the course of the project. Look out for details on the Blog soon!
You can hear some of the compositional ideas so far by visiting the Soundcloud page here;
Songbirds is a uniquely special project allowing us to work closely with staff on a beautiful ward for children with acquired brain injury and on long term ventilation – through the support of the play specialist we are currently working with 5 special children and providing them with the opportunity to access and experience live music and musical interaction at the bedside and in small groups. We have composed a Songbirds them for the ward; this is the starting point of our visit to each child, and then we watch and listen to see how the children respond – it might be a gentle turn of the head, or tracking the sound of the guitar, or reaching out a finger or a hand in our direction. It may also be clapping hands, making mouth sounds or shapes, making eye contact or just showing the physical signs of relaxation and de-stressing .
We are learning so much every visit – we are getting to know the children, and they are getting to know us. We are learning how they communicate and how they interpret the world around them. Our work with these children is very in the moment and we have to watch and look for the tiniest signs in order to understand them and make a connection.
We are very fortunate to have a time frame of two years to work on this ward – the project will be culminating in a showing/seminar to share our findings and we really hope that some of you are able to come and find out what we have learnt. We are very grateful to all the staff and parents who have let us begin to make our home in this very special place . Watch this space!
We’ve just finished our first block of session for Songbirds – we’re starting to feel at home on the ward and are learning more about it’s day to day life each time we visit. We’ve already been able to document a short case study using video and written observations and have been able to present this to staff at the Healing Environments Group.
Some of the children are becoming very confident with us as they have got to know us over the weeks – their communication and expression is very clear and the musical interactions have been extremely positive and fun too! There are other children whose needs are much more complex and we realise that the gentle process of becoming aware of each other and speaking each other’s language will take time.
There are still times when we are assessing when and how best to find a space for music within the busy-ness of a hospital situation and our link to the play specialist is vital, as is our work with Dawn who has been documenting the sessions; looking back at video is a really important tool for us and we’re hoping to have more time to utilise it in the New Year. Dates have now been set for meetings with both consultants and various ward staff as part of the next project phase and we’re really excited to be entering this stage of our programme.
We’ll be working with the organisation Early Arts next year and with film artist Hafsah Naib to create resources for early arts practitioners and healthcare staff, families and patients.
This page will be updated on our return to work in mid September so please stay tuned.