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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen


Updated: Mar 27

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar / vocals)

Song number four is ready for take-off. The lyrics were finally pieced together today and ready for recording next week. Our process has been refined as our teamwork and understanding develops, Joe needs me to shape his ideas into some kind of structure and I equally need him for his unique and direct expression. Neither could do it alone....

"When I'm walking along and I'm groovin' on downtown, and I see your face and you're wearing a big frown. When you see the kids and they're wearing their big smiles, we can learn from them as they learn from us now.

Aren't you feeling the love or are you feeling the pain? Is there something I could tell you, Is there something that you don't wanna say?

Take a walk with me and I'll sing you a song, cos I've been writing tunes, I've been writing so long.

When emotions are so hard to express, I can use my songs to eliminate big stress

Aren't you feeling the love or are you feeling the pain?, Is there something I could tell you, is there something that you don't wanna say?

Big Stress.....Express

Big Stress…..Express"

I met a new resident today, that's always nice. Her ears pricked as I began to play and her eyes, previously fixated on her slightly old looking cup of tea released their grip and turned in my direction. Her name is Anne, that's all I know, well, I definitely also know that she likes music and she's not adverse to a nice chinwag…

A: 'I used to be Beetle once...'

NK: Oh really? which kind?

A: 'a Liverpool one'

Resident SR, who was sitting nearby seemed to be enjoying our interaction and requested a few Beatles tunes (of course!). Our conversation developed into a discussion about the use of music in helping us to properly explore our emotions. We agreed that, on occasion, we really felt the need to listen to sad music, to surrender ourselves to it, not to hide away from those difficult feelings or to cover them up with Disco songs. Sometimes I feel like the use of radios in care homes ends up having the effect of almost tranquillising or subduing the residents, maybe it's time for a melancholic tune from time to time, or even a bit of silence.

S 'I would like to hear a sad song'

A 'Yes please'

The Beatles’ 'All You Need Is Love' seemed to connect strongly with Ms JB and as we approached the chorus, I requested that she joined me to sing those five words and slowed down my tempo to accommodate the exertion needed for her to mouth those sounds. I was aware that this kind of request may in fact be counterproductive, almost serving to highlight her difficulties with speech rather than offering a temporary escape from them. However, I had noticed in previous sessions that if JB was deeply engaged in the music, she seemed to be able to unexpectedly somehow find the right words. Most of us take for granted the dexterity required to say the most basic of sentences. Our words are made up of nasal, fricative, plosive and semi vowel sounds, each needing a complex combination of mouth shapes and tongue movements. These sounds are challenging for JB to make, which is why I was very impressed to see and hear her slowly sing the sentence 'all you need is love'!

P was on good form, his cousin had just been to visit and the affection between them was clear to see. Stories of wild nights in Soho were recounted and P would suddenly burst into a fit of laughter remembering the good times which were had. Even towards the end of our session, just the mention of his name brought about a laughter explosion. Our music making began with that energy, disco and silly songs, this then developed into calmer music, reflecting his understandable tiredness. When I played a new favourite of his and mine 'Blue Ridge Mountain Blues' he grinned and mouthed all of the lyrics.

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