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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Don't over-think it

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar)

Friday 2.30pm = song-writing with JR. I found him with pen and paper in hand ready to begin, perfect! We moved in to position in his room and began cracking on with finishing his next hit 'Why Does Love Hurt So Much'. We chatted over rhyming schemes and the challenge posed by over-thinking lyrics, but with a good chunk of focussed re-hashing, we completed it! JR's carer Bilal was on hand to give us some encouraging feedback and I asked if he wouldn't mind filming a 'teaser' video to keep the fans engaged....

Afternoon jazz with the ladies. JG and JC are next-door neighbours of a similar age and share a love of music and conversation. Whenever I can, I try to help connect the two in one of their rooms and attempt to create an informal and relaxed environment of chatting and singing. Bilal had joined me, earlier on he'd indicated that he'd love to sing 'Ain't No Sunshine' by Bill Withers, now seemed like the perfect time to try, the audience were definitely willing to listen.

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone

It's not warm when she's away

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone

And she's always gone too long

Anytime she's goes away"

Not exactly the cheeriest of numbers and although we both agreed that it could be improved, our audience seemed to dig it. We whiled away the time singing old sentimental jazz songs which at times were clearly moving for both. We shared fragments of memories, distant recollections of singing with parents and visiting old dusty music halls in the 50's. We talked about the subjective experience of memory and how music possesses the ability be fast-tracked into the long-term area of the brain, this was unintentionally demonstrated when JG recalled the melody to 'Ah Robin', a song that I'd taught her well over a year ago but seems to be resolutely stored as permanently as some far-off childhood memory.

I finished my day spending some time with CN. Her sister (who is often at Bridgeside) was away today and last week she'd kindly asked if I could visit as her sister enjoys music so much. After sitting next to a distracted CN for a while and playing one of her favourite melodies, she seemed ready to leave, however when she did eventually stand up, she began to gently rock back and forth in time with the music. "Look, she's dancing!” said her carer enthusiastically. CN seemed to enjoy having the freedom to walk around and explore the music, hearing the sounds from different positions in the room, moving closer, then further away. I felt a sense of connection as she continuously hummed in the key that I was playing in. I imagined a future in which audience members were invited to walk around concert hall performances to experience the full dynamic spectrum of music, weaving in and out of the musicians, laying on the floor next to a double bass. That would be fun...

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