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Letting go of stress

Musicians: Pete Lee (piano) and Alice Zawadzki (violin & voice)

Today we welcomed pianist Pete Lee to Bridgeside Lodge. Pete is one of the best jazz and pop pianists in the country, regularly playing with Gabrielle Aplin and Tom Walker and is a long-term collaborator of singer Alice Zawadzki so we were excited to see what their first session would bring.

They visited EJ and played Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square and Irving Berlin’s Cheek To Cheek. EJ likes to curl up in bed to listen and often sings along. She’s quite fragile physically but completely switched on mentallly. She was very impressed with Pete’s keyboard. He’s making plans for a trolley so he can transport it around more easily next time!

There was a gospel style party in the second floor dining room. Alice and Pete played This Little Light Of Mine and Happy Day. Carers and residents alike were clapping and singing along. A nice jolly moment.

When Alice and Pete arrived at resident G’s room, he was very fidgety and panicky, trying to get out of bed. He became calmer as they played one of Alice’s original songs. We discussed our observations of the levels of distress displayed by residents, and how this changes as the music session proceeds. The following is a transcription of part of our conversation:

AZ - In a care setting, a lot of the time residents are probably used to lots of stuff being rushed. People [carers] have got to just do the work, right? And that’s what people residents are missing, those long, drawn-out... not having to worry about when the person’s going to leave.

NK [guitarist Nat Keen] - I think G is a good example of that, he is quite often distressed when you first go in there “why don’t they take me out of this bloody place, I don’t need to be here” and as soon as you engage he just relaxes.

PL - I think that was one of clearest examples of how the music therapy is working, when you go in and somebody’s really distressed and you play a tune and eventually they just ease off and let go of their stresses. It’s quite transformative actually.

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