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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

Residents with rhythm!

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (vocals and violin) and Nathaniel Keen (guitar)

We were joined by a new musician today: Nathaniel Keen. He and Alice Zawadzki (who is a Spitz regular) made a great team, bringing a happy atmosphere with them into every room. As usual we worked from floor to floor, making bedroom visits to a couple of residents we hadn’t seen in a while. On the 3rd floor we visited D.F, who we hadn’t seen since the summer. Although she didn’t make any eye contact, she seemed to really like the music; closing her eyes, smiling and sitting back - all encouraging body language. In the dining room L was uncharacteristically relaxed (she is usually walking the corridors.) She showed real understanding and kept repeating “Yes” throughout.

“That’s beautiful.”

- Resident L, BSL

J.C brought out his guitar for a jamming session too, occasionally joining in the singing and happily asking the musicians for song recommendations.

On the 2nd floor many of the residents were asleep. This was a nice opportunity to talk to their carers. Some song requests were made and a couple of carers danced along. Alice was particularly excited to show Frede, BSL’s Administrator, a song she had learnt in Danish (his mother tongue.) It was beautiful, but we all burst out laughing when he explained that it was about carrots. Providing support and entertainment for the staff is very important to us. During these stressful times, they are in desperate need of some respite. We also visited G.H, who was mesmerized by the music. The musicians sat on the floor and played to her while she sang along which was beautifully intimate.

The Spitz received a generous donation of hand-held percussion instruments from Frederick Hyde Music Distribution, the distributor for the Percussion Plus brand. We brought them out for the 1st floor residents and the results were wonderful.

N.J and D had immediately picked up Maracas, Tom Tom drums and a Woodblock and joined in with the musicians. N.J’s incredible sense of rhythm was infectious, His carer Muna, who I hadn’t met before, was very interested in our work. She played some of the percussion instruments with D and N.J and took us to the rooms of other residents she knew would enjoy the music.

“You’ve come at just the right time. N.J has been very distressed all afternoon and we didn’t know what we were going to do with him.”

- Muna, BSL carer

C, used to be a musician, and although he is no longer verbal, when the musicians were playing he kept trying to sing along. Muna told me she could see from his mouth that he was trying to smile. She also took us into S’s room, who was more vocal than I’ve ever seen her.

“Fantastic! I love music. Please, please come back.”

- Resident S, BSL

We didn’t have much time to spend on the Ground floor but did pop into E.J. They played Greensleeves for her and she immediately started singing along. Afterwards, Nathaniel told me he was particularly moved by E.J’s gentle kindness and her genuine interest in the music.

“A wonderful musical surprise!”

- Resident E.J, BSL

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