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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

This calls for more Vivaldi!

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (violin and voice) and Ben Hazleton (double bass)

“Wow, she’s really enjoying that!”

- BSL carer

Alice and Ben started our visit by serenading D.F. We wondered if she remembered us from our last visit or if we had just caught her on a better day, but she was noticeably transformed by the music. She became quite animated when Alice sang 'Berkeley Square' and joined in with each chorus. She made eye contact, laughed, and when Alice started clicking, D.F also tried to click, mirroring Alice’s movements. It was an amazingly encouraging improvement.

We also visited G, who we hadn’t seen since Christmas. G loves our sessions and always comes to join in, but he has become less mobile recently and sadly keeps to his bed. We all chatted a bit between songs and he enjoyed the social aspect of the visit.

When the musicians played Vivaldi he suddenly perked up and started tapping along to the beat. It was interesting to see him being such an active listener as he usually sits back and relaxes more passively. This calls for more Vivaldi for G!

Mercy, a 2nd floor carer had gathered a few residents in the lounge to enjoy the music together. This gave a concert-like atmosphere and meant we were able to bring music to more people. There are lots of music lovers on the 2nd floor and we sometimes don't manage to reach them all in our allotted time. Although some residents, like M, were happy and at ease, we realised that others benefit more from 1 to 1 visits. G.H was not completely relaxed. She seems to really need eye-contact to feel connected to the musicians and the music. M and Kate took a Maraca each and did a kind of call and response game. She was very receptive to it, engaged and understood we were doing.

The percussion pro N.J made us all dance again on the 1st floor. He was quite stressed and upset when we arrived but was completely distracted when we suggested he help us sort out the Percussion Plus instruments:

“I’d love to help you! What can I do?”

- Resident N.J, BSL

While Alice and Ben played, N.J got to work testing all the instruments out and was soon joining in with the musicians and smiling. A couple of other residents came to dance, and some of the carers picked up the Tom Tom drums and joined in the beat.

Finally on the Ground floor we went into E.J. Alice asked her how she was and she brightly answered:

“All the better for seeing you!”

- Resident E.J, BSL

The musicians did some E.J’s favourite Elizabethan songs which she sang along to. They then improvised with Alice’s lovely South American double Andean pipe . E.J was fascinated by it. She is interested and curious about music and enjoys conversation as much as listening.

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