How can I find suitable musicians to lead this activity?
Choosing music activities gets easier the more you do. Here are some tips that might help you get started:
1. Ask other care homes who they use, and maybe who to avoid. Ask why they have their favourites. Perhaps you could even join forces with them.
2. There are several UK-wide organisations who can help you find musicians:
- Live Music Now – who have musicians and staff all around the UK, specifically trained to work in care homes, and sometimes have funding available for their musicians to visit.
- Sound Sense – whose network of community musicians also stretches around the UK.
- The Natural Voice Practitioners Network – a network of singing practitioners, around the UK.
- Making Music – the umbrella organisation for amateur music can help you find voluntary musicians and groups nearby.
- The British Association of Music Therapists – the professional body for music therapy in the UK
- Nordoff Robbins – also a network of trained music therapists
- Sing for Your Life – who lead silver song clubs and provide technology-based solutions as well.
- ABCD (the Association of British Choral Directors) – who have experienced choral leaders throughout the UK.
- Equal Arts – who are based in Gateshead, but work throughout the UK.
There may also be local organisations nearby that can help. For example, in Gloucestershire, the charity Mindsong co-ordinates music therapists and volunteers for care homes; and in North West London, Bolder Voices run regular community music projects for older people.
3. It’s likely that there are already some very capable musicians and singers in your care home already, amongst the staff or residents. They may need some encouragement and support (perhaps from one of the organisations listed above), but could be an excellent place to start. They would already have an understanding of the needs of residents, and the culture of your care home. Finding such people could be the key to creating a really successful music programme for your care home, whether you’re bringing in musicians from outside or not. You can direct them to our Musicians Toolkit.
4. If you’ve found someone to lead a music activity in your care home, don’t just hand over responsibility to them. Use the tools on this website to assess whether they are delivering what you and your residents need. On this website we have listed some of the benefits you might expect to see, and the wide evidence base that shows the potential that music has to make positive impacts on people.