What practical first steps can I take to get started?
Even if you’re already really enthusiastic about music, we know just how daunting it can be to start a music group, whether in a care home or anywhere else. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for some video advice from care home staff that currently use music in their work.
From our Surveys of Care Homes, we found a range of reasons not to start singing, which are listed below. Find your hurdles here, and see if our responses help you feel better…
1. “It’s too expensive”
It needn’t be – We visited care homes that use singing and music every day, with half the average entertainments budget. Professional musicians have a valuable range of skills and experience, but many care homes find ways to introduce professional music alongside other cheaper approaches, such as working with volunteers, staff members or technology. You may also find that charitable funds could be found to help with the costs, which charities such as those listed here might be able to help you access. Also see our list of ways to make the money stretch.
2. “I don’t know where to find musicians, or don’t know whether they’d be any good.”
Lots of help is available. Read all about the different ways of finding suitable musicians.
3. “Even if I did know the right musician to lead the activity, I can’t imagine how it would work in practice.”
Music and singing sessions can take many different forms, and most musicians and music organisations will be very happy to chat to you about what they recommend. Make sure you involve staff and residents in the discussions too, if possible. There are a range of different approaches you might take.
4. “It would be too disruptive to the routine at my care home.”
It needn’t be. Any quiet corner in your home could house a CD player and discs, for residents to visit as they wish. If you have only one lounge for residents, good musicians will know how to get permission to make a noise, turn off the TV, get everyone singing. Organisations such as Live Music Now train their musicians to introduce music in a sympathetic way, that won’t upset residents, and ensure they feel they have a choice about participating or listening.
5. “I’m not musical, I couldn’t possibly select musicians.”
It’s not all about the music – it’s also about visitors to your care home empathetically interacting with residents. If you’re still nervous, ask around your home – chances are that some of the care workers or residents are musical themselves. They could make up just the team you need to set your home on a musical path.
6. “Will we need to buy an expensive PRS licence?”
No. Normally, a PRS licence is needed for music to be performed in any public space. But the PRS state clearly on their website that they do not usually charge for the use of music in residential care homes. More details here.