London Freemasons aid hospitals live music charity
W Bro John Little SLGR reports
A grant of £5,000 has been donated by London Freemasonry to Music in Hospitals & Care, a charity that improves the health and wellbeing of children and adults through the healing power of live music.
Every year, the charity’s professional musicians share live music with people from across the UK who may not otherwise get to experience it. This includes those living with dementia, mental health problems, or who are seriously ill.
Founded in 1948 as The Council for Music in Hospitals, the charity has come a long way. Today, it shares personalised, interactive live music experiences with thousands of people in hospitals, care homes, hospices and community settings across the UK.
The charity’s specially-created live music experiences unlock all kinds of emotions, from joy to loss, pleasure to nostalgia; improving people’s mental, physical and emotional health and also helping people to feel more connected to each other.
Each session is tailored to the needs and tastes of those taking part, which means no two sessions feel exactly alike. The charity’s professional musicians are chosen not only for their musical talent, but for their ability to empathise and create meaningful connections with people through music.
Research shows that live music has a tremendous impact on health, well-being, and overall quality of life. For people living with dementia, for example, live music has been proven to improve memory and cognition, and to help them build and sustain relationships. The daughter of one patient living with dementia commented, “It was the first time in a long time I got a glimpse of the mum I knew before dementia.”
For people with mental health issues, music provides an emotional and creative outlet, and helps to restore a sense of identity. Here’s an example from The Redwoods Centre for Mental Health in Shrewsbury: “One patient was very unwell, uncommunicative, and not taking care of her personal hygiene. She had written a song and took the lyrics to Bob (a Music in Hospitals & Care musician). He improvised and accompanied her, despite not knowing the tune. It worked out perfectly. She got to perform her song, her way, for a big crowd. Later that day, with the help of her Activities Coordinator, she washed her hair and put on a face mask. Her dream of performing had come true.”
Music brings benefits to patients in all circumstances. Life on a hospital ward can be frightening, chaotic and lonely. Live music experiences provide a positive distraction and a moment of calm. They also enable families and loved ones to come together in a positive activity; and have been proven to reduce the perception of pain and the need for sedation. A spokesperson for the Conquest Hospital Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit in East Sussex reported, “Knowing this benefitted our critical care patients, as well seeing them engage and smile, lifted my spirits. The power of music is second to no other. Thank you so much. I hope we see a lot more experiences like this.”
Commenting on the London Freemasonry donation, Jennifer Lear a spokesperson for the charity said, “We recently received an incredibly generous grant of £5,000 from The London Freemasons’ Charity. This grant will fund 15 hours of bespoke live music for vulnerable people across London.
“It has already enabled us to share soothing melodies on the postnatal ward at University College London Hospital, as part of our award-winning Lullaby Hour initiative. We had not previously worked with this hospital, so your grant has been absolutely crucial in developing this relationship and reaching people who have yet to experience the healing power of live music. After a session made possible by your grant, one parent shared: ‘Beautiful. Oh, it was amazing for me and baby. That was the best part since I have been in hospital. I hope you will always be doing this for other patients as well. Thank you!’
“We are so grateful for the support of The London Freemasons’ Charity, and so excited to continue this programme of live music across London. Our vision is for everyone to be able to access and experience the joy of live music. You are helping to make that possible.
“Thank you for the music.”