“If music were the food of love, play on…” pleads Count Orsino in Act 1 of Twelfth Night. The panellists, led by Dame Esther Rantzen, demonstrated that music is far more than love. It is the most profound and fundamental link among humans and the world around us.
Janet Fischer, CEO of Live Music Now, focused on the training that prepares emerging musicians to play for and with disabled children and their teachers. Janet noted the substantial impact of such sessions on the teachers’ resilience and wellbeing. No one watching the video will ever forget the achievement in the eyes of a child with severely limited motor skills, proudly playing a percussion instrument.
Adam Ockelford, Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton and founder of The Amber Trust, which supports blind and partially sighted children in their pursuit of music, explained how important music can be across the spectrum of neurodiversity, both as a medium of self-expression and communication, and to promote wider development, learning and well-being.
The fact that music is part of our limbic system makes it extremely effective among people with dementia. Daisy Swift, Learning Director of Wigmore Hall, uses the power of music to support people who have experienced homelessness, poverty, mental health problems and domestic abuse, as well as young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions and people living with dementia.
Given the astounding statistics shared about impact, healing percentages and reduction in expensive treatments it is surprising that there is not more funding for such services. Anybody seeing Ashleigh playing Rachmaninov, despite severe deafness and autism, or looking at the joyful faces of older people with dementia singing, would not doubt for a minute that music must be a standard in schools and NHS facilities.
Clearly, concerted campaigning is needed, with commensurate improved research and coordinated actions. With the quote “…we get more medicine from you than we get from all the bottles and pills” ringing in our ears, many of us committed emotionally to take action accordingly.
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Members - Click here to view a recording of the event.