Demystifying dementia - reflections on BBC's Our Dementia Choir by Professor Grenville Hancox, MBE
It's a great help to a cause when a celebrity chips in and validates, supports, authenticates the work that countless other practitioners are engaged with on a weekly basis. It's great that the programme direction draws attention to the power of music, especially singing , identifies cutting edge research which confirms that we are 'hard wired ' to sing and promulgates the possibility of singing in a group as an intervention, a respite, a liberation from the trauma of dementia and other neurological disorder.
However I felt uncomfortable with the title and with some of the content. Choirs can be problematic! They can be tainted by selection, and feel or appear. exclusive. This surely can't apply to a choir for people with Dementia....? well yes. The second episode included auditions for solos for The Performance and subsequent rejection for some. Very uncomfortable and a long way from the myriad of organisations who on a weekly basis offer singing in a group as an intervention, a respite, a liberation from the conditions that blight their members lives.
A great need was identified by the programme, its leading personality and its direction highlighted the emotional engagement between us all. It confirmed that singing groups meeting without performance in mind but with hope in sight need to be prescribed...singing on prescription. Not concerned with televisual impact, just for life changing experiences. Some choirs choose to audition and select....singing groups for People with dementia have No need.
Organisations that offer such opportunities for people with conditions such as Dementia, Parkinson's, COPD can be found in The Sing to Beat network at www.singtobeat.co.uk......working for Singing on Prescription