Friendly Music for Wellbeing
Friendly singing with the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral
What a brilliant idea this is for people looking after loved ones with dementia at home during lockdown or in care home settings, or indeed any of us who want to relax and switch off from everyday cares for a while and enjoy some music and song!
Adrian Bawtree, organist at Canterbury Cathedral (and formerly also at Rochester Cathedral) set up a group called Friendly Music for Wellbeing, on behalf of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral. They had just started to meet before lockdown at a church hall in the city, but now Adrian is making short films (click here to view them) to encourage people to sing at home, the second of which has just been released. Sessions last just under 20 minutes and are engaging and fun. The music is all recognisable tunes, likely to triggers happy reminiscences.
I heard about them thanks to Julia Burton-Jones, our Anna Chaplaincy Church Lead, who's based in Kent. She said, 'I've just watched them and they are so lovely! I could imagine them being used by carers maybe struggling at home with a relative with dementia under lockdown, and also staff in care homes.'
Julia is passing on the details to all the many Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends in Kent and south London, and to all her contacts who run church-based groups for people with dementia.
Adrian, incidentally, is on the Anna Chaplaincy reference group for Canterbury Diocese. If others wished to set up such singing groups elsewhere in the country (when we're allowed to gather in groups again, of course), Adrian would be willing to provide some training and support.
He used to work for Sing for Your Life, setting up Silver Song Clubs and creating the Silver Song Music Box. Anna Chaplaincy was fortunate enough to have Adrian run a workshop for us on singing with people with dementia when Rochester Diocese first started working on dementia several years ago.