While the Music Lasts: on music & dementia

Organisation: 
Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands; University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna; University of Goettingen in Germany

This book on the challenging topic ‘Music and Dementia’, describes recent research into the innovatory practice of ‘Music for Life’, a project managed by Wigmore Hall in London. Through engaging in music as a participatory process, its goal is to make the person behind the dementia visible again. The book explores the interaction between music and dementia through the stories of people who have been working closely together: three musicians, eight women living with dementia, five caregivers, a staff development practitioner, a project coordinator and three scientific observers.

The result is a book in which all of them have participated in their own way. It consists of field observations, reflective journals, conversations, interviews and careful scientific analyses. There is, in the words of Clifford Geertz, a ‘thick description’ of a new friendship between music and dementia, a story about a fascinating practice. The project presented in this study opened up learning processes for the musicians involved, nurturing their professional lives and development. It changed their understanding of the place of music in people’s lives; it touched their personality and stimulated deep reflections about their identity.

The book is highly beneficial for any musician who wants to reach out into society, to engage with new, and perhaps vulnerable audiences. However, musicians are not the only target group. The discoveries of the study are also helpful and inspiring for caregivers of people with dementia and for families of a loved one living with dementia.

Author(s): 
Rineke Smilde, Kate Page and Peter Alheit
Year: 
2014
ISBN / ISSN: 
9789059728462
Cost: 
Euro 34.50
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England