Alive Inside

henryWe named this session after an amazing documentary, Alive Inside. You can freely stream from the internet – just key in “Alive Inside streaming” and it will send you to a free site. It’s totally legal. In our “Alive Inside” session we take the ideas from this documentary and add a bit – engaging with people using live music. Alive Inside shows people being drawn out of the slumber of dementia using recorded music of their “time “. The results are very moving, watch it and you will see…

Waking Henry from the documentary film Alive  Inside

We have started going into rest homes that care for people who have dementia. Here’s how it works: Our two musicians play and sing songs from the era of the residents. At the moment our musos are Graham and Alice – between them they play guitar, ukulele and violin. As the music is in progress, the “Engager”  walks among the residents, finding ways to engage the ones who are not responding straight away.

We are not allowed to take photos to show you the magical effect the music can have, so here is a description of one case:

We had just entered a high dependency part of this rest home, and the nurse warned me that we could encounter “challenging behaviour”. As we got underway, Graham and Alice were kicking up a storm, singing “You Are My Sunshine”, accompanied by a very vocal lady. As I circulated around joking and singing with various patients displaying varying states of lucidity, I came across a man whose head was slumped forward with that waxy expressionless regard.  The lights were off and his curtains drawn in his world. I took his hand and sang to him. Quickly the wax melted from his expression and he opened his eyes and started singing.  The lights were switched on and the curtains were opened.

It must be said that the nurses, caregivers and everyone else who works with people with dementia are very special people.  When we are making music they get in on the act – they dance with those who can, sing with those who can’t.

We’d love to be able to visit more rest homes that care for people with dementia. In order to do that, we need more musicians on board.  If you’d like to be part of this amazing project, please contact Dave – see the CONTACT tab of this website.