Artistically Excellent: We put high quality music at the heart of what we do. We do this by supporting professional musicians develop appropriate skills for unique settings
Creative: We make music happen anywhere regardless of obstacles or challenges. We enjoy our work.
Person-Centred: People are at the core of what we do, we respect and listen. We strive to provide the access accommodations to experience a performance equitably.
Collaborative: We love working in partnerships where all voices are equal in an open and honest sharing.
Professional: We operate at high standards in our design, delivery and governance.
MAYBE ARTISTIC POLICY WILL BE A SEPARATE DOC OR PAGE ?
Imagine an Ireland where everyone’s life is enriched by high quality live music. You might say that before COVID lockdowns we’d already achieved that in terms of the breadth of what was available. But consider the barriers that existed for many communities to access live music.
There’s the economic ones, of course. But there are also the accessibility ones. Many people have additional accommodation needs to be able to get to and into the places where live music is performed, and they aren’t always available or in place. Other communities may not feel included, represented or welcome in the types of programmes created by venues, and so stay away. Yet other potential audiences are unable to safely leave the places they reside to access or participate in live music, this may be because they are in healthcare settings, and any activity they wish to partake in, must be brought to them. People are inherently creative, and that innate creativity can activate or support wellbeing, given an outlet and an opportunity.
For twelve years we have developed and delivered a range of programmes that support professional musicians across music genres to deliver high quality live performances connecting with audiences in hospitals, schools, care and nursing homes. Crucially, and uniquely, those performances are carefully planned and collaboratively designed with care-givers and participants (or their families) to be artistically excellent, creative and person-centred. They are developed to be fun, identity-relevant and memory-making. These music programmes have been delivered in over 25 hospitals, nursing homes and hospices, to every age range of recipient.
That planning and collaborative approach allows us to identify specific choices of music that will have the most impact on the audience, designed to spark happiness, and perhaps, help them find their voice, improving health and vitality.
There is growing recognition of the support and benefits that music can bring to a healthcare setting, but we should acknowledge that does not mean it is appropriate for any musician, or every healthcare space.
Any volunteer-led or professional arts programme, whether in an outdoor or atrium space, day-room or hospital room setting, should have the same high-level of consideration to the engagement of artists, as for any other individual providing a service in that setting. This should include interview, vetting, training and supervision to ensure an individual’s personal qualities are suitable to the setting.
It takes time and a spirit of openness and dialogue to build the trust with the healthcare team on the ground, to ensure that quality is present in the delivery partnership with the healthcare team, the space to play, the repertoire selected, the artists support and training; and perhaps most especially, planning for the connection to the patient-audience, through observation and engagement throughout.
This work begins with extensive training and mentoring of professional musicians, to ensure the safest possible outcomes and protocols in hospitals, ensuring healthcare workers can continue to do their work, and the confined and high-risk environments aren’t compromised by the musicians’ presence.
Even in covid-times, with the support of technology and the partnership of healthcare staff and activity coordinators, physically distanced, but socially connected interactions have positive impacts on social connections. Every performance, whether in person, or live and interactive via a screen, provides opportunities for patients, their families and staff to attend and engage.
There are both physical and cultural considerations in placing live music in a space.
The space where music is delivered and the understanding of the musician of their function, need and opportunity within that space is important to the success of a project. Musicians who regularly perform on a stage where their space is set, have to develop a new understanding around flexibility within a very busy clinical space, an awareness of health and safety issues including infection control issues around participant engagement and their choice of repertoire.
It is vital that appropriate consideration is given to the music that is programmed within any space, to take into account the needs of the space in relation to volume levels and the sensitivity around words in songs in often a highly charged emotional space with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Music in healthcare can simply be ‘just music’ whether as background music in a recording or as an atrium/sitting room concert shaped by those playing it, it can be more personalised where the musician facilitating the musical engagement considers the setting to help shape the music that is delivered ‘for’ someone, or it can be a musical conversation shared and shaped by both the musician and the participant.
We research, evaluate, train, develop thought leadership, and programme, for the latter two.