Hi, I’m Beth and I have been running East Surrey Musical Moments for just over a year now. Before buying my franchise in 2019, I had worked in a variety of roles and with a range of different client groups as a qualified drama therapist, teacher and performer. Music has always been an integral part of each role, helping to communicate, educate and connect with others, including children, non-verbal adults and people experiencing challenges with their emotional and mental well-being.
So what led me to Musical Moments? My own mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia seven years ago, aged only 68. I have seen her face many challenges as her dementia has progressed. Music and singing have been a life line throughout this journey, lifting both her mood and tapping into her long-term memories. Mum simply comes to life when she sings. You can see her anxiety and confusion take a back seat for a while and she is able to really engage and be involved, interacting and connecting with her family through music. I wanted to share this incredibly powerful phenomenon, and the joy of music making with others. Musical Moments sessions help residents, their families and their carers have a lot of fun together and it gives them a channel to express themselves. It has been a truly remarkable experience and a real privilege to visit so many care homes, some monthly and others weekly, helping them connect through music.
So here I am one year later, having built a solid network of care homes in Surrey, but sadly unable to see them or my own lovely Mum because of lockdown. It’s a difficult and sad time, and a period of such worry and frustration. Luckily, with the help of modern technology, I am able to catch up with Mum through Facetime sessions, but she is usually confused and desperate to physically hold me and have a hug! And I am blessed that so many of my regular care homes post photos and videos of their brilliant residents on social media so I can see what my ‘extended family’ have been getting up to as well! But I guess it’s just doesn’t feel the same as real physical contact and connection through moving and singing together, does it? I miss Maurice’s encyclopaedic knowledge of musical intros and bopping away with Jean; singing with Ron’s rich baritone voice to accompany our favourite 50s classics; shaking percussions with those with limited mobility and boogying the day away with Surrey’s most amazing carers. And I really really really... miss my mum.
But we need to #StayatHome and #StaySafe. It’s what we have to do so we can win this battle. So I send love to all those super residents and say words that cannot express anywhere near enough thanks to the dedicated heroes who are looking after them. And in the meantime, I shall brush up on my ukulele, devise some new groovy moves and #JustKeepSinging ! Looking forward to seeing you all again really soon. Beth xx