Musicians and Volunteers
Becoming a Lost Chord Volunteer
In the latter part of 2003, we appointed our first five volunteers to visit homes and assist the musicians in their efforts to stimulate responses from dementia sufferers and other residents. We are delighted that in just the last year, the number of volunteers has tripled, however, there is always a need for more.
If you feel you could help to make a difference to the lives of dementia sufferers in residential homes throughout the Lost Chord scheme or would like further information on how you could contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You do not need to be musical or have any particular background, although we do ask that you have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
“For the right person this is extremely rewarding work with lots of variety. You will not fail to be moved by the impact that music can have on individuals in the different stages of dementia.”
Volunteer from Whiston Hall Nursing Home
Becoming a Lost Chord Musician
Lost Chord are always delighted to have talented musicians join us.
We welcome highly trained professional musicians who can produce a varied programme of music using a variety of instruments and styles designed to stimulate responses from dementia sufferers in particular, who are unable to walk, talk or communicate in any way. This variety, coupled with the regular monthly frequency and a very tactile approach from the musicians and volunteers, has proved tremendously successful.
Our young musicians, who are often straight out of their schools of music, benefit from the opportunity of performing to a live audience at a time when they are embarking on a career in music, and there are many more benefits.
The area of the brain associated with musical patterns seems to remain responsive well after the ability to speak has diminished. This seems to be why someone who is unable to talk can sing all the words to a familiar song in the right order. Musicians are encouraged to stimulate this area of the brain by involving their audience in their use of percussion instruments, clapping in time to the music, dancing or swaying to the rhythm and singing along with familiar songs. Simple question and answer techniques can also be successful in stimulating responses and encouraging a sense of achievement among the dementia sufferers.
Lost Chord involve musicians who have a desire to work with dementia sufferers and a willingness to be adaptable to the needs of their audience, while still maintaining a degree of professional integrity towards their own level of musical ability. We are investing in the creative talents of young musicians. Due to the high standard of professionalism necessary to handle this kind of audience, the scheme needs to attract musicians from all over the country. Many of them come from the London area, where there is a concentration of work available to sustain their livelihood. We therefore offer the musicians a week’s tour of work in South Yorkshire from Monday to Friday, during which time they are accommodated on a self catering basis in a two bedroomed house rented by the scheme for that purpose.
Auditions for singers and instrumentalists interested in working with Lost Chord and committed to this type of work will take place at The National Opera Studio, London on an annual basis.
Please contact the Lost Chord Office for more information.
Click here for our fact sheet on auditions