This year we are piloting our model of skill sharing in the UK. Members of our Advisory Panel of Music Therapists will be introducing staff to ways that they can use music to benefit our three identified target groups: Young children under 5 years, Adults with Learning Disabilities and People living with Dementia. They will be doing so in care settings that are known to them in various locations across the UK.
It’s week four of the music therapy skill-sharing project at The Fields, a Cambian home for adults with learning disabilities in Sheffield. The staff team and I have been working together to run a weekly music group on Wednesday mornings. The aims of the group are to promote good relationships, create an enjoyable environment and have fun, to provide a new experience and to develop general social skills such as listening, turn-taking, waiting and leading. Much like the charity’s overseas projects, over six weeks I am sharing music therapy related skills through the weekly music group followed by time alone with the staff group. I led the group in the first week and since then, the staff have been taking over the running of the group.
The staff have shown great willingness to learn new skills and try new experiences; and they have already noticed benefits to the service users from participating in the group. As one staff member noticed this week, ‘[a particular group member] was interacting – that’s a rarity – the fact that he had the confidence to sing was amazing’. I am looking forward to the next two weeks of the project and will let you know how it goes!