A unique music and art project is hitting all the right notes by helping Fifer’s who are living with dementia.
Lochgelly recording studio, in Lochgelly Centre, is the home of a six-week initiative allowing dementia sufferers to create music and art as a way of helping to cope with the day-to day-rigours of disease.
It is the creation of music buff John Phillips and artist partner Emma Ainsley, who together have created the programme which draws on the experiences of their 20-year careers in front line care across the UK.
Having first collaborated in 2013, when the couple teamed up with Dundee Council and dementia sufferers to create a video soundscape artwork, John and Emma – with funding from Creative and Unlimited Scotland – have drawn on that success to develop a Fife initiative built around the concept of “home”.
“We are lucky at Lochgelly to have an open studio which those with dementia and their supporters can use to drop in and get involved,” John said.
“It’s both low-tec and hi-tec in its approach so people can just come in and chat about home and what home means to them, or they can get involved in using sophisticated audio and visual tools to create the studio artwork.
“People can bring in photos or objects relating to home if they wish and stay as long as they want.
“Most importantly, there is no pressure to get involved, it is completely led by those who attend.
“As the artist, Emma is there create the visual aspect while from a music perspective we have a jamming approach which is all about people living in the moment.
“And with using a pentatonic scale, any music we create automatically sounds good, regardless of how many are playing.”
The couple say the feedback has already been hugely positive.
“When we’ve taken this type of project into care homes the feedback from care staff has been amazing.
“We’ve seen engagement levels among those with dementia increasing significantly, often in excess of two hours, which is incredible.
“One carer told of a resident who suddenly burst into song for the first time in three years of living there, a reaction simply triggered by being involved.”
John and Emma also plan to exhibit the visual artworks created during the project at Lochgelly Centre at a later date.
The free drop-in sessions run every Friday between 1 and 4.30pm at Lochgelly Centre, until March 10. All are welcome to attend.