On 5th May Music and Wellbeing was launched at the University of Sheffield
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The event took place in beautiful Firth Hall and was hosted by the Department of Music as part of the University of Sheffield Arts and Humanities Festival. The Music and Wellbeing launch introduced an audience of around 200 people to the unit’s exciting projects, which will study the ways in which music can contribute to both extraordinary and everyday wellbeing challenges.
The event featured a piano recital from Jessica Crich, one of the unit’s talented PhD students, who performed Schubert’s Sonata in A minor and Scott Joplin’s ‘Solace’ to great applause.
First, we heard from David Robinson (Lead Music Therapist – Nordoff Robbins), who spoke about the work of music therapy and its applications across a range of populations and circumstances. We were shown a video of David working with a young boy with complex and profound developmental difficulties, and saw the fascinating nature of their musical communication.
Second, was a presentation from Helena Muller (Founder and Chief Executive – Lost Chord), who spoke movingly about stories of music and dementia care from her own experience. Her unique and powerful anecdotes of witnessing music effects in individuals living with dementia touched many people in the audience.
Finally, we were treated to a talk by Professor Lord Robert Winston (Scientist & Chairman of the Royal College of Music) on music and mind. Professor Winston’s approach brought a refreshing balance to the evening, with both the caution of a scientific view alongside a personal touch of optimism for the future of Music and Wellbeing studies.
The challenge of Music and Wellbeing will be to find ways to bring the power of anecdotal evidence into scientific light, to uncover the drivers of music effects thereby allowing future informed applications to be optimised and evidence-based.
The University of Sheffield plans to collate videos of the Music and Wellbeing launch for its iTunesU channel. We will update you when this becomes available.