Four Irish trainees were selected following a public call for applications in early 2009. They were Aingeala de Búrca (violin), Finn MacGinty (voice & guitar), Liam Merriman (voice & guitar) and Joe Philpott (voice & guitar).
The programme aimed to provide professional musicians from each of the participating countries with the opportunity to acquire appropriate skills and experiences necessary for effective work in a range of healthcare contexts. The intercultural dimension of the training programme brought an additional challenge to the work but also framed the training within an international context and developed an international network for the trainees involved that has survived beyond the lifetime of the programme.
Each of the training weeks consisted of a series of preparatory workshops and ‘on-ward’ experiences. The preparatory workshops addressed artistic issues such as repertoire, improvisation, working solo/ensemble. The workshops also addressed issues such as environmental/spatial awareness, ethics, the importance of the relationship with healthcare staff, discussion and responses to articles and publications designed to encourage trainees to explore the area of music and health.
In Dublin, Music Network partnered with St James’s Hospital where the musicians trained in the Haematology /Oncology Day Care Clinic, the Department of Medicine for the Elderly and the Department of Psychiatry (Jonathan Swift Ward). The partnership involved healthcare professionals in the preparation, delivery and evaluation of the training sessions.
The training week in Manchester took place at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, while in Krakow the ‘on-ward’ experiences took place at the Bonefratres Hospital that specialises in cardiology. In Paris, the trainees observed the Musique et Santé practitioners at work in the pedo-oncology and neonatal departments of the Robert Dubré Hospital.
The project was evaluated through feedback, observation and discussion.
- Each of the ‘on-ward’ sessions was followed by a ‘de-briefing’ session where trainees were encouraged to discuss and analyse their experiences and receive feedback from the trainers.
- At the end of each training session, the trainees took part in an open discussion to share their experiences of the training week and their aspirations for the upcoming training week with fellow trainees, trainers and project managers.
- Trainees were required to keep a ‘reflective diary’ to record for personal use, their experiences, responses and aspriations for their work. This material contributed to their project reports submitted at the conclusion of the project. Each of the participating musicians was supplied with guidelines to assist with the preparation of their report.
- The project managers met with the trainers and discussed their experiences and impressions of the progress of the training programme and responded accordingly.
- In Poland and Ireland, healthcare staff and patients were supplied with formal questionnaires which were distributed and collected after the ‘on-ward’ training sessions. In the UK, a formal evaluation form was not considered suitable. In this instance, feedback was gathered through conversation with nursing staff and play specialists as well as comments and remarks from the children and their families/carers.
All of the information and documentation gathered during the debriefing sessions contributed to interim and final reports required by the European Union.
The trainees involved have continued to develop their work in music and health, exploring new areas of work and working in a broader range of healthcare contexts. The partnership with St James’s Hospital provided an introduction to music in healthcare settings for some units and developed the possibilities of the practice in others. Finally, the programme was effective in providing professional development for musicians working in healthcare contexts.
- Music Network, Ireland
- Musique et Santé, France
- Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UK
- The Academy of Music, Krakow, Poland