Participants on the pilot included nine early career musicians from different musical backgrounds who were due to graduate from college or were recent graduates.
Practicum onsite participants included healthcare management and clinical staff, activity coordinators, patients, and residents.
The project aims to:
- Connect young music graduates to the expanding field of Music & Healthcare in Ireland and overseas.
- Embed a unique approach which is consciously grounded in cultural interactions rather than clinical goals.
- Introduce trainees to the concept and impact of high-quality person-centered live music aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of patients, families, and staff.
- Involve and explore with participants the art of shared creative expression.
- Impart the competencies and professionalism required for this challenging role.
- Enhance career opportunities and develop additional income strands.
The framework for this training project involves:
- A series of five classroom-based training days
- Online workshops with guest Arts & Health experts, including music therapists, visual artists, a composer-in-residence, songwriters, dementia experts, dance artists, a creative writer, Arts & Health managers and healthcare art curators
- Six days of practical placements involving performance opportunities, workshops, discussions, repertoire curation, observation and participation in established programmes.
The approach to the training is based on the exploration and transmission of a skill set appropriate to the successful delivery of quality live music interactions in healthcare settings.
A key element of our approach is to bring participants onsite to experience the appropriate placement of live music in real time within a dynamic healthcare environment. The healthcare partners support the project by opening their doors to young graduates.
Reflective Practice forms a key approach to the learning for all musicians. Individual reflective journals and group debriefing conversations alongside regular project review days are held throughout the course.
The young graduates share music individually and collectively in hospitals and nursing homes, playing for and with patients, residents, family and staff in over 12 healthcare settings around Ireland. The pilot ran between May and October 2022.
The project is continually evaluated through:
- Reflective journals from young musicians.
- Individual reviews and collective debriefing sessions with the trainers.
- Completion of an individual final presentation of each young musician’s learning journey which takes place at the National Concert Hall.
The value to the course participants is evident from the selection of quotes below.
Our aim is to continue to offer this specialist training and new skillset to new graduates through strategic partnerships nationally.
We ask participants to individually evaluate the impact of the course on them. Here is a selection of their responses:
How did the course enhance your artistic or professional development?
‘The course really did enhance both my artistic and professional development. Artistic in the way that I became knowledgeable about a wider repertoire and how to improvise with music and be creative. It helped my professional development by adding new people skills and communication skills.’
‘I feel more confident in performing going forward, as this course taught me the importance of intention and mindset when approaching performance in a healthcare setting, that it is about placing music and having a connection.’
Outline how your work (or way of working) has changed, or potentially might change, since taking part in this course?
‘I have learnt how important interaction and connection are and have been able to use this way of thinking in my teaching. I am trying to connect more with each pupil rather than simply get the planned tasks done for the lesson.’
‘The biggest impact the course has had, and will have, on my practice going forward is in my mindset. …. Playing in healthcare settings has altered my performance skills to include improvising both as a soloist and collaboratively in a group’.
How might you take the learning forward into your own work?
‘The course has made me want to take a more creative approach to my own work’.
‘I feel I’m able to make better readings of people’s body language and have a better understanding of how to connect with people.’
Documentation and Dissemination
A project review is undertaken by the organisation through engagement with all participants and the lead trainers. Participants’ final presentations are documented photographically and through a graphic illustrator recording the presentations live on site.
National Concert Hall
Tallaght University Hospital
Cork University Hospital
Waterford Healing Arts