Why does music help in care?
Because it is connective.
Music can link diverse groups
- Makes cultural connections
- Creates community
- Links generations
Music can bind together people of a shared generation, culture, language, or community. When trying to foster a sense of intercultural understanding, music can be a valuable tool to express, non-verbally, another person’s background. In a care setting, offering the music of someone’s cultural background can be enormously comforting, particularly when they already experience cultural isolation. Sharing the music from a person’s culture can be an opportunity for caregivers and receivers to learn about one another. Offering a song from one’s culture can be a means of expressing one’s deepest feelings without having to rely on verbal communication.
Music can also help create a sense of community. Through participating in music making together, be it through a structured program like a bell choir, dance group, rock band, or a singing ensemble, diverse people can experience a sense of working together towards a common goal. Through participating in spontaneous musicking together - be it through mouthing words to a recording, participating in a singing program like Pathways, dancing to a polka tune, or gathering around a group of live musicians in a clinical space - new bonds can be formed between people and a sense of community created.
Music links people across generations. Two strangers may have little in common until Perry Como’s face pops up on a record cover, and they suddenly have a shared interest. Listening to and singing music from specific eras and generations, particularly in a group, can foster new bonds between people of that generation and help build a sense of shared identity. It can be the catalyst for reminiscence, shared memories, and new relationships.