This month, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) pilots Music and Memory, a program designed to benefit people with dementia through live music. Delivered in partnership with Goodwin Aged Care Services and ActewAGL, the pilot will attempt to measure positive behavioural changes linked to concert experiences over the program’s eight-week duration for a study group at Goodwin House in Ainslie.
The unique program was developed in collaboration with Heather Roche, a third-year Bachelor of Psychology student at the University of Canberra, with oversight from Kristen Sutcliffe, CSO bassoonist and practising audiologist. “This remarkable program is designed to touch the hearts and minds of people living with dementia, through specifically chosen music,” says Sutcliffe, who also curates and presents the CSO’s leading Rediscovering Music program for people who have experienced hearing loss.
Other research efforts in this space are largely focused either on individualised listening (through devices) or general music therapy concerts. Music and Memory will seek a balance between these two approaches by delivering a social concert experience informed by the collective musical preferences of participants.
Originally scheduled for March 2020 but delayed due to COVID-19, the pilot will be delivered in strict adherence to ACT Government social distancing restrictions.
CSO Community Programs are supported by the ACT Government.