What is Singing for the Brain?

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
5,631
London
Singing for the Brain is a service provided by Alzheimer's Society which uses singing to bring people together in a friendly and stimulating social environment.

Not only is singing an enjoyable activity, but it can also provide a way for people with dementia, along with their carers, to express themselves and socialise with others in a fun and supportive group.

Hidden in the fun are activities which build on the well-known preserved memory for song and music in the brain. Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music is especially easy to recall.

Take a look at what's involved in a typical Singing for the Brain session below:

 
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stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,708
North West
Many thanks for posting this Harriet. I hope it will encourage people to 'give it a go'. We attended a couple of sessions a week for several years and started going again last week after an enforced absence of five months. It was so rewarding and Sue appeared to be enjoying it at least as much as she used to even though her dementia is quite advanced.

I understand some people might be hesitant but, however musical you are or aren't, it's well worth trying.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,103
Scotland
Stanley, Harriet and everyone - this is one of the best outlets for stress and low spirits I have experienced. I always enjoy it and enjoy seeing other people laugh and sing out loud.

I may back off some of the groups we go to now that John goes to day centre but I won't give up on our singing group.
 

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
5,631
London
Thanks both of you for sharing your experiences :)

stanleypj - I'm so glad that you found it rewarding, and that Sue enjoyed it last week.

marionq - it's fantastic to hear that you enjoy it so much, and I hope that you do carry on going to your singing group.
 

Finnster

Registered User
Jul 22, 2013
3
West Midlands
I'm so happy to see such positive comments about Singing for the Brain. I'm a leader of a couple of Singing for the Brain groups and I can really vouch for its effect, not just on people with dementia and their carers, but on volunteers and leaders too. It can be the highlight of the week for some people, and is a great leveller. When someone isn't sure whether it's the husband or wife who has dementia, I think, well, that's great, because it doesn't matter a scrap. We're just having a great time together. Sadness as well as happiness can be expressed in a safe environment, and when we're in a circle singing we're all equal. Our groups have been lucky enough to host members of the BBC Concert Orchestra in the last couple of years, an experience our members will not forget.

I don't post on Talking Point (though I read and learn from it regularly) because I'm not a carer or a person with dementia. But I felt that I do have something to contribute to this thread.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,103
Scotland
We had one lady with late stage dementia who retained her beautiful voice - soft, throaty, jazz or soul singer type. She was handed the words for Sunrise, Sunset by the leader and sang it off the page in a passionate whisper. I was utterly choked. That was the last time I saw her as she is now in a care home. Five minutes after singing she responded to a compliment with "Did I sing? What did I sing?"

Music is such a spiritual art form.
 

PJ

Registered User
Jan 26, 2017
348
Bristol
I often join my local singing for the brain group on a Tuesday afternoon & even though many of the songs I don’t really know as I’m the youngest there with dementia I still enjoy it & everyone makes me welcome :)
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
62,085
69
Dundee
Is there anyway of accessing singing together on line, because of this virus?
Are you already a member of a Singing for the Brain group? I see from this link that existing members can access online sessions -

 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
Some of the best days during my husbands 11 year dementia journey were at singing for the brain. It was great for me to meet other people dealing with the same sad illness and to enjoy singing (which I am not good at) and we had lots of fun and laughter. My husband rarely joined in the singing but always sat there and smiled , and for the time we were there he sat still , which was rare at home, and in his own way he made some friends. I know he enjoyed it and would sometimes say things the the ladies running the club which would make them laugh and he liked to make people laugh. We had little treats at easter and now and then someone would make a cake to share. We had a party at Christmas with nice food and cold drinks and tea or coffee. A singer that asked the ladies to dance when their husband/partner did not want to. I was sad when we could no longer go. David just did not want to go out at all the last 2 years before unfortuneately, I had to let him go into a nursing home. He died nearly 1 year ago and I will never be truly happy again. I try very hard to be, but nothing is the same. At the time of writing this we are 3 weeks into lockdown because of this terrible virus. I am glad my husband is out of this life now. He will not be left in the care home without a visit like so many are at the moment. I send everyone my love and hope you all stay well and safe. xxxx
 

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