old people music 180An entrepreneurial group comprising musical artist Beatie Wolfe, former HSBC (Midland) marketing director Kevin Gavaghan and 20/20 Research have teamed up to perform at a series of Priory-run care homes across the UK.

The Dementia and Power of Music project aims to assess people with dementia’s reactions to music both during a live performance and in the weeks following.

The research took place over a three-month period and is intended to provide a mechanism for objectively assessing the impact of music. The research team visited care homes from Preston to Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent to Sidcup.

Singer-songwriter Wolfe performed a 30-minute set of her original material that was not connected to the patients' childhood or memory. Each patient was monitored during the performance.

After performing, she said: "While performing 'The Power of Music' tour for people living with dementia I have been lucky enough to witness some of the most powerful and positive responses to music I have ever experienced. Watching people becoming reanimated and bought to life before my eyes has been incredibly moving, and it has been truly fulfilling to be able to serve in this way: to uplift through my music."

In the weeks following the performance music was played to the same patients via MP3 players and their reactions were observed. This study followed some 40 patients over three months.

20/20 Research, with the support of the Priory Group and its carers, recorded the responses that the patients had to the music as anecdotes, footage and data. This showed how music can have a transformative effect, improve the quality of the patients’ life in the short-term and provide a "way in" for those who are otherwise disconnected from themselves and their surroundings.