Founded in 1993 by Linda Rose, ‘Music for Life’ is a world-renowned creative programme for people living with dementia and their families, friends, and carers. It has been run by Wigmore Hall since 2009 as part of Wigmore Hall Learning and works with a variety of organisations including the Academy to provide meaningful opportunities for people at all stages of dementia.

A series of ‘Music for Life’ projects run across the year which provide a space for participants that encourages social interaction and friendship. Many of these projects were showcased during the celebration day in the Auditorium and the Learning Room. The sessions featured current Open Academy Fellows and elective students alongside alumni who led the sessions. It was a pleasure to see so many former students still connected and actively involved with the programme. In the afternoon, Head of Open Academy Julian West participated in a panel discussion about the role that ‘Music for Life’ has played over the years.

A particular highlight of the day was a performance by the Singing with Friends choir, led by Issy Adams. Singing with Friends is a choir for people living with dementia and their families, led in partnership with Resonate Arts. The group performed popular and classical numbers including Beyond the Sea and Song To the Moon from Dvořák’s Rusalka. Their programme also featured a diverse mix of dance moves, poetry readings and photography. It was a suitably joyful conclusion to a successful day.

Happy Birthday Music for Life, and here’s to many more years of music-making. More information about Music for Life projects can be found on the Wigmore Hall website, and you can watch the full live streamed event on YouTube here.

Image 1: Singing with Friends choir, led by Issy Adams

Image 2: Workshop led by Caroline Welsh (left) and Iñigo Mikeleiz Berrade (Academy alumni, right), live streamed to the Wigmore Hall Auditorium

Image 3: Head of Open Academy Julian West participates in a panel discussion

Image credit: James Berry