Music, Dementia and Positive Ageing

15 March 2021

This event, live streamed from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, aims to disseminate current research on positive ageing and dementia through the medium of music. As part of National Brain Awareness week, the event will feature performances of original musical compositions by Ian Wilson and Paul Noonan depicting experiences of living with dementia. It will also feature presentations by leading researchers and clinicians on positive ageing and music and dementia research, and an experiential workshop exploring the effects of singing on well-being and cognition in older age. This event welcomes service users, family carers, healthcare professionals, policy makers, academics and members of the public.

The event will include:

Welcome address by Dr Hilary Moss, Senior Lecturer in MA Music Therapy at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.

Presentation by Professor Desmond O'Neill on ageing and dementia, with an emphasis on positive ageing and creativity in later life. Professor Desmond O'Neill is a consultant geriatrician and gerontologist with a leading international profile in research and advocacy in ageing and the neurosciences, focusing on links with the arts and humanities.

Live performance of 'Therefore I am...' This is an original composition by renowned composer Ian Wilson, reflecting on the experience of older people with dementia and their carers. The work will be performed by members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, eminent musicians Kenneth Rice (violin), Joachim Roewer (viola), Malachy Robinson (double bass), and Cathal Roche (saxophone).

Presentation by Ms Sophie Lee on current research on music and dementia. Sophie is a PhD Candidate at UL, supported by the Irish Research Council. Her research focuses on the effects of music psychosocial interventions on the well-being of people with early stage dementia and their family carers.

Performance of ‘Glacier,’ an original song by Paul Noonan of Bell X1. ‘Glacier’ was inspired by the lives of composer and musician Clive Wearing and his wife Deborah. Clive contracted severe amnesia, losing his ability to retain memories and recall his past. However, his emotional memory remained intact and he knew he loved and was loved by his wife.

Experiential singing workshop. This workshop will demonstrate the positive benefits of making music for people with dementia and their family members and communicates the latest research on singing for health and well-being.

Input and reflections from an expert by experience from the Alzheimer's Society, a senior clinician from the Ageing Research Cluster in UL and Music Therapist and PhD student Lisa Kelly.

This event is supported by the Irish Research Council.


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