BBC Music Day: the power of music

Every day, we see first hand the enormous impact music has on the wellbeing of our Songs & Smiles participants. So, we’re delighted to be supporting BBC Music Day on Thursday 26 September. It tops off an exciting month for The Together Project as we’ve launched new Songs & Smiles sessions in Bow, Leytonstone and Brighton. We now run weekly sessions in 16 locations, including in our first sheltered housing accommodation.

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If you’ve not come across BBC Music Day before, it’s an annual celebration that includes TV and radio broadcasts and thousands of events across the UK – all using the power of music to inspire and bring people together. A new project to bring music to everyone living with dementia by 2020 called BBC Music Memories is being launched by BBC Music Day ambassador Nile Rodgers. The legendary musician and producer (think dance anthems ‘Le Freak’, ‘Good Times’ and ‘Get Lucky’) has personal experience of dementia within his family.

“I think this is a fantastic initiative, and the updated BBC Music Memories website is a brilliant way for people to identify personally meaningful music and to start to make a playlist so music can be used therapeutically. Everyone faces challenges at one point or another and music can be your greatest ally at those important times.” Nile Rodgers

There is a growing body of research into the benefits of music for people living with dementia. Music can reduce agitation, improve symptoms of depression and increase social interaction, for example. With the number of people living with dementia in the UK expected to reach one million by 2025, Songs & Smiles and other music initiatives play an increasingly important role.

We’re very proud to be one of the 70+ organisations, including Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Dementia UK, NHS England and Playlist for Life, that are supporting BBC Music Day. Here are just a few of the BBC events happening this month...

  • Radio 4 will be asking Woman’s Hour listeners how music helps them to connect with family members living with dementia

  • Bands and choirs can team up with local radio stations for the Music Day Mash-Up

  • Children are being encouraged to ‘Get Singing’ in assemblies, lessons and playgrounds

Music can benefit people with dementia in so many ways; from stimulating memories and helping reduce anxiety and depression, to bringing together carers and loved ones through a positive shared experience.
— Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Louise Goulden