Image for It’s a hit: how classic songs are uniting children and care home residents online

It’s a hit: how classic songs are uniting children and care home residents online

A project to combat loneliness in lockdown is using classic songs to bring generations together over the internet

A project to combat loneliness in lockdown is using classic songs to bring generations together over the internet

From the catchy chorus of Cecelia by Simon and Garfunkel, to the soaring yearning captured in Over the Rainbow, songs have been helping to bring people together during lockdown. 

Specifically, they have been uniting thousands of care home residents with young people over the internet as part of the Together with Music project. 

The initiative, by the Intergenerational Music Making (IMM) community-interest company, launched in December 2020 in a bid to combat lockdown loneliness. Already, more than 100 intergenerational connections have been made, with hundreds more children and care home residents signing up and waiting to be matched.

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Groups begin by sharing a song of their choice with each other via Together with Music’s online platform. Renditions of the songs are performed by children for care home residents and sometimes vice versa. The music then becomes a springboard for wider conversations between the participants, and relationships are supported by IMM.  

“We’ve already seen more than 100 connections emerge and begin to flourish through the sharing of music, culture, hope and positivity,” said Charlotte Miller, IMM director. Miller hopes the scheme will help communities recover and rebuild after lockdown.

In ordinary times, IMM uses music to bring generations together in person. Image: IMM

In Surrey, Kingfisher care home joined forces with Durlston Court school to exchange versions of Cecilia. Meanwhile in Richmond, London, care home resident George wrote a song about living with dementia, crafted around an incident with the police. 

After seeing his video, children at a local school created their own song, inspired by George’s story, in which the police fine people bars of fudge instead of money.

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, said: “This project will bring a ray of sunshine to thousands of lives and help counter feelings of isolation.”

Main image: Michelle Mcewen

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