20th February: The Living Home Orchestra

We have been determined since we delivered the intergenerational ‘Making Bridges with Music’ project in 2017 that we would continue to bring early years children with their Childminders in to Care Home to engage in activities with the residents, particularly around music. ‘Making Bridges’ was an incredible project primarily because of the joy that came from people of different ages making music and creating songs together, regardless of physical or mental ability. In fact the tremendous strength and impact of the project came from the diversity of the people involved in the sessions.
We have finally, (after many funding applications to a range of Charities & Trusts) managed to secure funding to run a new music based project called ‘The Living Home Orchestra’ – our thanks go to The Barchester Foundation, South Devon & Torbay Community Grants Fund, Barton & St Marychurch Childminders Group and Doorstep Arts for funding this new project.
‘The Living Home Orchestra’ is running at Mount Tryon Nursing Home, Torquay, on a Wednesday morning for six weeks. We have four Torbay Childminders collectively bringing in twelve early years children to engage in all the music sessions along with a group of residents and three older adults from the local community. Sessions are led by Hugh Nankivell and filmed by Steve Sowden, both of whom were involved in ‘Making Bridges’.
This project has a slightly different focus in that, as part of these sessions, time will be given for all of the participants to conduct the others. We discovered during ‘Making Bridges’ how the conducting baton gives control to the conductor and how powerful this can be for both the young and old who may have limited communication skills. To be able to communicate through the baton really interested us and as part of the evaluation of this new project a short film will be produced that explores this theme.
The first session was held yesterday and as always the focus was around bringing the group together, helping the children to get used to the care home environment and the older adults that will be involved. By the end of the session the children (supported by their Childminders) were comfortable enough to go around the group saying goodbye or shaking peoples hands. A couple of children were brave enough to have a go at conducting the group which was lovely to watch, as were some of the residents. It will be interesting to see how this develops through the project and to consider the impact of this upon the conductor themselves.

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