Goodwin and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra: Music and Memory

Goodwin is proud to partner with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and ActewAGL to present Music and Memory: a live music program designed to enhance the lives of people living with dementia.

From 15 July to 11 September 2020, ensembles from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra will perform two concerts a week, with a selection of music chosen by the residents themselves, ranging from classical to pop.

Music and Memory will attempt to measure positive behavioural changes linked to live music experiences by providing concerts for the residents of Goodwin House in Ainslie.

Music has a unique ability to touch our hearts and minds unlike anything else. It can recall forgotten memories, transport us to relive past moments, and awaken feelings that live deep within us all. The part of the brain responsible for processing music is often one of the last to be adversely affected, and for people living with dementia, the recollection a forgotten memory can have a profound effect.

As well as being an opportunity for residents to enjoy hearing some of the leading musicians in Canberra, the program also explores the positive effects that music can have on people living with dementia. Music for Memory will leverage and build upon existing research to better understand the effects that music has on the lives of people living with dementia.

The unique program was developed in collaboration with Heather Roche, a musician and third-year Bachelor of Psychology student at the University of Canberra, with oversight from Kristen Sutcliffe, CSO bassoonist and practising audiologist. “This remarkable program is designed to touch the hearts and minds of people living with dementia, through specifically chosen music,” says Sutcliffe, who also curates and presents the CSO’s leading Rediscovering Music program for people who have experienced hearing loss.

Other research efforts in this space are largely focused either on individualised listening (through devices) or general music therapy concerts. Music and Memory seeks a balance between these two approaches by delivering a social concert experience informed by the collective musical preferences of participants.

Music has always been a part of life at Goodwin, and it’s exciting to have such amazing musicians sharing their talents with our residents with a view to learning more about benefits it brings.