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A soundWELL Case Study

soundWELL is soundLINCS’ music delivery with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust. It is part of soundLINCS’ Youth Music Fund C musical inclusion programme, which is taking place throughout Nottinghamshire, Leicester/shire and Lincolnshire over three years. The project delivers music workshops and training with Children in Challenging Circumstances across five diverse strands; looked after children, youth justice services, paediatric services, young parents and children with special educational needs, including those who are hearing impaired.

soundWELL provides music activities in children’s wards and clinics, tailored to meet the needs of the selected wards within hospitals and accessible for all abilities and ages (from 0-16 years). soundLINCS’ experienced Music Facilitators take a hands-on approach, encouraging young patients to participate in a fun, relaxing and engaging music experience. soundWELL has been running since Autumn 2013, and to date we have worked with over a thousand patients, parents and siblings across three hospitals in Lincolnshire!

Below is a case study from one of the young people we have worked with at Lincoln County Hospital this year. (Young person’s name has been changed).

David – soundWELL Case Study

David was a young boy aged around 3 or 4 who was in a private room in the paediatric ward. When we first approached his bed it was very apparent that he was bored and unsettled. He was watching a portable TV at the bottom of his bed but was notably frustrated and his parents were visibly tired.dscf8939

Initially, it was clear that he had no desire to engage with us and was generally wary of our presence in his room. His parents were very welcoming and encouraging though so we began to quietly play instruments in the corner of his room, which immediately grabbed his attention, particularly the accordion. I then began to bring out instruments he could play with and he enjoyed testing them out and seeing what sounds he could make with each different one.

Gradually we began to introduce a story narrative into the playing, with different instruments representing different animals in the story. David loved this invention and interaction and by the halfway point was telling the story alongside me and adding to it with words and music.

After the story had finished both he and his parents seemed much more relaxed and happy. I then moved on to work with a girl in the next room along, but after about 5 minutes was approached by a nurse who asked if we could come over to sing a song to David whilst he was having blood taken. He was very aware of the procedure taking place and was very agitated and upset about it, screaming and thrashing in his bed.

dscf9152We began to sing and play to David but this was not overly successful. He would begin to respond to the music but then feel the sensation of the blood being taken and lose focus, quickly becoming upset again.

Seeing it wasn’t working we took the accordion close to the end of his bed and David touched it with his feet whilst we played, which produced a different, new sound. I told him that he was the first person ever to play my accordion with his feet and he found it hilarious. He started playing numerous notes with his feet and he eventually joined in with a rendition of Old Macdonald, which everyone in the room sung along with whilst David played with his feet and suggested animals each time.

Soon after, the blood was successfully taken and everyone seemed both happy and relieved with how smooth the process had eventually been. Next time we walked past the door to David’s room both he and his parents were all asleep on his bed.

The music and story-telling which took place with David was part of a 10-week phase of soundWELL that worked with patients on the paediatric ward to develop sounds and stories for our inspiration week, transforming the paediatric playroom into a Musical Wonderland. A video of the project can be seen below and to read more about the Musical Wonderland, read Orinta’s great blog here.

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