Music Project for people with Hearing Loss proves great success

Arts@STH organised two 5-week blocks of music sessions specifically tailored to people with Hearing Loss or Cochlear Implants as part of the ‘In and Out of Hospital’ programme, funded by Arts Council England and Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Mir Jansen, arts coordinator for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals explained: “After a number of conversations with Harriet Crook, Lead Healthcare Scientist at the Trust and former clinical scientist for complex hearing loss at the hospitals, we wanted to try out a new project aimed at people who have a love for music but whose experience of music has changed.  This could be because of a loss of hearing or acquisition of hearing with a cochlear implant.  We commissioned Leeds based musician/composer Thomas Sherman to run these music workshops and our first block of sessions proved a huge success”.

One of the project’s participants was 84 year old Geoffrey Hayes who, after a life time of playing piano, composing music for children’s musicals and dance halls, fell out of love with his instrument because of hearing loss.  He shared his frustrations with other participants in the workshops who all had similar stories about not being able to hear music in the same way they once did.

Thomas, with help from fellow composer Joe Harrison-Greaves, helped the group of participants to focus on their abilities instead of their frustrations.  Over a period of 5 weeks all participants were given the opportunity to create new musical compositions.

Every time I run these workshops I am becoming more convinced of the power of the social aspect of music making”, says Thomas.  “It is with sharing stories and motivating each other to try new things with melody, rhythm, lyrics that you can overcome frustration and enjoy the experience”.

Geoffrey summed up his experience as follows: “I found these music sessions extremely rewarding.  I felt inspired to try to contribute to the group composition after a lapse of 7 years through deafness.  All members of the group were encouraging for which I am really grateful”.

The Arts in Health team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is now offering those with hearing loss or cochlear implants with a love of music the chance to sign up for the next block of music sessions, at University of Sheffield’s Department for Music.

Instruments and singing voices are welcomed, with a range of instruments available for use to help patients experiment with different sounds.

The sessions are free of charge and run for a period of five consecutive weeks, from Friday 17th August to Friday 14th September, either in the mornings or afternoon.

For more information, or to enrol, visit http://arts.sth.nhs.uk/music-project-for-people-with-hearing-loss-cochlear-implants/.