At the end of last year, Martin Reeves, our Music Enrichment Leader, finished working at Richardson Care to move to Yorkshire. Martin the Music Man, as he was affectionately known, brought much joy to our service users and staff over 13 years, and we’re very grateful to him. He’ll be much missed.
During his weekly music enrichment sessions in each of our services, Martin would play the guitar or ukulele, sing and interact with the service users. He really did enrich their lives and that level of multi-tasking is no mean feat! The sessions in each home had a different vibe because of the different individuals involved and here Martin reflects on some of his experiences.
He says: “I was met with the same level of enthusiasm and joy every week when I played for the guys with learning disabilities in Kingsthorpe Grove. They would join in, bashing their tambourines, singing or dancing, or just watching. I would play the same songs every week and they loved it. One of the guys had an incredible knowledge of music and I could tell what a difference live music made to him and the other residents.
“The sessions with the guys at Boughton Green Road, who have acquired brain injuries, were rewarding for different reasons. It’s an all-male service so we had a lot of laughs and banter around the music – it felt much more like an adult or a late-night pub environment. I felt that it really gave the guys a happy release from their situation.”
The uplifting power of music
Martin continued: “In other homes, some of the service users clearly loved the music and were actively involved. However, I couldn’t always tell what impact it was having by individuals’ reactions. I thought one of the guys slept through the music sessions, but he was just relaxing and asked me to carry on when I stopped!
“Some of the staff really get involved too – encouraging the service users to dance by getting up and dancing themselves. The power of music is so uplifting and can really change the atmosphere within a home – whether or not people are actively participating or just listening to it.
“Every week was different, with different people joining in. It’s always been fun and it’s very rewarding for me to work with such a diverse range of people. It’s been really interesting getting to know them and finding the right material to play. One lady would make up the names of songs that she wanted me to play – that was interesting too!”
Martin adds: “Playing outside at Richardson Care as soon as I was able to during lockdown really kept me going. I’m so grateful to Richardson Care for wanting me to continue. I think it was good for all of us to have some continuity and normality and the sessions brought us so much joy. I’ll really miss all the guys in different ways.”
We’d like to wish Martin all the very best for his new life in Yorkshire, and we will be continuing to run Music Enrichment sessions with other musicians in our homes.