On Friday I went down to perform as a volunteer at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. This was a really rewarding experience and I hope helped form a relaxed, calming atmosphere for the people that were undergoing treatment or preparing to undergo treatment.
Although it was an informal performance with people coming and going, it was a really positive experience to play to such an engaged and lovely, welcoming audience and to have an open conversation between songs about the sort of music people wanted me to play. I am definitely keen to start writing some more uplifting, positive music as a result of having met such inspirational people going through life changing treatment.
Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity is the official NHS charity for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and they have a thriving arts-in-health programme.
Many projects take place on wards, including musicians performing for patients, or participatory dance classes.
If you are interested in performing, I would highly recommend getting involved, more details below…..
Who will listen?
You will be performing on Ron Johnson Ward, the HIV, oncology and dermatology ward. At the request of staff and patients, they have weekly music sessions here for people to enjoy. Half of the audience will be behind a wall having treatment, so they will be able to hear but not see you. The music is a really lovely distraction for them. The rest of your audience will be sitting near you, either waiting for their day treatment, or, if they are inpatients, enjoying some time out of their rooms with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Staff and relatives may join them.
What should I play?
This is entirely up to you. In general, it is best to pick a programme which is quite relaxing, but often upbeat songs or pieces go down well too. If you have a broad repertoire and are able to take requests from people, this is fantastic! If not, there are still ways you could give people a choice. Ask them a simple question, such as ‘would you like an upbeat or a relaxing piece next?’, or ask them to pick a country/decade/genre and then play a piece of your choice from within this category. This will also help to create a relaxed and informal atmosphere and encourage the patients to engage with you.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org Or telephone 0203 315 6581. Tea and Music is funded by CW+ as part of their art and design programme, and supported by songforyou.org. For more information, visit http://cwplus.org.uk
This article was written by susie