Camden’s elderly paired with Guildhall School musicians for lockdown Zoom tunes

Age UK Camden has partnered with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to bring music to the elder

Age UK Camden has partnered with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to bring music to the elderly. Picture: Paul Cochrane - Credit: Archant

Isolated elderly residents living with dementia are being partnered with top musicians to keep them connected and entertained over lockdown.

Age UK Camden’s music bank project is seeing 12 of its penisoners buddied up with 12 students, staff and alumni from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The music is requested by the residents and then played live on Zoom or over the phone. The musical partners also take the time to have a chat with their elderly counterparts, with sessions lasting 30-45 minutes.

Nikki Morris, Age UK Camden’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be involved with this wonderful project and that some of our isolated members living with dementia will benefit from the joys of music and friendship over the challenging months ahead.

“Isolation can be damaging to both physical and mental health and this is a fantastic way to counter that.”

Clients have chosen a range of music including reggae and calypso, musical theatre and classical. Their selection of favourite artists includes Pink Floyd, Shirley Bassey, Stevie Wonder, Mozart and Frank Sinatra.

Sean Gregory, director of innovation and engagement for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, said: “Conversation and friendship sit at the heart of this important project, a collaboration that brings together an extraordinary programme of musical styles and influences.

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“[It’s] technology, innovation and live performance working in perfect harmony.”

Age UK Camden cites 1.4 million elderly people in England as chronically lonely.

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