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It’s not every day you see a musician walking around playing music, with buskers rarely seen on the street these days. Hence it was a pleasant surprise to see someone walking around the crowds at the Alzheimer’s Show a few weeks back with their guitar. This person was Nina Clark, a self-described minstrel, who as well as being an accomplished singer/songwriter, is also the founder of the Musical Walkabout Project.

I stopped by Nina’s stand for a chat, telling her how nice it was to see someone singing at the show, as well as to discuss the power of music, which is one of the main aims of her project. We have written before about the use of music in reminiscence therapy, as well as music as a tool to boost confidence, encourage social interaction and connections. Seeing the smiles that Nina was bringing to the show visitors was great!

Musical Walkabout, Nina explained, is a 1-2-1 way of engaging with residents of care home with music. By spending more time with individuals, building rapport and discovering their favourite songs, the maximum enjoyment, engagement or relaxation is brought to the participant. Residents are also encouraged to share ideas, comments, stories and their feelings relating to that music. Nina visits around 12 different care homes in and around the Kent area.

Nina herself has experience with dementia, with her Nan being diagnosed with vascular dementia when she was younger. “Growing older and living with dementia and associated medical or mental health problems bring with them the very real problem of social isolation. Making connections with individuals, learning about their musical tastes and the stories that go along with these preferences is extremely important.”

It was clear from our chat that Nina is both passionate about music and indeed the power of music. The next phase of Nina’s plan is to teach others to visit care homes and play music to the residents, which I am sure you’ll agree, is a fantastic idea.

To learn more about The Musical Walkabout Project, visit the website at https://www.musicalwalkabout.com/