Music & Dementia

EMBRACE Nederland has developed the innovative programme Music & Dementia in order to enhance the well-being of people living with dementia. The workshops are participatory and based around improvised music. The practice is based on Music For Life, a London-based organisation, with a long experience of working with dementia. We deliver these workshops in care homes and day centres for people living with different stages of dementia.
We also give specially developed trainings for care staff and volunteer carers to learn to integrate music in daily care practice. We also actively involve the experts from the care locations, such as music and other therapists, as well as local professional and amateur musicians.
Developing music as a tool in daily healthcare, both by the listening and the making thereof, can offer new and non-verbal ways of communicating with people living with different forms and stages of dementia.

The Music & Dementia programme in Leeuwarden was a part of the Dutch Age Friendly Cultural Cities programme and over the past few years has been a flagship project for national funding bodies such as, The Cultural Participation Fund, RCOAK and ZonMw


What is the philosophy behind the Music & Dementia Program? View it here:

What does a Music & Dementia workshop entail? View it here:

The effects of the Music & Dementia Programme

For people living with dementia:

• • Increase in well-being, both in the short and long-term
• Better sleeping and eating
• Fewer behavioural problems
• Better communication


For care staff and volunteer carers:

• • Easier contact with people living with different forms of dementia
• Improved working environment
• Helps facilitate the daily tasks, such as eating, showering, sleeping and taking of medicines
• Reduces stress and increases work satisfaction
• Increased confidence through using personal musical talent and leadership


What happens during the music workshops?

The workshop series for people living with a form of dementia consists of eight sessions. Each session lasts one hour. The three musicians first play a framing piece, which has been especially composed for the group. After a personalised greeting for each participant, the musicians improvise long and short pieces and encourage the residents to take part.

Who takes part?

There is a circle of eight to ten residents living with dementia, two or three care workers and three professional musicians. Outside the circle there is an EMBRACE Nederland project manager and one or two care workers who observe the session.

Training for care staff and volunteers

Our trainings for care staff and volunteer carers consists of:• Sound awareness
• Therapeutic use of music
• Development own creativity, musical taste and choices
• Simple and effective exercises with improvised and composed music
• Increased confidence through using personal musical talent and leadership

Through making music themselves, the participants learn how to make better contact with the residents. Participants in the trainings do not need to have musical skills. The trainings are given by the workshop leader and a music therapist.

Are you interested in having a workshop series?

Do you want to know more about how a workshop series can bring benefit to your residents and staff?
We will happily come and visit you to explain more!

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