Sing Healthy Play Happy

They’re creating music themselves so they are a part of the music. They come in hunched, then they sit up, they move, they feel creative and interactive, they leave walking upright with a different perspective. They feel more important and so they will be more interactive today. It’s like it wakes up some part of the brain. It’s completely different and it’s healing. Music is the key for dementia.
-Rita, Lifestyles Team, Maycroft Manor

In The Community

Open Strings Sing and Play
A great place to feel free!

Open Strings Sing and Play is a FREE weekly dementia-friendly creative music session for people of all abilities, commissioned by NHS Brighton & Hove CCG between 2016 & 2020.

A Great Place to Feel Free!

We create an inclusive and supportive space for people living with dementia and their carers. The sessions are intentionally designed to improve cognition and dexterity, increase health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation and support people living with dementia and their carers to remain active in the community for longer. We do this by:

• Our fun, gentle and inclusive approach – no musical experience is necessary
• Providing a safe and supported space for people to meet, make new friends and develop social networks
• Providing two experienced facilitators and volunteers to ensure that we can offer high quality one to one interactions within the group setting
• Singing familiar repertoire and new songs together
• Exploring instruments and sounds
• Exploring playful and non-verbal ways to interact and communicate
• Including gentle movement and body work in our sessions, such as cross-lateral actions promoting connection between right and left hemispheres of the brain, helping to keep the brain functional and decelerate the process for dementia
Supporting people to find ways to integrate music into their daily lives outside of sessions (including our National Lottery -funded training for carers in 2019/20)

Making music together is good for us! It lifts our spirits and helps us relax – it can really take us out of ourselves and give us a break, even for a short while.

All sessions are free – come and try us out! No musical experience is necessary.
NB: Pre-booking is essential.




MONDAYS: East Brighton, September – December


FRIDAYS 12th APRIL ’19 – 27th MARCH ’20:



SPACES AVAILABLE for any resident of Brighton & Hove living with dementia to attend with a carer/companion.

Booking essential – Click here to book



Watch our Sing and Play video, made by Sarah West, Summer 2018: click here to watch



Read our 1st year evaluation report by clicking here.


Read our 2nd year evaluation report by clicking here.


Read our 3rd year evaluation report by clicking here.

People living with dementia who come to our sessions say:

This is the most special time of my week. I wouldn’t be here in this chair if it weren’t for all of you. You’ve got to go to the session because it uplifts you and you feel so great, you’re practically going through the ceiling!

Sometimes I get very worried and anxious about everything which is ridiculous. I never used to be that way. I feel completely different here with so many happy people who know you and it makes you feel so good.

When I get here, I’m glad I left the house. It’s easy going, it breaks the routine and it’s a good idea to help people to communicate.

Carers who come to our sessions say:

The session enhances Mum’s mood and mine all day, and improves our relationship. She lights up when she comes, and it gives me a break.

After the session my husband feels that we are not the only people who are suffering from dementia and I need the interaction of meeting other carers.

My wife didn’t want to come because she didn’t feel like doing anything. But she enjoys it once she’s here. It’s good for me too. We don’t get out as much and spend a lot of the week on our own. You get to know people here. It’s nice.



Residential Settings

We offer bespoke music for engagement sessions in several residential settings for people living with dementia throughout Brighton and Hove.

• We bring two facilitators from our wide pool of experienced facilitators

• We sing familiar repertoire

• We explore instruments together in an inclusive way

• We liaise closely with staff to ensure the best possible interactions

• We do one to one work with individuals, using music as a relational
communication tool

• We include gentle movement and body work in our sessions

• We use music-making as a way to encourage individuals to share their experiences with each other as a group, and encourage a culture of play.

The neural pathways in our brains that are affected by dementia appear to be not so badly affected in terms of understanding music, so when you play music with people with dementia, the results are astonishing. Live music really does have health benefits – I can’t emphasise enough how much difference it makes to people living with dementia.
-Lucy Frost, Specialist Dementia Nurse, Royal Sussex County Hospital, BBC Radio Sussex Interview, 11th October 2015

Regions of the brain associated with musical memory may overlap with regions relatively spared in Alzheimer’s disease…suggesting that even if certain areas of the brain are badly affected by dementia, a person may still be able to understand and enjoy music. Music may help in the recall of information for people with dementia…and playing a musical instrument may be associated with a lowered likelihood of developing dementia.
-What would life be – without a song or a dance what are we?-A Report from the Commission on Dementia and Music, The International Longevity Centre – UK

Contact Us


We provide high-quality musical experiences for our participants, which means we need high-quality instruments, strings and bows.

Can you help us supply these?

If you would like to support our work, please click on the donate button below.

Thank you very much.