Music in Hospitals

Monday 29 June 2015


Royal College of Music pianists have taken part in a successful project to bring music to older patients on hospital wards in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Devised in collaboration with CW+ (the hospital charity) and Concordia Foundation, the scheme is a response to significant research that shows how music can improve visual awareness, attention, mood and verbal memory in patients

RCM alumna and pianist Maria Marchant has been participating in ‘Memory Lane’ for the last three years and visits Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on a weekly basis to play a range of musical favourites. Its success has led to the development of a year-long training programme which sees six pianists from the Royal College of Music and Concordia Foundation undertake a range of workshops as well as giving regular performances on the wards. Since September 2014, RCM pianists Kheng Hoe, Sohyun Park and Theresa Yu have represented the College on the programme, while former RCM Junior Fellow Jocelyn Freeman has taken part in the scheme on behalf of the Concordia Foundation.

RCM pianist Theresa Yu said of the programme “Memory Lane was truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The programme opened my eyes to the power of music beyond the traditional concert setting, and it was an uplifting experience for patients and their families, doctors, and performers alike!”  

Results published by CW+ on ‘Memory Lane’ reflect the positive impact of the project. Their report shows 100% of patients have been relaxed by the sessions, with 95% and 100% of patients and staff respectively finding the musical activities to be a positive distraction from and improvement of the hospital environment. Richard, a patient on the Nell Gwynne Ward, said of his involvement with Memory Lane “Afterwards, I feel completely different. I was enthused with optimism and joy.”

You can find out more about the project on the CW+ website.

‘Memory Lane’ is generously supported by Dasha Shenkman OBE.

Photography © CW+


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