Why? And How?

Why music? How music?

Sounds. Music and its unique materials – tone, timbre, rhythm, melody, harmony, form. The care and craft of making music. Being together in time. Being together across space. Emotion, pleasure, memory. Who we are, and what we can become in music. Shape and texture. Changes in what we can do ‘inside’ music. Changes in our perception of each other…  

Music enters into action. And at times it is a critical medium, helping us to communicate and to connect. At challenging times, when we face problems in living, or when we confront the end of living, music can help. Our ‘late music’ can be powerful and transformative – whether individual or shared…

We are often able to help ourselves with music. For example, we may know just which music will soothe, or energise, or help us to process our experiences. But there are also times when our ability to access to music may be compromised, times when we may need help if music is to reach us. These are times when music therapists and community musicians, through their careful, bespoke, and fine-grained craft of musical delivery, can assist. 

(You might like to read our essay, ‘The other way around’ – Do disabilities acquire people?)

This project is about how music courses through our lives, and how it can accompany us towards the end of life when few other things are accessible. We are exploring the many and varied, specific, and mutual, practices of mutual caring for music in late life or end of life settings. Our research is motivated by the idea that in learning about music in late and end of life we are also learning about music’s role in all of life. Those lessons include rethinking the boundaries between music, sound, noise and gesture in new ways, and making and experiencing music with open hearts and minds.