How music can help people with learning disabilities

Music can have a profound effect on people – it can stir emotions and the act of singing can have a liberating and joyous effect on those taking part.

In our homes for adults with learning difficulties, an entertainer and music coach visits us once a week. Known as ‘Martin the Music Man’, Martin Reeves plays a range of instruments including the guitar and ukulele, and sings songs from different eras. One of Martin’s main aims is to encourage participation and he comes equipped with all sorts of percussion instruments so that service users can join in and have fun. He makes each session as interactive as possible and many of the service users really look forward to the sessions. They have a great sense of rhythm and clearly enjoy their contribution. Music helps them to engage with their peers in ways that they may find too difficult in other circumstances. It also helps to develop concentration, participation and confidence.

Some of our service users with learning disabilities can find group activities overwhelming, so they choose to avoid the music sessions to do other activities on their own. However, by being introduced to music at their own pace, some have made remarkable progress. For example, family members, staff and a social worker commented on how one individual has vastly increased their participation and how their confidence has grown in the last year.

Our support staff first noticed that they showed more interest when the ‘Music Man’ came to the home, but still declined to take part. The support staff introduced them to some of the musical instruments used in the music session, and they gradually became more and more involved.

By offering music sessions once a week and by supporting the individual needs of our service users with learning disabilities, we find that they can take small but significant steps. This contributes to increased and sustained participation, confidence and well-being over time.

Martin the Music Man

Martin the Music Man

The Mews Open Day 2012

DSCF1147_1We held our first Open Day in celebration of the one year birthday of our beautiful Mews home and my word, did we have a great day!

We arranged for all of our Homes and Specialist Support teams to be available to speak to the visitors on the day, as well as answer any questions they had.

The feedback we have received already from the attendees about The Richardson Mews remains as rewarding as ever. Hearing things like  “I can’t believe the quality of this care home” from a care manager in particular is something that really warms our hearts and reaffirms what we set out to do as a business and a caring service provider.

We invited many different people to the Open Day – including a large number of influential professionals from all areas  of the care, medical and charitable professions. We welcomed them into our home and gave them a first hand experience of what it is that we do at Richardsons. Needless to say we were pleased to have them all attend and to get their direct feedback on the work that we do as well as the quality of our facilities at The Mews.

We also presented a talk during the day (morning and afternoon)  which was entitled “Fast Flowing, Slow Stream: Rehabilitation and Psychological Therapies at RPC” – to give some further insights into our approach to rehabilitation. Look out for a blog post on this to come!

Our table top displays were laid out to give a focus on the holistic approach we offer our service users. The different displays showcased the specialist areas of Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Physio, Beauty Therapy, Art sessions, as well as various other trainers from our team giving glimpses and insight into the person-centred approach we choose to take with our service users.

Not to be outdone – we also provided a musical element to the day! We had Martin-The-Music-Man play during the day, as well as Simon Moxman, our saxophone player. It provided a great backdrop to the day. We strongly believe in the power of music in the rehabilitation process and our visitors got to meet and hear our musical team first hand. We regularly have Simon and Martin play for our service users as part of the repertoire of activities which the services users are free to choose to engage in during the year.

Lastly, we would like to thank all of our staff and support teams in helping make the day such a success. We had a wonderful time talking to everyone and really enjoyed having the opportunity to showcase all the work we have put into getting The Richardson Mews’ doors open – its been a long 5 year development project that really has been one of the most rewarding and ambitious dream projects that we have ever embarked on at Richardsons.

And now…we are back doing what we do best – providing the best all-round residential care for adults with acquired brain injuries or learning difficulties.

If you didn’t manage to come and see us on our Open Day – we are more than happy to speak to you at any time or give you a personal tour whenever is convenient for you, so please do call us on 01604 791 266. For more information – please visit our website at