Hospital & Residential

‘The service he provides is of the highest quality. His input has enhanced the lives of our service users and they all very much look forward to Steve’s sessions. With Steve’s contribution the service users have developed a real appreciation for music as well as developing very individual tastes.’

Gwyn Morrison, Senior Manager, Sense Scotland, Finglassie



Rhythm & song in long term care

Everyone has something creative to share whether fully able, or needing extra support. People in long term care can benefit from sessions that become a focal point for social interaction which is a break from the usual day to day routine. They can also help people recall earlier times of happiness through participating with recognisable songs or by playing accessible instruments themselves, reminding them of how musical they maybe once were – and still are. By setting up an atmosphere of support where people feel valued, staff and family can join in with sessions on an equal basis. Sessions are used in:

  • hospices

  • care homes

  • day centres

  • hospital wards

Apart from having lots of fun, participants may improve listening skills, motor ability, functional movement and spatial awareness, while gaining an understanding of cause and effect. They’re also sociable occasions that can encourage more confidence and engagement with those around them. Even within the group itself, sessions are run in such a way that each participant is given some individual attention throughout the process showing they are valued and that their contribution is appreciated. A drum circle may focus on rhythm using drums with hands or beaters, and accessible percussion instruments where call & response techniques are used to focus attention.

Person centred

Each person takes part on their own terms – see the sector Disability & Inclusion – some may prefer to be present without using an instrument and this is fine too as they’ll still be involved through active listening. Without the pressure to ‘perform’, people are then free to choose if and when to engage through playing. Age is also not a barrier. As we get older, musicality and the sense of rhythm are among the last functions to decline, so people of an advanced age in care – even with dementia – can still benefit from taking part. Also, by using familiar songs – see Unity Song – people may recall happier times that lead to improved communication through conversation. Sessions are often lively and exuberant, but if people come with an agitated frame of mind, they can be designed to be more relaxed through using melodic instruments such as tone chimes and singing bowls, and also ocean drums and rainsticks, that allow the person to focus on just ‘being in the moment’. See also Health & Wellbeing.

Special events

Sessions can be used as part of celebrations such as birthdays, St Andrews Day or the Queen’s Jubilee. Support organisations have also used drum circles to end their conferences.

Continuing Professional Development

Unity Music can provide inspirational training for your staff that impart skills which can be used daily with your own service users. Please get in touch for more information.

If you’re an organisation, discussion beforehand is important to clarify any aims you need for the session and to discuss appropriate ways for staff to give support, especially if there are specific needs for individuals that should be taken into account. See Get in Touch.

After every session, activities that have worked particularly well are noted, and what others may be improved for the future. This may also include a verbal review and/or written feedback from participants and staff especially if particular outcomes have been sought. Comments are always greatly valued and appreciated in order to continue to provide the best possible professional service.

It may be possible to access funding for your event. Check out the Big Lottery Fund for eligibility.