Choir launched to give dementia and stroke patients a voice

Photo from the archives of members of the JDT Music Academy in Dereham recording ahead of a tour in

Photo from the archives of members of the JDT Music Academy in Dereham recording ahead of a tour in Dublin, in previous years. Photograph Simon Parker/Archant Library - Credit: Archant

A music school in mid Norfolk is giving people living with dementia and stroke survivors a unique opportunity to let their voices be heard like never before.

The JDT Music Academy, based at Rashes Green Industrial Estate in Dereham, has launched Musical Minds - a unique choir which aims to have a positive impact on patients' well-being and their carers.

A spokesperson for the academy said: "We are super excited to announce the launch of our fantastic new service designed specifically for sufferers of dementia and stroke along with their carers, family and friends.

"This wonderful friendly group is being delivered by our newly appointed SEN director, Jude, who is also one of Norfolk's very own signalong tutors.

"No matter what level of singer you are, it's about having fun and singing as part of a group.

"Our goal is to promote good feelings and feeling good. Followed by tea and cake and that all important time to share laughter, socialise and talk."

Using 'signalong' and power point presented lyrics, the aim is to make singing easy and fun.

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Signalong is a keyword, signing system based on British sign language designed to aid communication.

The JDT team will be working with a registered signalong tutor to support opportunities and to build on signalong vocabulary through participation in the singing and answering questions in the cafe after choir.

"We are not medically trained therapists but we are musicians who believed in the power of music and community.

"We really hope to spread the word to share the joy of singing."

The music academy also offers signalong courses for more in-depth understanding and to help extend the vocabulary used.

As well as singing and signing, the aim of the choir is to support well-being, help its members to socialise, communicate and give back people with dementia and those who have suffered from a stoke a sense of community.

Currently the academy is fundraising for its Big Build Project , a purpose built eco-friendly music and arts centre in Dereham which will include a new live music venue, a vegan cafe, and sensory equipment.

The Musical Minds signalong dementia choir and cafe takes place every Monday from 10am to noon at the JDT headquarters on Charles Wood Road, Dereham. The cost is £8 per session and includes the choir and light refreshments, as well as an accompanying adult.

Booking is essential by emailing or ringing 01362 694817.