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Free Music Care Training

FREE Music Care Training

We are offering a FREE one day OPUS Music Care training course.

Whether you care: at home, in the community, in an education setting, or as part of your job, this course is designed for you. 

We are running three, day long workshops in February 2024 to equip carers with the skills to use Music Care in their everyday care. Carers are invited to attend one of the days to gain confidence and new techniques to use Music Care in their practice.

You don’t need to be musical to attend the course, just the interest and openness to find new ways to connect and communicate.

6/2/24: 10am – 3pm – Assembly Rooms, Bolsover
7/2/24: 10am – 3pm – Community Hub, Idlewells Shopping Centre, Sutton-in-Ashfield
9/2/24: 10am – 3pm – The Radford Care Group, Nottingham

You will need to register to confirm your interest and we will get back to you to confirm your place.

Music Making in Bolsover

Community Music Making Group

Music Making in Bolsover

In the serene surroundings of Hillstown Village Hall in Bolsover, something truly special is happening every Friday afternoon. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, a community music group led by OPUS Music has emerged as a source of inspiration and support for individuals living with Dementia, as well as their dedicated caregivers. Through music making, participants come together to create a nurturing and joyful environment.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Types of Dementia include: Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Lewy body, Frontotemporal, Huntington’s, and more.

Sarah’s Perspective


Sarah Matthews, one of our OPUS Musicians, involved in facilitating these sessions, captures the essence of the group beautifully. She describes it as a “wonderful group of local people caring and supporting one another through music-making and laughter.” The sessions are not just about music; they are about human connections and shared experiences. Participants engage in conversations about everyday topics, including the weather, transportation, and reciting poetry. They explore a diverse range of musical elements, from historical industrial songs to Scottish love songs and even the creation of beautiful soundscapes using various instruments. This diverse and engaging atmosphere is a testament to the power of music to bring people together and create lasting memories.

Chris’ Experience

Chris Doyle, one of the local community musicians leading the group, shares his experience. He describes the participants as a “pleasant, relaxed, interesting, and joyful group of people.” This atmosphere of positivity and relaxation sets the stage for engaging and spontaneous music sessions.

Chris finds inspiration from the participants’ life stories and memories. The sessions highlight the importance of being passionate about what you do and inspiring others. Through this musical journey, Chris has gained confidence in his own musicianship and enhanced adaptability. More than anything, he emphasises the sheer enjoyment of creating music in an uninhibited and inclusive environment. His initial expectations of participants not being very engaged were pleasantly disproved, as people embraced the opportunity to be open and try something new. The group provided a space for relaxation, socialisation, and engagement with sounds, songs, and beats.

Notably, the group has proven to be inclusive and accommodating, allowing those with decreased coordination and dexterity to participate and potentially stimulate improvements in these areas. It provides a platform for individuals to simply be present in the moment, fostering relaxation and sociability. The creativity within the group naturally evokes memories and stories, touching participants and their caregivers alike.

Harvey’s thoughts 


Harvey Holmshaw, another of the Bolsover-based community musicians leading the group, reflects on his positive experience with the group. He highlights how the sessions have enhanced his understanding of social care and boosted his musical confidence. The group’s benefits are all-encompassing, moving not only the participants but also the individuals leading the sessions. Harvey points out how the music deeply affects the group, often rekindling deep-rooted memories that might have been temporarily forgotten.

One of the remarkable aspects of the sessions is the power of conversation. “It positively affects the whole group, participants personalities come out… the simplicity of making and enjoying music, while sharing and stimulating memories as well as being sociable”. The group members engage in discussions, and the music created during the sessions often resonates with the thoughts and feelings shared by participants. This approach amplifies the effectiveness of the sessions and reinforces the sense of community and connection.

These music making sessions in Bolsover allow those with Dementia and their caregivers the freedom to experience music in a way they chose, offering autonomy and creative expression. It can become a source of solace, engagement, and inspiration for participants and their caregivers. Through the magic of music, memories are rekindled, and connections are formed, offering a ray of light in the lives of those facing the challenges of Dementia.

These sessions run every Friday at Hillstown Village Hall in Bolsover from 1pm – 3pm. Please get in touch if you are interested in taking part ben@opusmusic.org

OPUS Music’s Compassionate Contribution to End-of-Life Care

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

OPUS Music’s Compassionate Contribution to End-of-Life Care


This October the 14th the world comes together to observe World Palliative Care and Hospice Day, and we shine a spotlight on the transformative role of music in providing solace and comfort during the most delicate moments of life.

At OPUS our ethos is to make music with all to promote positive health and wellbeing. These music-making sessions explore connection, remove communication boundaries, and promote the health benefits that music brings. Supporting not only the patient, but the family, and healthcare staff that surround them at these significant times. Music offers the space for emotional release, to soothe, and to support connection, which is vital in these last moments.

“I want to thank you OPUS for yesterday. You played beautiful songs, and my Mum sang, smiled, and loved it. Mum passed away early this morning. We are devastated, but remembering the smile on her face whilst watching you will stay with me always!” – Daughter of a patient

As well as working in hospitals across the East Midlands, we also make music in community settings, in hospices, and care homes, bringing music to individuals. The feedback we have received from family testimonials highlights the significance of music in end-of-life care.

We believe that compassion in action within the realm of end-of-life care is vital, and we understand the important role that music can play in these final moments. Our healthcare musicians enter patient rooms with sensitivity and grace, crafting musical moments that transcend the ordinary. Our aim is to facilitate solace and connection to patients and their families during a challenging time.

“Thank you for playing to my mum while she was a patient. You came into her room and played beautifully, such a magical moment we will never forget, thank you.” – Son of a patient

In the hushed corridors of hospices and hospitals worldwide, where the journey of life meets its final notes, music resounds as a healer and the bridge to connection, creates lasting final memories. As we celebrate World Palliative Care and Hospice Day, we join the conversation and champion the transformative power of music in end-of-life care. Our impact extends beyond hospices and hospitals; it reaches into the hearts of patients and their families, creating lasting memories.

The profound impact of music emerges as a universal language that transcends words, easing pain, offering solace and leaving an enduring legacy of compassion and connection.

Find out more about what we've been up to...

Play in Hospital Week

Play in Hospital Week

Celebrating Play in Hospital Week 2023: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation in Play


As October rolls around, we at OPUS Music CIC are thrilled to join hands with hospitals, play teams, and compassionate individuals across the East Midlands and beyond in celebrating Play in Hospital Week. This annual event, taking place from the 9th to the 15th of October, is more than just a reminder—it’s a celebration of the healing power of play.

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul. It gives joy, freedom, contentment, inner and outer rest and peace with the world” – Friedrich Frobel

This year’s theme, ‘Creativity and Innovation in Play,’ is a testament to the resilience of both healthcare providers and children facing daunting challenges. At times, hospitals can be intimidating and overwhelming, and for children the experience and these feelings can be magnified by their vulnerability and a lack of control over their surroundings.

The significance of play in a hospital setting cannot be overstated. Play serves as a powerful escape. It has the remarkable ability to lift a child’s spirits, improve their mental health, and even help babies reach crucial developmental milestones.

Despite its proven benefits, play in hospitals remains a challenge for many institutions across the UK. Children benefit from the therapeutic effects of play, but due to constraints and resource limitations, not all are able to access it. 

This week we are joining the conversation and celebrating the importance of supporting children in hospitals through play and praise the remarkable efforts of the dedicated play teams in hospitals across the East Midlands that we are lucky to work alongside.

Together, we can make sure every child’s hospital journey is filled with creativity, innovation, and the joy of play.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old... we grow old because we stop playing"

George Bernard Shaw

Find out more about what we've been up to...

World Alzheimers Day

The Healing Power Of Music

Transforming Lives During Alzheimer’s Awareness Week

It’s World Alzheimer’s Day and we are joining the conversation sharing stories of resilience, connection, and wellbeing.

Stories of people like Jean, an older lady living with vascular dementia, who found solace in the soothing power of music.

The Impact of Music: Transforming Care Environments

Jean's Story: A Remarkable Encounter with Music

Jean’s story is a testament to the incredible impact that music can have on individuals living with dementia. She would often call out in distress, searching for a connection with her loved ones. However, her story took a heartwarming turn when Mary (our Associate Musician) sat down beside her and offered the gift of music-making.

As Mary played, Jean’s cries of distress gradually softened. The calling out became less agitated, and moments of serenity emerged. What made this experience truly remarkable was the power of a shared voice. When Jean cried out, “God help me!” Mary transitioned the piece into the soothing melody of “Amazing Grace.” As Mary played, Jean began to join in. Singing the last line with clarity, bringing a smile to her face.

Mary played other hymns which provided a welcome distraction as the nurses administered Jean’s medication. A close friend of Jean’s visited, and joined in as they all sang “Amazing Grace” together. Jean mouthed the words along with them, relishing the moment of connection and joy.

The story of Jean is just one example of the profound impact of music on individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. As caregivers and healthcare professionals have observed, music can bring remarkable changes to care environments. 

Music offers the space for connection, it can create a communication without words, reaching neural pathways that fire subconsciously and can ignite memories once forgot.

"A long-standing patient has got great comfort from the music and singing. The patient who has dementia usually gives no eye contact and will just shout out and screw up her face. Today this patient has her eyes open, the most beautiful smile and is humming along to the music. We need more of this on the wards. Today our ward is so calm due to the music. Seeing the positive response by patients has brought a tear to my eye."
University Hospital

Take Me As You Find Me: A Song by OPUS Music

In our quest to raise awareness on World Alzheimer’s Day,  we wanted to share our song “Take Me As You Find Me.” You can listen to it here. This song portrays the experiences and emotions of the response to our practice within dementia care. It reminds us of the importance of empathy and understanding.

"It really changes the atmosphere; while they're playing you don't hear all the coughing and beeping; it makes the patients more comfortable. We deal with lots of patients with dementia, and you often see them dancing to the music and playing along. You can learn a lot about a patient's history and find out more about them. It's so important when it comes to individualising care. How can you care for a patient holistically if you don't really know them?"
University Hospital

OPUS Music's Commitment to Dementia Care

In addition to our musical contributions in health and care settings, here at OPUS Music we are making a meaningful impact in the community. Thanks to Arts Council Funding, we are running a series of workshops in Bolsover for families living with dementia. Our new team of community musicians are bringing music to families and facilitating music-making sessions that support their health and wellbeing. This initiative exemplifies the positive change that can be achieved through the healing power of music.

As we commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day, let us be inspired by stories like Jean’s, where the simple act of sharing music can bring comfort, connection, and joy to those living with dementia. Music is a powerful tool for transforming care environments and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Join us as we continue to explore the healing power of music and work towards a more inclusive and compassionate world for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information on Alzheimer’s and the broader initiatives to support individuals with dementia, you can refer to the following resources:





Together, we can make a difference and create a more supportive and understanding society for those living with Alzheimer's and dementia.



The morning’s Healthcare Musician practice had joys that ranged from the first smile of a very young baby in the Neonatal Unit to the last song of an older person’s life.

As I take a few moments to reflect upon what it means to be back in hospitals making music, I am once again overwhelmed by the human connection and depth of emotion tapped into by musical interactions in person.

As OPUS musicians, we profoundly felt the frustrations of not being able to be involved and to be present within the spaces at all for the last three years. It has taken such a lot to come back to work, and we are so delighted to be doing it once again. As the crisis of COVID-19 slips a little more into the past, we now find ourselves as Healthcare Musicians able to bring something of connective humanity into these difficult and delicate spaces once more.

We took our time in choosing the right moment and piece of music for the new family in the NICU. Twinkle Twinkle was chosen. The parents videoed their little one as they seemed to be sleeping. Then, just gradually, the first little smile appeared across their face. Then once and twice more before the final verse was sung. How special it was as Dad went back through the video and froze the frame where he saw his little one smile for the very first time. How wonderful to play this intimate role in helping to make memories for this family from such an early age.

For the older person we met later that same morning, it seemed hard to choose the piece to play to begin with. What would have the right content for this human being who had lived a long full life and was nearing the end of the journey? Having spoken with the relative, who had enthusiastically beckoned us in, we settled on Diamond Day – a lovely gentle piece including elements of descriptors of the countryside, the horses passing, the crops growing, and the people that you meet as you go through life. We were then told that they had owned a cart horse when very young and had often spoken about this. We had, fortunately, picked something truly connective and meaningful for this family experience.

Another older patient videoed us playing and singing Edelweiss all through. At the end they said “Aw, that was romantic! We do need a bit of that right now, don’t we?!” I think I know just what they meant…

It is important to reflect that these in person experiences are potentially powerful and meaningful for both the patients AND the Healthcare Musician. It is part our chosen professional musical world, and for the last three years there has been a definite void…

– Sarah Matthews