In November 2015, Pulse Musician and Director Joe went to visit Wishing Well Music In Healthcare In Brighton. Read his reflections on the visit below
On the 24th November, I had the opportunity to visit Wishing Well Music In Healthcare in Brighton. I got the chance to engage and observe their long established practice at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital. I made music with Wishing Well Musicians Bella and Anna, as well as patients and parents on the High Dependency Unit. I learnt an awful lot from the day, and I left with a real belief in the importance of inter-organisational dialogue and skills sharing between practitioners in this field. Each hospital is unique, and the way that Music In Healthcare Practitioners integrate into each hospital is different. It was inspiring to see what such a long term relationship looks like in practice.
When I first approached Wishing Well to organise the visit, I had in my head an observational visit from myself and Dave Mckenny in which we would visit the programme and watch the practitioners at work. Jo White, from Wishing Well, suggested that she would like the two of us to visit separately, and to bring our instruments and engage in the practice. I was made to feel incredibly welcome by Bella and Anna, and after the day we all remarked that we had learnt from each other and the fact that I had brought my own practice was beneficial for them as well as me. Moving forward I am keen to support exchanges between musicians, and this visit has instilled in me the importance of visiting musicians being active observers and making music when they visit.
The fact that I brought my instrument helped me to reflect on the musical differences between our two practices. The day of work I saw was much more improvisational, and less repertoire led than the work we have been delivering at Great Ormond St. Bella, Anna and I discussed this after the day, and how it related to the environment they were working in. I found the practitioner’s confidence in improvisation really inspiring, and the fluidity of the music they were making is something I would really like to further focus on for my own practice in coming months.
To summarise, I am so glad that we built programme visits into our Great Ormond Street project, and it will certainly be something I will try to incorporate into future projects. A fantastic learning experience, and one that will have a direct impact on my practice moving forward.