Debra Skeen

Having trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama as a singer I moved to London and spent the London years as a  session singer in recording studios, on radio and performing on stage and in the concert hall, also touring worldwide with other professionals and running a private teaching practice . 

 

In  2014 I was invited into a care home to sing for the residents - thus began my journey towards the discovery of the power of music as therapy.

 

I was really taken with the direct response  and "re-awakening"  to be seen in those living with dementia and soon became a Dementia Friend and then on to become a Dementia Friends Champion. I also became involved with the local Singing for the Brain sessions run by The Alzheimer's Society which has long recognised the benefits of Singing for the Brain and have been running these sessions since 2003.

 

Since then there has been an increased awareness of the importance of music as therapy in  those living with dementia and a good deal of research has gone into proving that regular music sessions can ameliorate behavioural and depressive symptoms.  Music releases endorphins which can change our mood and make us feel good.

For over a year I worked part time as an activities co-ordinator for a residential care home in Buckinghamshire  and was responsible for organising all kinds of entertainments to keep the residents engaged.

As a result of my experiences with the Alzheimer's Society sessions and seeing how various acts engaged to a lesser or greater extent with  residents in care homes, I have devised my own unique way of incorporating Music for the Brain. Sessions are based on interactive singing incorporating a little movement, deep breathing and, where appropriate, learning new songs and quizzing which help create synapses in the brain.

All the sessions are given acoustically with my ukulele for accompaniment and all the songs are personally arranged.

In 2019 I completed the Sing to Beat Parkinson's training and am running a Parkinson's choir in Hailsham. I am  also running  a hospice choir in Chailey and a well-being choir in Lewes. Please contact me for details.

Now living in Sussex I am delighted to spread the joy of Music for the Brain along the whole of the south coast and beyond, not only into care homes and day centres, since this is also beneficial for those with or without special needs of any age. Private one-to-one sessions are also available.

© 2017 by Debra Skeen.

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