Well-being has become a bit of a thing in recent years. At ILS, we support our staff by running well-being courses (for those interested) and have a stack of well-being information and resources that forms part of our induction and on-going staff training. And for our service users, their well-being has always been a fundamental principle of the care we provide.
And one technique that seems to tangibly improve mood and well-being is singing. To this end, every week, several service users come to the ILS head office to make use of two very useful assets; a piano and staff member who can play it - our very own Life Skills Coordinator Nick Hermann.
Aside from the smiles, one of the tell-tale signs of a good session is the focus displayed and word retention. Two of our service users were more or less non-verbal when they came to us, but John in particular (featured in our photos), can now sing all the words to dozens of songs. Of course most of this transformation is down to the day-to-day work of our staff members, but our singing sessions really highlight the progress.
What we sing is important too. Everyone has their own wide ranging repertoire and we also take well known tunes and make up person-centered words. This proves particularly popular! In addition to this we've even started writing songs specifically for each service user. The words and music are always simple, repetitive and catchy. Some of the songs are also written to allow the service user to play along at the piano, which again is really popular.
So after 45 minutes of singing everything from the Beatles to Beethoven, we all have oxygenated brains and feel energised and good about ourselves. And our tip for anyone wanting to have a go? It doesn't matter if you're out of tune or out of time, singing well is simply having a go and enjoying yourself.