- Social services
Louise Campbell: Music and health at the C.A.R.E. Centre
What does music and health mean to you?
My name is Louise Campbell. I am a musician and artist, and I do a lot of work with people in many different sectors, of which one is health. The work that I’ve done in health really ranges depending on what people are looking for. I’ve worked with people who have severe physical disabilities, also with many kids who are neurodivergent, as well as people who have a diagnoses of fairly serious neurodegenerative diseases amongst other things.
For me, music and health is in part what music brings to everyone. It’s the fun of making music, of being creative, of connecting with others, and the joy of being in community with people. When it comes to be more specific to health, I think it depends on what people are looking for and it can mean many different things to different people. So someone might be interested in addressing a physical ailment that they have, somebody else might be more looking for the psychosocial connections. So it really depends on how we’re going to use music in the context of health.
Music and health at the C.A.R.E. Centre
One of my favorite groups of people to work with are the people at the C.A.R.E. Center.
The C.A.R.E. Center is a center for adults with severe physical disabilities, and I have had the luck of being able to work with them over multiple years. I was initially invited to work with the C.A.R.E. Center by the director Olivia Quesnel. It’s very specific for her that when I go in, it’s to support mental health and to really support fun. It’s interesting when I go in, because I’ve gotten to know people a little bit better there, and I can see that absolutely the mental health and well-being is very much supported by what music and the Arts has to offer — in terms of engagement, connection with other people, learning things that are new, finding new ways to understand one’s own experience, and share that with other people.
It can also definitely help with the physical side of things as well. There’s this one person who is a client at the C.A.R.E. Center. He is in a wheelchair and when I first met him, he was fairly upright in his wheelchair. Over the years, I’ve seen that he starts to get a little bit more slumped. He’s just a lovely sweet person who has no trouble actually connecting with other people, but it’s more this kind of physicality that starts to close his body down a little bit more that makes it harder for him to reach out to other people. So, in one of our projects we were building instruments, and when I do these kinds of projects, I leave a lot of room open for other people. We gathered all kinds of materials from this recycle bin, lots of different things that were around that just could be potential sound makers, and this man started to build his instrument. As it turned out, this instrument was all kinds of things that were hung from a bar that was just above him.
So he made this beautiful kind of chime instrument that led him to be going up all the time. I spoke with his physiotherapist afterwards. She was really amazed because here was this man going up all the time doing what she was trying to get him to do in physio, and yet he was doing it of his own accord and for far longer than the physio sessions were going to happen. And he was having a great time and was able to share this instrument with other people who could also play in this up and more open position. So for me, the C.A.R.E. Center is a place where it really hits on all of the various different ways that we can contribute to people’s health and wellbeing.Read More +