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Louise Campbell

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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.

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