This blog post was written by Kirsty Brown, our Lay Researcher in Erskine.
Music on a Monday morning really sets you up for the rest of the week and you forget your worries for that two hours especially playing either the BoomWhackers, the guitar or the Djembe drums (they are my favourite). There is something special about music that no other activity can reproduce for me. It makes your soul happy and when you are around people who want to join in and contribute to a song or chant there is nothing like it.
The drumming and rhythm part of the workshop I always look forward to, because it gives the service users a shot of playing a drum to different rhythms. They always looked engaged and their musical ability, for some, has come on immensely but most importantly they all seem to be enjoying themselves, which is apparent from the number of smiling faces around the circle.
Everyone starts off the rhythm part by copying what the Limelight leader is playing, it’s usually a variation of a crochet and quaver beat. The group are really animated and that transfers to the playing of the drum. They copy how the leader is playing, whether that be soft or loud (piano or forte for those in the know).
One service user was quiet at the start of these music sessions but spoke when you directed a question to him. The Limelight staff found out he has a really good musical ear so used this knowledge by giving him more of a leading role. He is very good at keeping a beat and a rhythm, even when the rest of the group are chanting. Recently he has been coming up with his own rhythms to complement the leader.
The service users always seem to like playing together as a group. We have started off by doing a clap around the room and trying to beat our score. The group really worked as a team and they encourage the people with the clap and wait in anticipation of the final stopwatch time.
Another of the service users seems to come alive when playing the drum. He enjoys the other parts but really put his whole effort into play the Djembe. His actions become far more animated and he looks people in the eye more. When it come to the chants he gets excited (I know this by his actions) and though I can’t hear him as everyone else is chanting, he does seem to chant quite confidently.