House of Sounds and Song
“Het Huis van Lied en Geluid”
In spring 2016, the Genetic Choir has started a new project, putting its expertise in the human voice and improvisation to work in the context of health care homes: Het Huis van Lied en Geluid (The House of Sounds and Song) is a participative project, aiming at bringing care home residents, their families and care staff into a closer relationship through voice training and improvisation.
Especially with people whose verbal abilities are changed or impaired, health care staff and family sometimes struggle to maintain personal and meaningful contact. The open approach to the voice and to listening that the Genetic Choir has developed and trained over the last few years offers a fresh approach to these interactions.
The voice can touch the heart beyond verbal abilities and if you listen intently, even impaired vocalizations can be the basis of intimate contact.
The idea of the project is not only to make residents and staff happier, but to promote family participation in the care of old people by inviting them to make contact in a new and playful way.
One of the Genetic Choir’s working forms we call ‘Old Songs, New Songs’. In this, familiar songs and remembered fragments of lyrics are used to create newly improvised songs. People’s memories of their favourite songs play an increasingly important role as they grow older, and music – even fragments of a melody – can evoke strongly positive emotions and memories.
The singers give group workshops, and also visit less mobile residents in their own living quarters.
The pilot has covered 6 days over a period of six weeks in April and May 2016. A residency of one year is being prepared now, starting in 2017/18.
The pilot project was kindly supported by: