Music and Arts

Fiona Pritchard is our Music and Arts partner, she supports our homes with their music and arts activities. Here are some Qs and As to help explain a little more:

What do we mean by music and arts activities? 

Music and the arts play important and powerful parts in all of our lives so whether it be through storytelling, singing, drama, reading or writing poetry, dance, music and movement, we offer each resident the opportunity to explore the many ways in which music and arts can enrich their wellbeing. The role has three main elements:

  • To spend time with residents in a one-one capacity offering them a live music or arts focused experience and the opportunity to participate, however they prefer or are able.
  • To promote and lead participatory music and arts-based activities within homes for small and larger groups, that may have an art, dance, poetry, choral, instrumental, writing and creating focus.
  • To develop new relationships with local communities and facilitate collaborations between our homes and schools, churches, museums, theatres, community centres, concert halls, professional arts organisations, national organisations and charities.

The Power of music

Music is incredibly powerful and has a positive effect on our well-being, stimulating our emotions and motivation. It is a common language and enables us to share, appreciate and enjoy this together and because it is non-verbal it is accessible to everyone. Music can also help maintain a person’s identity and a connection to their life events. Aware of the power of these musical preferences I always try and find out some autobiographical information either through informal conversations and this means I can create a different, personal and hopefully meaningful experience for each resident I spend time with. Group music sessions reach out to any number of residents simultaneously who engage and interact in a variety of ways from passive listening with subtle toe or finger tapping to bold risk taking by playing a large drum or spontaneous dancing. Using different instruments and props we can create music and movements that reflect the rhythm, texture, timbre and style of the music.

You can read more about Fiona’s work in her Blog for the Age of Creativity Festival HERE

Who is Fiona? 

Fiona is a professional musician who trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has performed with several of our national orchestras and enjoyed teaching music for over 25 years. She also writes and arranges music and songs for LETTERLAND, Monkey Music Ltd, Warwick Music, the BBC and ITV.
Fiona gained an MSc in Dementia Studies with Arts and Activities from Bradford University and uses this increased understanding of dementia to influence and guide her work Fiona joined Colten Care in 2014 and now in this unique role, she works in all twenty-one homes with a focus in the five dementia communities.
Fiona says: "The role is varied, and I feel it is still evolving, led by the response of residents and new opportunities that arise."

   You can read more about Fiona and her role in thiCare Home Professional article

What has Fiona been up to recently?

Following the success of the BBC documentary Our Dementia Choir, residents, relatives and staff have been eager to start singing groups and I have been able to support the establishment of six care home choirs.  I lead two dementia choirs and Linden Voices based in the New Forest in September as part of BBC Music week 2019 were joined by the Lymington Infants School choir to sing together in celebration of this day.


On April 29th Fiona invited all homes to take part in International Dance day. She choreographed a short routine for residents and staff and as you will see, they displayed an impressive array of creativity and dance moves.


totton 1

Singing groups from five of our homes came together for a festival of contemporary music, to raise money for the music therapy charity KEYCHANGES.

totton 3

totton 2

Jack art

Art in homes: Admiring art gives residents the opportunity to appreciate paintings and the work of artists together. Using different mediums to create expressive pictures is very satisfying. Residents enjoy colouring patterns, copying images and creating their own shapes patterns by freely mark making. Jo tried water colour pencils and Jack used chalk pastels to recreate a flower garden.

jo Art

children at the Aldbury

Sharing our love of music with others

It has been lovely to get together with the people who live near our homes and young children visiting have really brightened everyone’s day. We were able to try some musical storytelling with the children and residents at The Aldbury’.

Have things changed during Lockdown?

During this period of Lockdown we have had to adapt how we offer social opportunities and music and arts activities, although different, managed to bring people together and share the moment whether this be in a small group, out in garden, entertaining the residents ourselves or joining with other homes via ZOOM.

The Andrews sisters

congress poster

Last year Fiona completed her MSc in Dementia studies and was invited to present her findings in a poster at the UK Dementia Congress in Doncaster.

This gave her the opportunity to share some of our best practice to a wider audience and enabled her to take part in workshops and find out what else is happening in the world of music and arts around the country.                       
Congress workshop

What do people say about Fiona?

"This afternoon's entertainment took the residents into a different world."
Ruth, visitor to The Aldbury

"The whole room was involved in Fiona's class and everyone was obviously enjoying themselves. She provided clear instructions so everyone could join in. What a fun session."
Visitor to The Aldbury

What do we hope the role will achieve?

We hope all our homes will benefit from this role in many different ways. The main shared objectives are:

Residents: joy from an improved sense of wellbeing.

Relatives: reassurance that their loved one is receiving specialist care and attention.

 Staff: inspiration from feeling reinvigorated about the work they do and how they do it. 

How do you contact Fiona?

By email: