Press Release

‘Moving into the Light’ with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Published on 10 May 2021

Members of a University of Dundee support group for adults with the language impairment condition aphasia have worked with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) to create music that explores their ideas about the journey out of lockdown.

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Tap and Talk aphasia iPad group zoom sessions showing everyone on their webcams

Tap and Talk aphasia iPad group zoom sessions

Members of a University of Dundee support group for adults with the language impairment condition aphasia have worked with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) to create music that explores their ideas about the journey out of lockdown.

Participants from the University’s Tap and Talk Group and from the Headway Dundee and Angus group have collaborated with composer Matilda Brown and RSNO musicians on the online programme. The final composition was launched on YouTube today.

The creative engagement project was for people within Tayside who have had a stroke or acquired brain injury. It is a Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust ST/ART initiative supported by NHS Tayside in collaboration with the RSNO’s learning and engagement programme in Dundee, which is supported by Northwood Charitable Trust. 

Over the past four months, participants worked with Matilda and musicians Jacquie Speirs and Ursula Heidecker Allen and received additional support from ST/ART Project Coordinator Chris Kelly and University Computing lecturer Rolf Black.

Orchestrated through a series of weekly Zoom meetings, Matilda encouraged the participants to work in a variety of ways, from simple rhythm and note selection exercises through to poetic writing and keyboard compositions. 

The concept of a journey out of lockdown emerged from the creative process and developed into a metaphorical train trip through different landscapes and stations, each inspired by individuals within the group. Jacquie and Ursula responded to different ideas during the sessions illustrating how changes in pace or key could alter a piece of music and so help the participants to decide how the work should develop.

At the end of the 10 weeks Matilda was then able to take all the elements that had been devised and refine them into the finished composition, ‘Moving into the Light’. A Covid-safe recording session with Jacquie and Ursula, alongside Matilda’s own recordings and editing with a visual accompaniment, were included in the 40-minute YouTube presentation shared today.

Rolf, who established the Tap and Talk group in collaboration with NHS Tayside, said, “We are immensely proud of everyone who was part of this virtual workshop which was the first to be run entirely online via Zoom. It demonstrates how our collaborations with Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust is at the forefront of exploring new ways of interacting creatively online during lockdown with no meetings on campus possible.

“After other hugely successful workshops, including on film poetry and stop animation, we all have enormously enjoyed this brilliant collaboration with professional musicians and composers.”

Composer and programme lead, Matilda Brown, said, “This was an exciting challenge to work remotely with a group of participants with communication and physical impairments. We built a strong bond through the programme that allowed us to overcome any difficulties and share a musical vision that represented us all. Working with people both as a group and individually ensured we carried everyone along on the journey.”

The RSNO programme is one of a range of art programmes for people with long term conditions currently being delivered by Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust, which promotes creative engagement with the arts to enhance participant’s health and wellbeing.

Moving Into The Light can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hcV5BbI9Sc&feature=youtu.be.

Enquiries

Grant Hill

Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768

G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk