Your Musical Memories

To celebrate the launch of our Music Matters e-Learning Course, our February competition invited residents and activity coordinators around the UK to spend time together listening to, talking about and sharing their happiest memories of music.

We had such a wonderful response, reminding us how special music is to our sense of self and our own happiness. A lot of us enjoy listening to music without being fully aware of its impact. Music has the power to shift mood, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.

Researchers have discovered that listening to certain songs from their past conjures up very real memories for people living with dementia. Listening regularly may even slow down the progression of the disease. Music improves memory, keeps the mind active, and makes people more able to express themselves, both verbally and nonverbally.

We had such fun reading your responses, and it was tricky to choose just four winners. Here are the winning entries, which will be adapted to become Daily Sparkle columns over the coming months, while the winning activity coordinators will get free access to our Music Matters e-Learning course.

Wendy Brklacich, Lunardi Court Care Home

Our resident John has an incredible musical knowledge that includes song titles, lyrics, musicians and release dates. John recalls that his father said he had an aptitude for humming tunes from a very young age. John likes pop/rock from the 1960s-70s, and amongst many seminal musicians, John said his favourite band is The Kinks and especially the song Death of a Clown performed by Dave Davies in 1967. He first heard that song when he was just 17 years old. John didn’t go to discos, but fondly remembers Radio Caroline and Radio One where he discovered new music, which he would then record onto a tape cassette. John even hummed his favourite song pitch-perfect for us today!

Brenda Gardner, Stocks Hall Residential

Brian is 77 years old and has a love of music. His favourite music is pop music and modern music – he loves Mario Lanza and Sid Lawrence but especially loves the Bee Gees. Brian used to go to watch lots of live acts at The Savoy on Clarence Road in Portsmouth, where he was lucky enough to see The Beatles perform before they were famous. The cost for this for the night was 1. Brian used to listen to his favourite music on a Hacker record player, and he loved going dancing at The Savoy every Friday. He told me that this was where he went smooching with all the girls, and his best chat-up line was: “I like your perfume.”

Kanina O’Neil, Aria Court

The general types of music our residents like are country, rock, pop and jazz – mainly the older varieties, however there are a few residents that like a more modern beat. Elvis, Daniel O’Donnell, Patsy Cline, Cliff Richard and Cher are favourites. Residents spoke about going to old dances and open air concerts in the summer, some where they met their lifelong partners. Residents also shared fond memories of listening to the radio with their parents on the wireless and playing old records on their radiograms. One resident in particular reminisced about going to dances where she would do the quickstep and jitterbug in Kilburn Dance Hall, and tap dancing at school assemblies as a child.

Mike Deacon, Kite Hill Nursing Home, Isle of Wight

“My name is Margaret. I love all music. As a girl during the war, I remember listening to Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields as a family around the radio. I joined the church choir as a contralto, where we enjoyed many favourite hymns from the Christian calendar. At Christmas, we sang carols in harmony for other local churches and the hospital. These were also special social occasions where we were guaranteed a good feast afterwards! We now enjoy musical quizzes and reminiscences which leads to spontaneous singing from great oldie tunes and musicals – if we cannot remember all the words, then we hum them!”

Thank you to everyone who took part – on behalf of the Daily Sparkle, and all your music-loving residents! Stay up to date with our latest competitions at