Wye Valley Music in Mind

(For details of the Music Memory Café, click here.)
  • What We Do: Bring live music and music therapy to people living with dementia. We work with young musicians, both current students and recent graduates, providing them with dementia-training and, where appropriate, pairing them with an experienced music therapist. We also offer individual music therapy sessions and ‘training the carers’ workshops.
  • Why We Do It: In recent years, a growing body of research has identified the positive effect music can have on people living with dementia. Three separate studies, conducted between 2017–2019, found evidence of multiple specific benefits of music therapy to those living with dementia, even to the extent of reducing the need for antipsychotic drug treatments and hospital stays. In response, 2020 saw the start of a new national campaign led by the charity Music for Dementia. They issued a challenge to organisations at every level, from government departments to healthcare providers to arts companies, large and small: to make music an everyday part of dementia care, from diagnosis through to end of life and with economic status no barrier to provision. WVMiM intends to rise to this challenge. Moreover, in working with young musicians, providing them with training and vital early work experience, we hope to build a lasting legacy for our programme. We are very grateful to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of South Wales for the support they have given us and we look forward to building close ties with them both in the future.

  • For 2021: We launched our pilot-scheme this summer, in partnership with Severn View Local Authority Care Home, Chepstow. We offered a programme of three interactive music sessions for residents and a music therapy workshop for care home staff. Wye Valley Music received generous private sponsorship to support this new venture.   

  • And Beyond: We plan to secure further funding and extend our programme across the Lower Wye Valley, in both care home and community settings. In January 2022, we are launching a Music Memory Café in the St Briavels Assembly Rooms, for anyone concerned about memory loss or living with a diagnosis of dementia, along with their family members and carers. Click here for more information.

Participants with whom we are working in 2021:

Nikkila Thomas – singer

Cerys Rees – harpist

Vicky Guise – music therapist

Severn View Local Authority Care Home, Chepstow

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

University of South Wales, Music Therapy Department


Pilot Scheme Update, 2021:

Our pilot scheme at Severn View Local Authority Care Home concluded in September, after three interactive music sessions, performed by singer Nikkila Thomas and harpist Cerys Rees, and a ‘training the carers’ workshop for care home staff, led by music therapist Vicky Guise. The response was inspiring, with several normally non-verbal residents prompted to singalong with the musicians and to recall childhood memories as Nikkila and Cerys talked to them afterwards. The magic of music! We are now planning our follow-up programme for 2022.

We were also delighted that her time on the pilot scheme has led to a new part-time job for Nikkila (see her biography on the Music Memory Café page for more details). And we hope that Cerys’s words sum up the experience for them both: 

“I have really enjoyed every moment of it and it has confirmed to me that I would like to continue working within outreach and with the elderly. I have been very proud when I have told people what I have been doing this summer.”


Wye Valley Music

Founded 1967
Registered Charity 1092645

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