UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin and Music for Dementia’s Campaign Director Grace Meadows explain the importance of the Power of Music report, and why the recommendations need to be taken up now:
A first of its kind, this report sets out a big vision plan for how we can harness the untapped potential of music to enhance our health and wellbeing, as well as supporting our recovery and rehabilitation from the pandemic.
COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on our health and care systems and workforce, and on our country’s collective mental and physical health. There is an urgent need to reimagine health and social care in this country, and the need to do things differently is already being recognised by our health system.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) ‘Good for you, good for us, good for everybody’ plan, published in September 2021, recently set out a framework for reducing overprescribing to make patient care better and safer. Importantly, the report highlights the need to build upon important initiatives, such as social prescribing, to tackle the serious problem of overprescribing in health systems which has dramatically grown over the last 25 years.
We know that music has been effective in this area with music therapy reducing the need for anti-psychotic medication in 67% of people living with dementia. This has been further reinforced by a commitment from the DHSC Secretary of State for four million people to benefit from social prescribing by 2024, in a speech delivered in March 2022. This type of culture change around how we manage long term conditions is critical if we are to reduce the reliance on medicine.
We need to harness the power of music much more effectively to address some of these urgent and pressing societal needs. This moment presents us with a unique opportunity to do things differently with music.
This report sets out a fundamental repositioning of music in our collective consciousness as a public health tool and a community asset, alongside a bold set of practical, actionable recommendations to help us value music for its full worth.
We want music to be seen as a necessity and an essential part of our public health strategy, not a luxury for a few. We want to use music to help build communities, giving people greater access to musical opportunities.
To achieve this, it will require a commitment from everyone.
Now, more than ever, we need to harness the power of music to improve our health and wellbeing as we strive to do things differently.
The music’s calling.
Are you with us?