An image of a Balhousie resident playing the bongos at a music therapy session.

Residents at Balhousie Lisden are feeling the power of music thanks to a local charity.

Nordoff & Robbins is holding music therapy sessions at the Kirriemuir home for the next six months, helping residents stay mentally and physically active.

The weekly visits, arranged by music therapist Kirsty McGonigle and Activities Coordinator Brenda Coutts, are particularly beneficial for those living with dementia.

It’s not only classics from years gone by, either. In fact, some of the most popular songs are modern hits.

Kirsty said: “When you do a music therapy session, particularly with people who are living with dementia, what you are looking for is engagement and responsiveness.

“The aim is to improve their mood and increase socialisation because for people with dementia, that can be more challenging. It’s really important to engage people in activities that stimulate the brain.

“We play older classics, but also some newer songs. You’d be surprised what gets the residents going; there’s one lady who loves Budapest by George Ezra and gets up and dances every time we play it.

“We don’t go in with the expectation we will only play old songs; the residents are at different stages of their dementia so they might also be stimulated by songs that provoke memories of their grandchildren. Including a wide range is really important for them.

“The sessions provoke movement, liveliness and happiness – a whole range of emotions that you can capture within a song.”

Several studies have shown music can have a hugely beneficial effect on people living with dementia by triggering memories and encouraging them to engage in activities.

The weekly sessions at Lisden complement the ongoing music and movement programme organised by danceSing across all 26 Balhousie homes.

Brenda added: “Our residents mean everything to us and it is wonderful to see them enjoying Kirsty’s music therapy sessions.

“The weekly visits have a profound and long-lasting impact on our residents’ mental and physical wellbeing, giving them the opportunity to recall memories and express themselves.

“Everyone looks forward to singing along, having a go on the instruments and having a great time, and it is fantastic to see them reaping the benefits.”