Community Workshops

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Drumvoice has a therapeutic effect on Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers…

DRUMVOICE provides an exercise class with a difference for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers – and is asked back for more!

Sarah Westwood, Director of Drumvoice, delivered an interactive drumming workshop on behalf of South Birmingham NHS for the benefit of 20 patients and their carers. The class has met weekly for a year and wanted something special to celebrate their first anniversary.

Sarah Pickles, Senior Community Physiotherapist for South Birmingham NHS and winner of the prestigious 2010 ‘Physiotherapist of the Year’ award, runs the class and provides invaluable physical support and encouragement to all its attendees.

Sarah said she was delighted with the positive effect the session had on the people in her care.

She said, “Music-making may not be the first thing one thinks of in seeking means to support sufferers from physical illness and disability, even though it has long been understood that ‘Music is medicine for the mind’.

But there is no doubt that, for the Multiple Sclerosis patients belonging to the Exercise Class that meets regularly in South Birmingham, the African drumming sessions that Sarah offers have been a wonderful encouragement.

This activity is strikingly inclusive: about 20 patients and carers sit together in a circle and create a musical piece on a range of traditional African instruments using simple techniques and patterns that Sarah demonstrates.

While it is indicated how ideas can be developed and cross-rhythms built, enough to challenge the most adept, all participants (some with marked physical impairment) experience a full sense of hands-on involvement without embarrassment or feeling of exposure.

The sense of mental and physical satisfaction in the final musical result is very warm, and reinforces the mutually supportive identity of the group.

Sarah has excellent inter-personal skills. She maintains an unvaryingly positive atmosphere in her classes and there is always a strong forward momentum which is very compelling.

It is no surprise to learn that her personality coupled with her unusual and appealing specialism proves as great a success with school-children as indeed it does with a wide range of adult groups.“

We are already looking forward to the next session,” added Sarah.