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  • Stories from Sheet Music - Leeds' Piano History
  • Monday, 4th March 2019

    Stories from Sheet Music - Leeds' Piano History

    This exciting new project will help people with dementia explore our collection of historic sheet music. We’ll be working with the Leeds International Piano Competition, one of the world’s foremost music competitions, to allow participants to experience piano music in a new way. Sheet music was a bestselling product at Marks & Spencer during the 1910s and 1920s, at a time when gathering round the piano was a popular form of entertainment for families; many stores would also have a pianist on the shop floor. The M&S Company Archive now holds a significant collection of sheet music including music for dancing, romantic songs, storytelling songs and folk music.

    We’ll be working with participants who use the Leeds Complex Needs Centres for people with dementia. Over eight weeks in September the group will listen to recordings of piano music, curate a recital and put together programme notes to help interpret the music for others. The programme notes and recordings of the selected music will be made available online for community groups, schools and care homes to download and run their own activity sessions. The project will also lead to a temporary exhibition at the M&S Company Archive, so the participants will be able to see their hard work on display to the public!

    We know that music can benefit older people and those with dementia by reducing anxiety, lifting mood and helping to maintain speech and language. As well as the sheet music, we’ll use archive objects as memory aids and conversation starters to give context to the music - reminiscence can be a valuable activity for people living with dementia.

    Follow us on Twitter @mandsheritage to follow our project!

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