Singing for the Brain – How can I get involved?

I have been overwhelmed with emails and messages from people who are interested in Singing for the Brain, who would like to train as leaders, or who would like to take their friend or relative to a group.

This is wonderful because it says to me there are lots of people who are convinced that singing really makes a difference to the lives of people living with dementia, and their friends, families and carers; and it also says there are many people who are prepared to train to do this work – fantastic news!

There are several different roles in a Singing for the Brain group. The most obvious one is Singing Facilitator, although this role is supported by volunteers, either specific ‘singing volunteers’ who might be called upon to lead a section of the group in part of a round, and volunteers who might not consider themselves ‘singers’ but who help out with tea and coffee, welcoming people and giving out name badges if these are used, arranging the chairs, assisting with the giving out of books, and helping people find their page numbers or to use different percussion instruments. It’s important also to recognise the hard work the dementia support workers (employed by the Alzheimer’s Society) put in to make these groups happen, and the support we have from the mental health trust who send Community Psychiatric Nurses and Occupational Therapists to be additional supports.

There is some Singing facilitator and volunteer training available on an ad hoc basis, mainly based in the South West region as this is currently the only place where there is a Singing for the Brain Co-ordinator. If you don’t live in this region, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your local Alzheimer’s Society office to find out if there is something going on in your area, or to register your interest. For more information, please visit the Alzheimer’s Society website page on Singing for the Brain:

11 thoughts on “Singing for the Brain – How can I get involved?

  1. debby tyndall

    I am a singing and voice specialist, I run singing sessions focusing on health and well being in a variety of health care settings, community and day centres. I also deliver workshops and training for carers and staff.

  2. Rachel Post author

    Hi Debby – it’s so good to hear about other fantastic work being done. Where are you based? It would be good to hear about the training you run too… I’d love to hear more.

    Best wishes,


  3. debby tyndall

    Hi Rachel – I’m based in Brighton and I run singing workshops and training for teachers, parents and carers covering vocal health and well being, how to use singing to help kids learn in both mainstream and special educational needs schools. I also do one to one and group sessions for children and adults in healthcare settings as well as privately. I am very interested in the thereputic nature and connections that can be made through music and singing for the brain.

  4. Fran

    I am very keen to volunteer for training to sing with a Singing for the Brain group. I have sung, solo and in choirs, for most of my life and am interested in this very worthy cause. I do not know if there is a group near me, however, as I live in the east of the New Forest, close to Christchurch and Bournemouth. Can you advise please, or, if not, can you direct me to someone who would be able to advise. With thanks

  5. Rachel Post author

    Hello, thanks for your comment – sorry it’s taken me so long to find it. The best thing to do is contact your local Alzheimer’s Society office who can help you to volunteer and advise you about the different groups in the area. Good luck x

  6. Marilyn Gentle-Walsh

    I am a classically trained soul vocalist who has had worked with youth theatres (delivery vocal and performance coaching), workshops as a pre cursor to gigs and more recently volunteering and working with the Camden Society’s Unknown Band (band of 30 years comprised of adults with various learning difficulties/abilities). I am very interested in training as a leader, I have contacted my local alzheimer’s society (lewisham) and there does not appear to be a Singing For The Brain in the Lewisham and surrounding area and, budgets allowing of course, I would love to change that. Watching the affect that music has on young people, adults with special needs and more recently the carers at a workshop, is wonderful and I would like the opportunity to spread this around, and yours seems the perfect format/forum. Please can you let me know where the nearest/next training sessions are near me and if there is anyone one (a sessional leader) that I could speak to in more detail/face to face. I look forward to hearing from you. Keep on keeping on your work is wonderful.

  7. Rachel Post author

    Hi Marilyn,
    Thanks for your interest and kind words. Singing for the Brain is the ‘brand’ of the singing groups rolled out by the Alzheimer’s Society. I don’t know of any Alzheimer’s Society training for SFTB leaders at the moment. However, there are a variety of organisations providing training and support for people wanting to do singing and health… cue next blog post. I’ll let you know if I hear anything further. All the best!

  8. Kerry Brabant

    I am a Singing for the Brain Leader and have been for 4 years and I am thinking of setting up a training workshop just because I get so many requests and support for people who already run sessions or would like to run sessions does seem a bit patchy but wasn’t sure whether there was a real need. I am hoping to pilot a course in Hertfordshire in at the beginning of next year. I would start in Hertfordshire and initially would run course within the M25 just to see what the response is. I have a back ground of running workshops from spending many years developing programmes for people working with children and young people with severe emotional and behavioural problems. If people are interested I would love to find out what they might want from training and how I can support them

  9. Debbie Clayden

    I am secretary to the recently formed Tenterden Dementia Friendly Community group and we are wanting to set up a Singing For The Brain group for our local area.
    We would definitely be interested to enrol our volunteer singing leaders in some training sessions and may be able to find some funds through willing parties, to host a training day here in Tenterden. I would like to hear from anyone with experience in training and leading Singing For The Brain groups to see if we can get something off the ground very soon.

  10. Pauline Silver

    I have just started as a volunteer once a week at a Dementia Centre in North West London – I live near Harrow and have worked as a music teacher for Early Years (nursery and reception classes) for many years. I have also done some one-to-one music therapy with 2 young adults which produced good results (with no official training). I play the piano and to a lesser extent some guitar and have sung in a choir for 39 years. I love sharing music and feel an affinity with the young and the old. Can you suggest any day courses or sessions which would help me facilitate singing sessions at the Dementia Centre?
    Thank you.
    (Mrs.) Pauline Silver

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