SCO ReConnect - creative music making for people living with dementia


SCO ReConnect is a programme of interactive, creative music workshops for people living with dementia which is delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. The project aims to use live music to help improve patients’ and carers’ sense of well-being and quality of life, and to encourage the general use of music in the care setting.


SCO ReConnect aims to put patients at the heart of the musical experience. The sessions incorporate improvisation and interactive performances of varied musical repertoire, which might include songs from musicals, well known Scottish tunes, and popular hits from the past. Patients are invited and supported to join in by singing, playing instruments, dancing and listening. During workshops, SCO musicians perform and improvise around familiar melodies and spontaneously generate musical ideas to match the mood and musical preferences of the participants.

Around eight patients take part in each session and are encouraged to attend as many workshops as possible. Occupational therapists, members of the nursing staff, activity co-ordinators and family members also join in.

The programme is led by Dr Jane Bentley, a community musician who specialises in working in health, social care and wellbeing settings. Jane has been working with SCO musicians since 2013 to develop their skills in improvisation and to explore ways of interacting with people with dementia through music. A growing SCO team regularly devotes time and expertise to the project and in 2017, Peter Franks, Alison Green, William Stafford and Donald Gillan were joined by Su-a Lee and Eric de Wit.


In 2017, ReConnect workshops took place in a new residential care ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Due to the generosity of our funders we were able to expand the programme to run a series of 20 regular weekly sessions from July to December.

You can hear more about SCO ReConnect at our Pre-Concert Insights in January (free for concert ticket holders):

18 January 2018, 6.30pm, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh.
Dr Katie Overy, Director of the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development at the University of Edinburgh, in conversation with William Stafford (SCO Clarinet) and Donald Gillan (SCO Cello).

19 January 2018, 6.30pm, Glasgow City Halls
Dr Jane Bentley is joined by Alison Green (SCO Bassoon) and Peter Franks (SCO Principal Trumpet) to discuss the SCO ReConnect programme.

Kindly supported by
The E M Whittome 2013 Charitable Trust,
The Stafford Trust, J Macdonald Menzies Charitable Trust and The Pixel Fund.