Focus on Sunbeams Musician: Sally Wilson

Cumbria born and bred, Sally started her musical life by learning recorder and clarinet at primary school in Windermere, before moving on to saxophone and piano in secondary school.

She went to study Music at The University of York, where she completed both her BA in Music and an MA in Community Music. During her Masters year, she worked with a Community Musician Fiona Chapman, who has set up a very successful music project in the care homes in York. This work formed the basis of Sally’s dissertation studying the uses of music therapy with dementia sufferers.

It was at this time that Sally’s grandmother started showing symptoms of dementia. Ellen had been a singer for much of her life, and singing was her life, and her musical memory lasted long after other cognitive functioning failed. Music became the key to communication and formed a powerful bond between the two of them towards the end.

During this time Sally also found Sunbeams and sent her CV in to be scrutinised…

After a few taster sessions, Sally has become a valuable member of the Sunbeams team, contributing to the delivery of ‘Music For Life’ in the BBC Children In Need sessions in Kendal.  She also delivers music sessions in St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston, Grizedale Care Home and the Community Hospital in Alston, as well as 2 Residential Homes in the South Lakes, where she lives (Abbey Care Home, Staveley and Riverside House, Kendal).

She also works in the office for two days a week helping with grant applications, planning events, and providing the occasional baked goods (!).

“After University, I knew that I wanted to use my musical training to help people in some way, particularly after my personal experiences of the power of music to help those suffering from dementia. I’ve been with Sunbeams just over a year now, and it feels like I’ve been here forever! I am constantly learning new skills, and it’s wonderful to see the benefits of the projects which Sunbeams delivers to disadvantaged and disabled people in Cumbria.”


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