Music Mirrors

Practice-based reflections on the development and uses of audio biographical cues to support people living with dementia and other long-term conditions


  • Heather Edwards Honorary Researcher, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust


This article is a practice-based account of the development and use of a person-centred digital resource called 'Music Mirrors'. This approach was developed by the author, who works as a community musician with people living with dementia, their carers and families. Making a Music Mirror is a simple but effective way of capturing key biographical links with sounds and music that are a significant part of the soundworld of a person living with dementia. When used sensitively within an ongoing personal relationship (with a carer, family member) a Music Mirror offers the possibility of finding and sustaining bridges of communication and understanding otherwise threatened by cognitive decline. Recently the idea has also found interest within other social care and health fields where people are struggling with cognitive challenges and their effects. The article gives a personal account of the 'discovery' of the idea, its practical applications, and discusses its implications for using music within person-centred care in terms of opportunities and challenges. The article does not aim to discuss current research but touches on the important difference between the Music Mirrors approach and the currently more popular 'playlist' approaches.

KEYWORDS: Dementia; person centred care; digital music resources; biographical cues