There has been a positive change in the attention and understanding given to people with neurodegenerative diseases over the last decade. The impacts upon loved ones and carers are being recognized and those coping with such conditions are able to discuss their experiences and needs more openly than in the past. People with these diseases are sharing their experiences, discussing the effects, and considering their futures in ways that help to build understandings and to develop affective support. Particular areas of the arts, such as therapeutic drama or fine art therapy, have long been utilized to assist with a variety of mental and physical conditions. Covering areas such as depression, Parkinson’s Disease, and dementia, this panel of experts will share knowledge about the relevance and use of performance to assist people who are affected by such conditions.
Building Bridges Between Music and Communication for People with Dementia
Among the changes and declines experienced by people with dementia is the increasing difficulty with communication via language. Even at the mild stage of dementia, people can have problems finding words (anomia), comprehending what is said to them, and expressing themselves. These difficulties will only worsen over time, and most would have lost their communication ability via language towards the later stages of dementia. This presentation is about using music and movement as a mode of communication for them to relate and interact with others and to express themselves without making them feel incompetent and cognitively stressed out.
A Practical Research on Dementia Through Creating, Performing, and Teaching
Wong Su Sun
The involvement of pop singing students in an opera, working with themes that require research and sensitivity, enriches their dramatic and interactive experiences beyond their usual performance practice. The speaker will share the team’s approaches to creating and delivering an opera work that is performable by non-classical musicians and singers. The presentation will also touch on the possibility of community touring with such work to raise awareness on the importance of intergenerational support to mitigate suffering from this incurable disease.
The team consists of:
Scene director – Nora Samosir
Composer – Dr Chen Zhangyi
Playwright – Jean Tay
Film Director – Lim Zi Yu
Applied Theatre as Remediation for Depression and Anxiety in People with Parkinson’s Disease
There are two parts to the presentation. The first part provides general information about people with Parkinson’s disease and how research has been done on the ameliorating effects of acting improvisation and applied theatre on the emotional and psychological symptoms of the disease. The second part will be a Zoom recording and/or live presentation of a children’s poem with some movement performed by Jaekah Chase, a person with Parkinson’s and my wife. We will also share the process of working on the piece and its efficacy.
Situating Music Therapy across River of Life Dr Tan Xueli This presentation focuses on the situatedness of music therapy as a therapeutic intervention in healthcare settings to address an individual’s sojourn through seasons of well-living, living with illnesses or diseases, living with disabilities, and leaving well at the end of life. In this river of life framework, I will expound on the dynamic flexibility of the application of music in therapeutic contexts by credentialled music therapists in working with people living with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and palliative care patients at a community hospital setting.
Programme Leader, Diploma in Performance, LASALLE College of the Arts
Dr Wong Su Sun
Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts
Co-facilitator, Dementia Singapore Voices for Hope
Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Acting, LASALLE College of the Arts
Dr Tan Xueli
Principal Music Therapist, Music Therapy Lead and Research Lead, St. Luke’s Hospital, Singapore
Matt Grey has been acting and teaching drama related subjects for over 25 years. He trained under exemplary teachers at Julia Gabriel’s in Singapore and qualified with a Licentiate from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He currently manages the Diploma in Performance at LASALLE College, University of the Arts Singapore. He holds a masters degree in Arts Pedagogy and Practice and is undertaking PhD research into Voice and Speech for Performers.
Dr Wong Su Sun holds a Bachelor Degree in Music; Master in Music; and Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Voice from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. She was the winner of the Soprano Prize at the International Donizetti Opera Competition in Italy (1998); Meritorious Award of COMPASS (2013); Singapore University and Social Science Merit Teaching Award (2018) and Honorable Mention for the university’s Excellent Teaching Award (2020). She is a part-time lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts’ degree and diploma programmes as well as United World College of South East Asia.
Emily Ong is a consumer and patient advocate, trainer, speaker, facilitator, and program content developer in dementia-related topics based on lived experience, academic reading, and grassroot involvement.
She has been a co-facilitator of Dementia Singapore Voices for Hope program since 2019. Emily is the current Board Member of the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). She is a member of Dementia Alliance International (DAI) and co-founder and project lead of the DAI Environmental Design Special Interest Group (EDSiG). In addition to these roles, she also serves in the Global Review Panel of the ADI Accreditation Team, focus group member of the WHO Global Dementia Observatory Knowledge Exchange, and SingHealth Patient Advocacy Network.
Jeffrey Guyton graduated from the University of Michigan in 1977, studied ballet at the Joffrey Ballet School, and worked as the movement coach and actor at the storied Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. There he received several awards including a Tyrone Guthrie grant to study stage combat in London, England. He completed work on a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Missouri in 1983 and established a lifelong career as an actor in the regional theater circuit in the United States and also performed in England, at the Watford Palace Theatre. He taught acting improvisation and technique at Cornell University from 2006 to 2016 while also performing plays there as a guest artist. He is a founding member of the The Cherry Arts Collective in Ithaca, NY and the president of the board of the The Gilgamesh Theatre Company in NYC. He is currently Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Acting Programme at Lasalle College of the Arts. His mother, Joanne Guyton-Simmons was Associate Dean of Nursing at the Ohio Medical College and his wife, Jaehah is currently gracefully and successfully living with Parkinson’s Disease in Ithaca, NY and is a massage therapist. He thanks them both for supporting and educating him through his life and career in the theatre.
Dr. Tan is a board-certified music therapist with a doctorate degree from the University of Iowa (USA). She is currently the Principal Music Therapist/Music Therapy Lead and Research Lead at St. Luke’s Hospital in Singapore. For close to 30 years, Dr. Tan worked as a music therapy clinician, researcher, author, scientific journal editor, and professor in USA and Norway. An award-winning researcher, Dr. Tan’s areas of specialization are in pain management, rehabilitation, music perception, music preferences in clinical settings, cultural humility and responsiveness in clinical practice.