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Welcome to the UHBW #HospitalArts Audio Advent 2020


Although this year we are unable to have choirs and performers on site, we are pleased that this replacement online programme is accessible to everyone, at all times of the day and night. Open one window of this Audio Advent calendar each day, or several all at once (we won’t tell!)


Why does sound and music matter?

The UHBW Arts and Culture Programme was created in 2018 to improve the ‘aesthetic experience’ of being in hospital for staff, students, volunteers, visitors and patients. The Arts and Culture Strategy was approved by the Trust board in June 2019.  The activities and opportunities included are deliberately multi-sensory and encompass all art forms, including art and design, creative writing, film, dance, food and horticulture. Addressing sound and acoustics, and providing for music, are key parts of the programme.  


Art and culture activities align with the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. As you will see from the diverse themes that we explore this month, it is possible to follow all of the five ways to wellbeing through music.


Connect – Be active – Take notice – Learn – Give.

A bit of history

Before 2018 there was already a programme of Music Therapy for children and ad hoc music happening in the adult hospitals, particularly in the run up to Christmas. The first Audio Advent in 2018 brought together staff, patients, volunteers and visitors in a live programme of carol singing, choir singing, live instrumental music and readings on wards, in public spaces and outpatients waiting rooms. Musicians included pianists, guitar playing singer songwriters, and instrumental chamber groups representing students from UWE and Bristol University, as well as staff. 


Since then, at St Micheal’s Hospital, consultants Beth, Ziju and colleagues have continued to present pop up ‘corridor concerts’ and more recently have made the use of outdoor space on the rooftops, sharing their passion for music, as you can see here.


Singing for lung health.jpg

Photo credit: Singing For Lung Health

dancing .jpg

Photo credit: Paul Blakemore


Photo credit: Jeff Spicer

In 2019 The Piano Shop Bath kindly donated ten pianos and stools to the Trust so that each hospital site could be provided with a musical ‘hub’. Each piano stool was provided with simple ‘easy to play’ sheet music, signs invited players to share the gift of music and listeners were invited to ‘text to donate’ to Above and Beyond.  A call out was made for volunteers to come and play. This attracted experienced musicians, some of whom had also been, or still were, patients. (More about this in another Advent Calendar window)


Owing to the pandemic, in 2020 it will not be possible to have members of the public play live onsite. The sound and music programme will be delivered online instead, through this 24 item Audio Advent calendar with a new theme each day.


Despite the pandemic, we think it’s really important to continue to provide music in hospitals in whatever ways we can safely do so.


Arts and Health research indicates that:

  • music calms patients and visitors

  • music changes perceptions of waiting times

  • music provides comfort and stimulus for social conversation

  • playing music can relieve stress for staff

  • playing and sharing music provides a point of connection outside of defined roles


For further information, see Music, Health and Wellbeing by MacDonald, Kreutz and Mitchell (2012) and research work of Dr Daisy Fancourt for the World Health Organisation.

Here to remind us all about the simple pleasures of singing is one of our music therapists Karen, funded by Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal with Alex from the play team! Karen's song ‘Just Sing’ is all about doing the little things we enjoy to look after our health, staying safe and singing to have fun! Click on the link to watch the full song. 

Bristol Cathedral is live streaming daily services on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. 

Tuesday to Saturday

9.30am Morning Prayer, 12.30pm Lunchtime Eucharist, 3.30pm Evening Prayer, 

Sunday Eurcharist 10.00am 

See website for details of Advent services

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