Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 16:42 UK

Music therapy plan for patients

Euphor, a group of music students, played at the Healthy Sounds launch

Musical groups will be brought into hospitals across Wales in a bid to help patients, it has been announced.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it planned to invite local amateur groups to hospitals after research proved music's "therapeutic benefits".

More than 130 musical societies, such male voice choirs, orchestras and brass bands, have shown an interest in taking part in the Healthy Sounds scheme.

A grant of 25,000 has been allocated for the first year of the project.

A further 50,000 will be paid annually thereafter, the assembly government said.

Healthy Sounds was launched by health minister Edwina Hart and heritage minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

Ms Hart said: "Research shows that many long-term patients, especially those with dementia, respond well to live music and it can substantially improve their quality of life."

Everyone has been touched at sometime in their life by the therapeutic effects of music
Rhodri Glyn Thomas, heritage minister

Organised by Ty Cerdd on behalf of the assembly government, the scheme will see a number of live performances by small community amateur music groups to audiences of all ages in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Mr Thomas said: "Everyone has been touched at sometime in their life by the therapeutic effects of music."

Keith Griffin , director of Ty Cerdd, which works with around 400 amateur music groups around Wales, said they had received a "very enthusiastic response" from groups and hospitals across Wales.

He said it would "complement and develop the already valuable work that some hospitals have done with their artists-in-residence."

Helen Kinder, a final year student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff who is a member of euphonium quartet Euphor normally plays in schools and residential homes.

But after taking part in the Healthy Sounds launch, she said: "I think it was really worthwhile to take music into an environment like hospitals - playing music to people who perhaps wouldn't always have it and take the enjoyment we feel when performing to them."

Jim English, from Cwm Taf NHS Trust, said music had been played at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital for five years.

"To see the relatives bring down the patients in their wheelchairs and they sing along or sit there with their eyes closed - to me it's a benefit," he said.

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