Beyond the score – Music, Dementia and Wellbeing

Xiaoxiao Hou

xiaoxiao hou giving a presentation on music and dementia using the guzhong to illustrate practical applications
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Date and time
20 June 2024
6.30 pm

Cross Street Chapel
Cross Street,
Manchester M2 1NL

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£15.00 (non-members)

Wheelchair accessible



In this event, talented performer and PhD student Xiaoxiao Hou will guide us on an exploration of the application of music psychology to daily life. We will unravel the intricate connections between melody and the human psyche, and examine how a nuanced understanding of music psychology enhances wellbeing, elevates performance, and enriches cognitive processes.

Xiaoxiao Hou will introduce her current doctoral project, Music and Dementia. This research project focuses on the therapeutic potential of music in the care of elderly people and those with Dementia. Xiaoxiao will discuss the methods we can use to understand the transformative potential that music plays in our lives and how this can support our relationships with those whose practical memories are fading.

There is increasing evidence that musical memory may be different to the kind of day to-day memories that can be affected by Dementia. Music can go to places where other things do not. And the shared experience and friendships that enjoying music together may bring can also have a positive benefit.

Xiaoxiao has had personal experience of how music can affect memory, and her talk will offer a personal take on how music applications can enhance our lives. Her grandmother, a talented performer on the guzheng (Chinese zither) developed Dementia but was able to perform relatively late into her illness. This gave Xiaoxiao an insight into how music can influence our capacity to adapt to challenges and a desire to help people with this condition.

She will also explore how music applications need to consider the impact that culture and background have on the practical implementation of this tool. Music should be specifically tailored to the choices of individuals – and people with Dementia are well able to express their preferences.

xaoxiao hou

Xaoxiao Hou

Xiaoxiao (筱潇 xiǎo xiāo) mastered the piano at three and guzheng at five. Embracing both classical and modern themes, she has graced stages in China and the UK, demonstrating a unique expressive style and captivating international audiences.

She is now delving into the transformative impact of music on well-being and memory. Her degrees in Music Education, Musicology, and Applied Psychology, have provided a rich foundation for her current Ph.D. project at the University of Liverpool, where she seamlessly navigates Psychology, Public Health, and Music to unravel the therapeutic potential of music.

Beyond the notes and chords, Xiaoxiao Hou has emerged as a prominent advocate for diversity, equality, and human rights, resonating not only within the university but also within the Chinese community in Liverpool. Her narrative intertwines the beauty of musical expression with the profound dimensions of psychology, creating a compelling story of how music can shape both individual and collective wellbeing.

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