Q&A With Jacqui Sutton…
Congratulations to Jacqui Sutton who is September Woman of the Month May 2019
Jacqui is a bubbly and warm person. We met at a lunchtime networking event where we didn’t know many other people, by the sandwiches waiting for the go ahead to tuck in and waiting to see who would make the first move!
Jacqui started her own business in 2015 when she was at the September time of her life, a Community Interest Company (not for profit), called Power of Music and I asked her to tell us more about this exciting venture.
Where were you at in your working life before you started Power of Music?
I had a role as a commissioning manager for the county council. Part of my job was to work with services that were accessed by people with dementia and long term health conditions and their families.
Whilst working there I was the lead for dementia in Central Lancashire and was really interested in learning more about long term health conditions. Prior to that I was a project manager for carers at Peace of Mind 4 Carers, again working at the council.
What sparked the idea that you wanted to change paths from being a manager to a musician?
Whilst with the council I was working with people in care and residential settings and got to know and understand the services they provided. I started to do some voluntary work in those settings and found it very rewarding. I am a member of a saxophone quartet so we went into these care homes in our own time to play music for the residents and their families.
One particular time, care workers had been working with a lady who was in the later stages of dementia. She disengaged with the workers and others around her, was sat in a chair and wasn’t communicating or moving. At the end of one of our music sessions I was packing up the instruments with the others and a care worker approached me.
She told me that this lady, who had never interacted with anyone at all, had been moving and rocking along to the music from the saxophones. The worker said she heard the lady hum and make a sound through her throat, which she hadn’t done before. She was more animated than anyone had ever seen her. It was an emotional time for me and the carers and I realised how powerful music can be.
Since then, as I played in different services, I started looking for the changes in the people listening to the music and was amazed.
So how has the Power of Music grown?
We have been really busy since we started. I run the company on my own but have a great team of volunteers who are part of the services we provide. For example, we now have two choirs, called Songbirds, which practice weekly and perform at festivals and community events.
The saxophone quartet also offers taster sessions where we will play to residents of care settings, especially those caring for people with dementia or mental health issues. We play music that is familiar to the residents such as swing or classical. Glen Miller is a particular favourite with older people.
Recently we have set up a Singing for Health service. We would like to show how people living with a long term health condition can improve their health and wellbeing through the power of music. We incorporate breathing exercises and have worked with the British Lung Foundation, using music to help people with lung disease. We also facilitate sessions for people with dementia or who are rehabilitating following a stroke.
Finally, we have also encouraged singing and music with adult carers. It’s very rewarding to see the difference in how people feel when they walk into a room to how they feel when they walk out.
You are clearly very busy! However, do you have any plans for the future?
I would like to provide training and education to others on how to use music as a tool for helping people feel better and bringing them joy in health and social care. Music and singing is particularly effective when introduced to people whose behaviour is seen as challenging to others and is affecting their own quality of life.
Jacqui is a remarkable person! It’s amazing how, in later life, we can use our passions to help others and that we are rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing we are making a difference.
Find out more about The Power of Music
If you'd like to nominate someone for September Woman of the month, please contact me on email@example.com.
You don’t have to dig too far to see the special things that September Women do – we are all special.
There are only two requirements:
- Firstly that the nominee feels in the September time of their life, and
- Secondly that they are a woman, or that they have chosen to live as one
I look forward to receiving your nominations and featuring them!