‘Resonance’ - CSO Musicians and Painting with Parkinsons

There are a number of reasons why Painting with Parkinsons views its collaboration with CSO musicians as significant and engaging:

- it represents a significant development in an art therapeutic context not only for people living with Parkinson's but also potentially for those living with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Considerable research highlights the importance of music in activating certain neurological centres in the brain and in particular the generation and release of dopamine – a critical component in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. This project and particularly the accompanying exhibition will not only highlight the vitality and aesthetic quality of the artwork but will raise awareness and promote the physical and psychological benefits of similar programs which could be implemented across a range of disability and aged care communities. The ageing of the population and the often limited capacity to run meaningful therapeutic programs in these areas highlights a critical need to pioneer such initiatives.

- this project is viewed as a significant extension to a program which has been operating successfully for 20 years. Renowned sound therapist Elizabeth Pilgrab worked briefly with the group exploring sound and movement – the success of these sessions provided the basis for using sound and music as the basis for painting.

There are 5 tutors who have been working with the Painting with Parkinsons program since its inception (1995), all of whom are practicing visual artists. The integration of individual musicians into the program is seen as a powerful means to extend the strategies for therapy and arts practice. Music has the capacity to operate on an intuitive and emotional level and enables visual expression particularly for those lacking in confidence or ‘frozen’ by the symptoms of the condition (in both dementia and Parkinson’s). This direct engagement with music enriches the program on a number of levels – both formally and thematically it will elicit qualitatively different experiences for the participants invoking a distinctive use of colour, mark and materials as well as a transformation in content and subject matter.

 Please see also the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s website.