A THERAPEUTIC musician, accompanied by her dog, created a ‘sonic haven’ at a Musselburgh nursing home with a performance on the cello.

Dr Claire Garabedian and her nine-year-old terrier Rusty visited Harbour House, near Fisherrow Harbour, where she met residents, relatives and staff.

She played well-known songs such as My Bonnie, You Are My Sunshine and Over The Rainbow, free improvisations and classical music.

She said: “Between tunes, I asked and welcomed questions, and I explained a bit about what music can do towards encouraging connection and engagement – a sonic haven – and what I do as a therapeutic musician.”

Rusty, who Claire rehomed last November, was also a big hit with the audience. She said: “He is partially blind with cataracts and a social opportunist. He simply loves being around people and is very gentle and intuitive.”

Claire, who lives near Harbour House, would like to extend her performances in nursing and care homes to people living in their own homes.

She said: “While playing for a small group is fun and effective, the smaller the group, all the way down to one-to-one, the more effectively the music can be towards facilitating connection.”

Claire is a professional cellist, baroque cellist and therapeutic musician whose doctoral and post-doctoral research focuses on effectively using the arts, especially music, as a means of engagement and a connection with people who are living with dementia, including family and friends.

She said: “I’ve found that music can generate connections and equality among all who are present – listening or playing music together regardless of any physical/cognitive conditions.”

Claire has enjoyed sharing her knowledge and experiences on some big stages, such as the Hay Festival and BBC Radio 4 (Saturday Live).

A Harbour House spokesperson said: “The residents said they found Claire’s performance both calming and relaxing. Some commented on how the songs played brought back some fond memories. There was lots of reminiscing following Claire’s visit.”

More information about Claire and her work can be found at drclairegarabedian.com