Margaret Murphy, much-loved mum and grandmother, accomplished pianist and entertainer and one of the first people that Playlist for Life worked with, passed away earlier this month aged 86. 


We first met Margaret when her daughter Jan contacted Playlist for Life in 2014. Margaret had been diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and had begun to withdraw into herself and Jan was keen to find out whether a playlist would help to improve her mum's quality of life. Jan told us how her mum had the ability to play the piano by ear which meant she could transpose any melody into any key and play any song without the need for music.


Margaret’s son Martin arranged for her piano to be brought to the care home she moved to in 2010. Our deputy chair Andy Lowndes visited Margaret with Jan and was able to film Margaret playing again. In this clip you can see how easily the music comes back to Margaret and the joy it brings her... you can see how her face lights up, her whole demeanour changes, and she starts engaging again with the people around her.



Jan created a playlist for her mum that included many of her favourite piano pieces alongside a range of other music including ABBA’s Dancing Queen, which would always get Margaret’s feet tapping.


“Mum's playlist gave me a positive focus and helped me to reconnect with my mum. When she put on her headphones for the first time, she put her hands on my face and said 'Thank you for the music'. We listened to her music until she passed away. It gave us both great comfort.” 


We wish Jan, Martin and their family the very best at this difficult time. 


Margaret and Jan