Thank you for becoming one of Universal’s Music Detectives!

You are going to use your love and knowledge of music to change the life of someone with dementia by helping to build their playlist for life. 

Research shows that if you can find that playlist for life - all the music that is personally meaningful to a person with dementia - then it can help them to:

  • Recall memories and abilities thought lost,
  • Manage mood and restore a sense of self in a world that feels increasingly alien
  • Provide a focus for connection and engagement with family, friends and staff.

What do Music Detectives do?

Music Detectives start by preparing a longlist of potential songs and tunes based upon the life story and experience of the person with dementia they are working with.  The music detective will start by finding out about the person’s life and then selecting songs based upon that.

So, for example, if the person was born in the 1930s in Wales and was in a skiffle band in their younger years, the detective would probably want to include some hits from the ‘50s, some skiffle music, and some traditional Welsh songs.

Or, alternatively, if the person was born in London in the ‘50s, of Jamaican heritage, and active in Rock Against Racism, the detective might select some top hits from the early '70s, some traditional Jamaican music the person’s parents might have listened to, and music from some of the bands associated with Rock Against Racism.

The longlist is then played to the person to see which songs they respond to then whittled down depending on the response.

Playlist for Life is building a bank of specialist playlists for loved ones and family members to use as a starting point for making that longlist.

The Universal Music Detectives

Playlist for Life started by making a playlist for every year of the last century. Now we need you and your music knowledge and interests to expand this bank of specialist, expert playlists. These will be uploaded to the Playlist for Life app to be used as a starting point for a family member or carer starting out on making a playlist.

Whatever your area of musical expertise, please share it with us in playlist form. Here are some ideas of the kind of things we’re looking for:

  1. Geographical: we’re very keen to make more geographical playlists. Dementia does not respect national boundaries and we need our app to support the heritage of everyone in the UK. So your playlist might be built around folk songs, local festivals, or songs in other languages. E.g. 'Welsh folk songs', ‘Jamaican lullabies’, ‘Hits of the 60s from Uganda’ or 'Traditional songs of Bangladesh'
  2. Sports: e.g. World Cup songs by year, songs associated with a team, or well-known Olympic music such as Torvill and Dean's Bolero.
  3. Musical Movements: e.g. the top songs of punk, or ska, or country and western etc
  4. World Events: e.g. Live Aid, Rock against Racism, the miners' strike, political theme songs
  5. Classical Music: e.g. choral numbers, last night at the proms, top opera arias
  6. TV & Radio: e.g. children’s TV shows, film soundtracks by decade, advertising theme tunes

Please remember that many of the people who will use your playlist will be aged 60-90, so you might want to think about music that would resonate with parents or grandparents.

What you need to do

There are two ways you can share your playlist with us.

  1. Press the green button to send us the url link to a playlist you have made publicly available on Spotify. (Currently we only take playlists  made on Spotify, not other providers, because they can be transferred automatically to our app). 
  2. Press the orange button to build a playlist track by track, by copying urls from Spotify for each individual tune. 

And that’s it! We will make your playlist available to people with dementia through our app, which you can download free from the App Store.

If you have any problems or want to discuss any of this please click on the Contact Us button at the top of the page. 

Thank you for becoming part of the Playlist for Life family.