Music app brings grandmother’s singing voice back

Ginette at the Peggy Dodd day centre in Bath

A grandmother with dementia who was born in Mauritius has rediscovered her love of singing in French thanks to a music app.

Ginette Koonjean, 71, who had formerly been part of a choir, stopped singing in French years ago after her condition deteriorated but has now begun again after using MindHarp, a tool which can be played on an iPad.

Her son, Louis, 45, a recruitment manager at TMP Bristol, said: “She doesn’t remember any song really and then out of nowhere she started singing in French.

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“It’s impressive that she can remember the lyrics to any song– be it in French or English.

“There’s something about that tool that gets her doing things she hasn’t done for a long time and it’s very pleasing to see.

“I think it’s great to see the MindHarp bringing back part of her brain process that she hasn’t used for many years.”

Ginette, ran a nursing home in Bexhill in Sussex for 20 years, and moved to Bath when she retired.

She has been visiting the Peggy Dodd day centre in, Combe Down, Bath, for over four years.

She has used the MindHarp, which includes eight different coloured buttons, of carefully composed musical sounds, on several occasions.

Stewart Redpath, one of the creators of the MindHarp, said: “It has been a joy to play and interact with Ginette through the MindHarp.

“Beyond being a lovely, warm human being, it is clear that we have re-triggered her love and enjoyment of singing and also her original mother tongue. These moments are special for us.”

Mark Smulian, co-founder of the MindHarp, added: “‘Ginette’s response to the MindHarp was immediate and inspiring. She burst into song and inspired us all to be open and supportive of one and other.”

To hear Ginette singing, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3M-kDbAAnk&feature=youtu.be

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