Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

The Lived Experience: John and his music

John provides an insight into his life living with a diagnosis of semantic dementia and his relationship with music.
(SINGING) Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies.
I’m good at music [with] dementia. But I’ve got this funny diagnosis of semantic dementia which is a very strong, very strong diagnosis. I look fairly fit. Physically I’m good. Mentally, what can I tell you about it? After a while, because I couldn’t join in group things, I couldn’t qualify any more as an osteopath. I was only an osteopath for 25 years. And you had to qualify every year. And I couldn’t do it because of this. (SINGING) Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s going to bright, bright, sunshiny day. Very, very quickly after that, I got really depressed. It came very, very quickly. It’s very strange. And now, say, but again, I will still have quite a bit of– I would have still have cheerfulness on a frequent basis. Whereas now I haven’t got any cheerfulness at all. You can’t tell from the way I talk and smile. See, all my life I talked and laughed and I cracked jokes to peoples. I always laughed and talked in a funny way to people, all my life. So I still do that, talking to people. (SINGING) It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day. It’s gonna be bright, bright, sunshiny day.
I don’t think about anything at all when I’m singing. I just get on with the singing. I’m not thinking about anything apart from the words and the song. I’m not thinking that I’m depressed or happy or alive. I just get on with the singing. When I’m not singing, you know what I’m thinking about. I’m miserable. Unless I’m talking to friends, then otherwise. I’m not going to tell you what I think about a lot. I shouldn’t tell you that.
(SINGING) Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream.

John provides an insight into his life living with a diagnosis of semantic dementia and his relationship with music.

If you’re affected by dementia yourself or care for someone living with dementia, what experiences have you had with music?

This article is from the free online

Dementia and the Arts: Sharing Practice, Developing Understanding and Enhancing Lives

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education