Klankspoor has been helping to improve the lives of dementia sufferers and their loved ones through sound and music since 2014. In so doing, Klankspoor employs a very personal approach, creating audio mixes
specially tailored to the individual.
The key elements to a KLANKSPOOR mix are:
• Individualised music
(music of a personal preference)
• Biographical sounds
(sounds with special meaning for the individual)
• Recognisable narratives
(recordings of family and friends)
These elements are then combined into audio files to help promote more interaction between the dementia sufferer and their environment. In this way, KLANKSPOOR recordings form a powerful tool in the fight against isolation and feelings of frustration that so often accompany dementia. When listened to with loved ones, these recordings can also promote a sense of belonging.
“Very moving... My mother and I listened
to it together, and the recording helped us share a very intimate connection.”
M. Midot-Ilcken, Amsterdam
Klankspoor is the initiative of Scottish musician Andy Bruce.
Inspired by the research and work of (amongst others) Linda Gerdner PhD, Dan Cohen (Music & Memory), and Michael Rossato-Bennett (Alive Inside Foundation).
Bruce was convinced that the positive effects of using individualised music in dementia care could be heightened by making the listening experience as personal as possible.
This is done by adding biographical sounds and recognisable narratives, sometimes using spatial audio recording techniques to accentuate the effect, supported by original music composed in accordance with scientific research.1 Different playlists are made to cater for all manner of situations: for example, to assist during moments of interaction with carers, or to help reduce the effects of anxiety, or help prepare someone for a good night’s sleep.
1. Effects of Sad and Happy Music on Mind-Wandering and the Default Mode Network (Taruffi, Pehrs, Skouras, Koelsch, 2017)
“A valuable intervention, with far fewer side effects than many other options available to me as a doctor."
Dr. G. Beckers, Geriatric Specialist, Z.G.A.O.
Dementia is a collective term for a series of neurodegenerative diseases. What these diseases have in common is a decline in cognitive ability.
Upper and lower brain regions have differing functions and characteristics.
In the upper brain, decision making and what are sometimes referred to as the executive functions take place.
In our lower brain, our emotions and impulses (“fight or flight” response) are processed.
Through dementia, the executive functions are affected and the neural system engaged in filtering incoming stimuli becomes damaged. This can lead to overstimulation, leaving the subject temporarily “locked” in the lower brain and subject to emotional outbursts and a state of heightened confusion.
Can we help alleviate this anxiety through audio soundscapes?
Klankspoor uses a mix of bespoke audio to help address these issues and builds upon existing soundscape research, in particular the work of Dr. Kirsten van den Bosch. (Safe & Sound : Soundscape Research in Special Needs Care - van den Bosch, 2015)
People with dementia have difficulty forming and maintaining patterns of expectation.
Being unable to form or maintain patterns of expectation, it is more difficult to relax.
This inability to form patterns of expectation can often be recognised in the constant questioning of:
1) “Where am I?”
2) “What is happening around me?”
This constant (unconscious) process of reassessing the safety of the surroundings is exhausting. In combination with heightened confusion it can lead to behavioural problems.
Question: How can audio soundscapes relieve this anxiety?
Answer: By making a distinction between foreground and background sounds.
“Where am I?” - Background sounds help to answer this. Listening to quiet, familiar sounds in the background reinforce a sense of auditory safety. Provided there are sufficient positive indicators of auditory safety, we can add foreground sounds to the mix.
Foreground sounds help define our immediate surroundings and can aid orientation in time and place.
“What is happening around me?” - Foreground sounds relate to this.
By managing expectations through sound and music we can help alleviate suffering in dementia patients. Expectations make the complex world around us easier to understand.
A neurofeedback session with a client (2014). Observe the marked reduction in muscle tension (read out, top right) with the change in music around the 40 second mark.
“If a situation can be judged to be safe, an individual can relax and focus his or her attention on other matters, rather than being constantly on the alert for possible dangers."
Dr. Kirsten van den Bosch, 2015
2020 - Project Portero
Made possible with funding from the Haëlla Stichting.
The Klankspoor Foundation provided relief for Covid patients in isolation during the first Covid golf of 2020. These patients received personal Klankspoor soundscapes to provide comfort and stimulus throughout the day.
2018 - Ambisonics in the Flevohuis
Made possible with funding from Fonds Sluyterman van Loo and the Iona Stichting. The Klankspoor Foundation produced specially constructed soundscapes for use in a surround sound setup. These soundscapes combine spoken word (with text specially commissioned from a hypnotherapist) with sounds and music from Stichting Klankspoor.
The Klankspoor Foundation was established in 2016 to facilitate the development of the Klankspoor method and related activities.
The board of the foundation currently consists of:
Saskia van der Galie - Chairman / Treasurer
Doortje Kal - Secretary
The activities of the foundation are carried out by director/project leader Andy Bruce. The board members receive no remuneration for their activities. The director receives a compensation for his activities on a declaration basis.
The Klankspoor Foundation has an ANBI status.
If you would like to donate to the Klankspoor Foundation we would like to invite you to use this PayPal account: