The House of Song and Sound by Genetic Choir

The multi-national vocal improvisation group Genetic Choir is proud to announce the release of a new publication: The House of Song and Sound: The Stem & Luister Method.

This booklet provides insights into a project, started by Genetic Choir, that involves using improvisation as a tool in the context of working with people with verbal disabilities, including those with dementia. Through information about the project, first-hand accounts of its participants, photographs of the methodology in action, and practical advice about how to apply this new method, The House of Song and Sound offers an inspirational snapshot of a project that has already provided joy and comfort to many through improvisational play.

The House of Song and Sound project involved bringing “the experience of meaningful contact to places where people can no longer use language in the usual way…apply[ing] listening, empathy and playfulness while using the voice to improvise with songs and sounds.” This process is used to connect with individuals who may have become closed off from their environments due to their disabilities, coaxing those who may struggle to engage with others into playful, mutual relationship. The ultimate goal of this project is to “to transform the atmosphere of long-term care environments into places where listening and being playful is an ordinary activity that offers joy and meaning to all participants in the daily care.”

The power of the project is epitomized by this testimonial from dance therapist and physiotherapist Lina Fuhrmann: “That meaningful contact that you stand for is…caused by the fact that it does not start with a lot of stuff, decor, instruments, speakers, but is just simple – you come in as yourself, it starts from the silence, from what’s there. You pick up the residents where they are.”

You can read the The House of Song and Sound: The Stem & Luister Method online now through this link: House of Song and Sound: The Stem & Luister Method (2022)

For Dutch readers, there is a Dutch language version that can be downloaded from the Genetic Choir website:

About the Authors

Genetic Choir, formed in 2007, is comprised of a pool of about 16 professional singers from all over the world, including Holland, England, Germany, Turkey, India, Afghanistan, and Japan. Every singer has their own particular background; some have studied classical singing, while others have studied music technology, or dance, or theatre. Most of its members have trained and worked together for many years. The Choir has performed an exceptional array of unique, site-specific concerts and art projects, activating spaces ranging from theatres to train stations to basketball courts. You can learn more about the Genetic Choir and their projects at their website.