Octavius' love for life and all things musical

Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats!

Octavius moved to King Edward’s Grove nearly a decade ago once he was well enough to be discharged from a hospital-based setting where he was receiving care and treatment following a mental health breakdown. Trauma resulted in Octavius losing valuable skills needed to carry out daily living tasks, skills he used previously to live semi-independently. However, one thing that Octavius never forgot was his love of music, especially classical music by composers such as Chopin, Beethoven, and Liszt. Not only remembering his love for listening to music but remembering how to read music to play beautiful symphonies and concertos to elevate his mood.


“Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano” – Frederick Liszt


Quotes like these somehow seem relevant. At crisis point with his mental health, suffering severe depression and Catatonia, the piano was and still is a comfort to Octavius. Staff soon supported Octavius to buy a stand-alone keyboard for him to play his music on, which was enjoyed by the people he lives with, staff and visitors alike. Octavius even won an award at the Consensus Got Talent competition for his musical talent back in 2020. To me and you, the music he played on the keyboard was magical, however to Octavius he knew that only a Piano could showcase the harmonies and mellow tunes needed for classical music to sound at its very finest, so he set a goal – to buy his own piano!

Admittedly, as a staff team we had no idea where to start. We sought advice from our music therapist who gave us some well needed information which we could share with Octavius to help him make an informed decision. Working with his advocate and social worker to make sure it was in his best interests and affordable, Octavius was supported to visit specialist music shops so he could test each piano. It didn’t take him long before he found “the one” – a Yamaha mini-grande in white which was just the right size to fit in his room (although I am not sure the piano fitters would agree it was the right size to fit up the stairs!).

It was evident just how much Octavius loved music, so staff began to look at other ways Octavius could engage. With Christmas fast approaching and endless venues offering musical entertainment staff began researching performances which he might enjoy. This was not an easy feat as Octavius hasn’t engaged in an activity with a large crowd of people for several years and many of them were based in the busiest city of all – right in the centre of London. With the correct planning including the best way for him to travel during peak hours, to accessibility in the venue giving him the opportunity to come and go as he pleases. Considering the cost and whether there were sufficient smoking areas (cigarettes are on a par with his love for music) staff were able to find 3 different events for him to choose from.

I am not sure who is more excited for the 29th of December 2023 – Octavius for being able to watch the London Concertante perform a Viennese Christmas Spectacular, or his circle of support for helping him over the years to build resilience in managing his mental wellbeing and achieving his dreams! Who knows what the future holds, but one thing is for certain, music will most certainly be involved.


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