Ex-music teacher with dementia goes to number one with charity single

By Megan Baynes, PA
·2-min read

A piece of music improvised by a former music teacher living with dementia is topping the charts after it was released as a charity single.

Paul Harvey, 80, composed the piece after being given four random notes to play by his son, Nick.

After a clip of the moment went viral, the music was released as a single to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society and Music For Dementia.

The single called Four Notes – Paul’s Tune, has shot to the top of both the iTunes and Amazon music charts.

Paul’s son, Nick, told the PA news agency: “Both Dad and I are blown away by it.

“Dad is so happy his music is resonating with people.

“He is being defined by his music, not his dementia and that is wonderful to see.”

Paul, a lifelong musician, composed the piece based on just the notes F, A, D and B. After his piece was broadcast on the BBC, the Philharmonic Orchestra got involved to help create the single.

Nick said when he told his dad he had reached the number one spot in just days he “laughed and thought I was joking”.

“He thought it was wonderful that an 80-year-old man could be outselling people a quarter of his age, most of whom he had never heard of,” he said.

One of the charities that will benefit from the single, Music For Dementia, campaigns to bring an awareness of the power of music for people living with dementia, so it becomes a recognised tool for dealing with the disease.

Former teacher with dementia releases charity single
Paul Harvey, 80, a former music teacher with dementia, released the single he recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, originally improvised from just four note (Nick Harvey)

Nick said: “That is very relevant to this because I have noticed with Dad when he sits at the piano and plays, it is like a spark returns to his eyes and it brings him back to the room.

“The whole experience of the last few weeks has been like a shot in the arm. One of his carers said he has got his mojo back. It’s wonderful.”

The single is available on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.