music Therapy

Music Therapy is not the same as music tuition: its purpose is not to teach someone how to play an instrument but to allow them to translate their emotions and psychological processes into expressive music in order to release feelings, repair them and heal. Music can offer an alternative method of communication or expression where words are not an option or are inadequate. Some feelings are just too heavy for words to carry – but music always finds a way to express them. The aim is to bring out the client’s creativity in order to develop positive changes in behaviour, emotional and physical well-being and communication.

To make a referral, please click this link to jump to the information at the bottom of this page.

The intense emotional response to music seems to be unimpaired by illness or disability.

This intense emotional response to music seems to be unimpaired by illness or disability.


CMST’s team of music therapists are all skilled musicians who have undergone professional music therapy training at post-graduate level. They are all registered with and monitored by the Health and Care Professionals Council and they are all supported with regular professional supervision.

Music is a powerful emotional medium which can affect people profoundly And seems to give us permission to connect with our deepest emotions. These emotions can sometimes be melancholy and sad, sometimes angry, sometimes exuberant, joyous and life affirming.

Moreover, this intense emotional response to music seems to be unimpaired by illness or disability.

"With its emphasis on listening, turn-taking and self-expression, music therapy can provide the perfect way to enter the world of communication and social interaction."
(Teacher)

Melody is a risk

This boy, Gabriel, has just taken a big risk. He has just sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (TTLS) together with me in a music therapy group for seven children with profound and multiple learning difficulties in a special school. The look on his face, of excitement and exuberance, speaks of the terrific effort he has made. And no wonder - for the children in Gabriel’s group, their disabilities make it very difficult for them to organise a singing voice. It took three years of music therapy for Gabriel to achieve his. For three years he could only manage his voice to produce one note; TTLS always on one note. And after he achieved his first melodic rendition, he effervesced and luxuriated in the wide praises from myself and all the staff in the room. He had taken the risk and succeeded. For some children however, it is their emotional inner world which prevents them from taking risks. Many, through appalling family circumstances, are terrified of the world and unsure of their place in it – afraid to assert themselves for fear of catastrophe. One such was Jamie, a three-year old boy with whom I worked at the Truro Child Development Centre at Treliske. An able-bodied and inquisitive boy, Jamie’s eyes, which seemed to find wonder wherever they looked, were also full of fear. Initially he couldn’t enter the music therapy room; it took four weeks before he crossed the threshold. Then, for one three-minute episode each session I sang a well known song (TTLS) and for 21 weeks he joined in – but only singing on one note; literally monotonous. I reflected on how safe it was for him to remain on one note, how comfortable - yet how restricting. Then one spring day, he took the risk. Firstly with the first two notes; two weeks later with the whole song. The look on his face was unforgettable. That safe, holding quality of music, was for Jamie a steadying hand throughout. By the end of the year his singing was exuberant, melodic and confident. Child Development indeed. Big steps for Jamie, big news for music therapy and worthy of a fanfare on any website in the world.    

This boy, Gabriel, has just taken a big risk. He has just sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (TTLS) together with me in a music therapy group for seven children with profound and multiple learning difficulties in a special school. The look on his face, of excitement and exuberance, speaks of the terrific effort he has made. And no wonder - for the children in Gabriel’s group, their disabilities make it very difficult for them to organise a singing voice. It took three years of music therapy for Gabriel to achieve his. For three years he could only manage his voice to produce one note; TTLS always on one note. And after he achieved his first melodic rendition, he effervesced and luxuriated in the wide praises from myself and all the staff in the room. He had taken the risk and succeeded.

For some children however, it is their emotional inner world which prevents them from taking risks. Many, through appalling family circumstances, are terrified of the world and unsure of their place in it – afraid to assert themselves for fear of catastrophe. One such was Jamie, a three-year old boy with whom I worked at the Truro Child Development Centre at Treliske.

An able-bodied and inquisitive boy, Jamie’s eyes, which seemed to find wonder wherever they looked, were also full of fear. Initially he couldn’t enter the music therapy room; it took four weeks before he crossed the threshold. Then, for one three-minute episode each session I sang a well known song (TTLS) and for 21 weeks he joined in – but only singing on one note; literally monotonous. I reflected on how safe it was for him to remain on one note, how comfortable - yet how restricting. Then one spring day, he took the risk. Firstly with the first two notes; two weeks later with the whole song. The look on his face was unforgettable. That safe, holding quality of music, was for Jamie a steadying hand throughout. By the end of the year his singing was exuberant, melodic and confident. Child Development indeed.

Big steps for Jamie, big news for music therapy and worthy of a fanfare on any website in the world.

 

 


HOW YOU PLAY IS WHO YOU ARE
Music therapists are rigorously and carefully trained to tune into and support whatever their client needs to express. Using improvised music, the therapist may also encourage clients to explore connections between the music they create and thoughts or events in their lives, which can lead to life-changing insights and shifts in behaviour.

Importantly – and wonderfully - as it is unburdened by the need for words, music therapy can be particularly effective in helping clients who have no speech, for whom the world of words is not available - or who lack the ability to talk about their emotions.


 

WHO IS MUSIC THERAPY FOR?
Music therapy has proven effectiveness for those with:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Developmental delay
  • Mental health problems
  • Physical difficulties
  • Bereavement issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Autistic spectrum conditions
  • Problems relating to abuse
  • Attachment issues
  • Family and adoption issues
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Aphasia
  • Life threatening conditions
  • Life-limiting conditions

Our approach aims to be accessible and beneficial to anyone who requires support.  A carefully planned assessment is always carried out to ensure that the client is receiving the best possible service.

Music therapy can help to

  • identify, connect with and express feelings
  • build self-confidence
  • develop social and communication skills
  • enhance self-awareness
  • recognise and manage any unhelpful behaviours or thoughts

"I have seen music therapy encourage my pupils into the world of social interaction where other interventions have failed."
(Teacher)

Joyce

From a music therapist's account of working with a lovely lady: The previous week Joyce, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was very confused about living in the care home and was experiencing feelings of anxiety and paranoia. As I sung her name for the second time I watched her eyes lift and it felt as if something had changed within her. Joyce became very playful, articulate, and started to take risks musically. By the end of the session Joyce had taken the lead in our music. Joyce recognised that the dynamic level of our music had dropped and responded accordingly until we joined together in an improvised but very much attuned and empathic ending together. This shows the potential of music to bring moments of joy to those living with dementia who may often feel isolated and anxious. By using music Joyce was able to forge a new meaningful relationship and build confidence in trying new things at this late stage in her life.

From a music therapist's account of working with a lovely lady: The previous week Joyce, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was very confused about living in the care home and was experiencing feelings of anxiety and paranoia. As I sung her name for the second time I watched her eyes lift and it felt as if something had changed within her. Joyce became very playful, articulate, and started to take risks musically. By the end of the session Joyce had taken the lead in our music. Joyce recognised that the dynamic level of our music had dropped and responded accordingly until we joined together in an improvised but very much attuned and empathic ending together. This shows the potential of music to bring moments of joy to those living with dementia who may often feel isolated and anxious. By using music Joyce was able to forge a new meaningful relationship and build confidence in trying new things at this late stage in her life.

WHAT HAPPENS IN A MUSIC THERAPY SESSION?

Therapists work with either individuals or groups in a variety of settings and adjust the sessions according to the needs of each client. 

A diverse range of instruments are provided which the client can use to express themselves freely if they so wish.  Improvised music is the main tool used by the therapists to interact and support whatever the client brings. The approach is flexible enough to allow for all abilities and needs. For young children, the music-making can be enormous, safe and boundaried fun; for older clients music can offer its power to create an intense experience.

Consistent and regular sessions enable a trusting relationship to develop between client and therapist so that any emotion or behaviour can be explored safely and constructively.  

The non-verbal nature of the music is more accessible and expressive than a talking therapy alone and is particularly effective for those who do not have the ability to communicate verbally or find it difficult to express in words.

"Our music therapist has helped pupils express feelings which were preventing an engagement with their learning process."
(Teacher)



 

WHERE DO MUSIC THERAPISTS WORK?

Across Cornwall, CMST’s music therapists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, mainstream and special schools, children’s centres, nurseries and residential care homes.

The therapists liaise with other health and education professionals, parents and carers.  They provide written reports for annual reviews, attend case meetings and reviews.

Eric the farmer

Exuberant music therapy sessions were held at the Merlin Centre for Multiple Sclerosis at Hewas Water.  All participants, MS sufferers as well as their helpers, engaged in the group sessions; none more so than Eric the farmer - a grandfather of twelve, and a man with a passionate love of Cornish brass bands. At the end of the first session, in front of the group, he said to the therapist: ‘Ee boy … for thirty minutes there, you cured my multiple sclerosis’. 

Exuberant music therapy sessions were held at the Merlin Centre for Multiple Sclerosis at Hewas Water.  All participants, MS sufferers as well as their helpers, engaged in the group sessions; none more so than Eric the farmer - a grandfather of twelve, and a man with a passionate love of Cornish brass bands. At the end of the first session, in front of the group, he said to the therapist: ‘Ee boy … for thirty minutes there, you cured my multiple sclerosis’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I have seen music therapy open up the world to children with profound communication difficulties.  For our pupils who cannot express themselves through language, a special hour shared with their music therapist enables them to express their emotions and share interactions using the universal langauge of music."
Helen Collinge, Head Teacher Treleigh School

 

 

 

 

 

The school/centre needs to provide an allocated space which can be used for the weekly therapy sessions.  It is important that the allocated space is free from interruptions in order to maintain confidentiality and protect the rights of the client to privacy and respect.

HOW DO I MAKE A REFERRAL?

"I have learned that music therapy is much more than banging on a tambourine. It is an intervention which develops intense relationships and through them enables people to change their lives."
(Teacher)

Referrals for Music Therapy can be made by a range of professionals including: schools, health practitioners, voluntary sector agencies, social workers and residential care homes.  It is also possible to make a self referral. 

 

For further information please contact the CMST Office at office@cornwallmusicservicetrust.org or complete and return the Music Therapy Referral Form.

The work of CMST music therapists is supported by the Cornwall Music Therapy Trust. Further information about music therapy can be found on the British Association for Music Therapy website

"Music’s great; I can put my secrets in the music and the music looks after them for me"
(9yo boy with severe attachment difficulties)


We can deliver:
One-to one sessions
You will need to provide a room - ideally private and undisturbed and where the music will not disturb others.
Our therapists will discuss aims and outcomes with you prior to beginning sessions. They will monitor progress towards these aims, discuss this with you and produce interim reports. If you have instruments – or if the client has his/her own instruments – great. Otherwise our therapist will bring a careful selection of carefully chosen, easy-to-play instruments.

Cost: £50.00 per session (up to 50mins)

"Music Therapy helped me
express emotions I didn’t realise I had"
(37yo client with bi-polar disorder)

Group sessions
You will need to provide a suitably-sized room - ideally private and undisturbed and where the music will not disturb others.
Our therapists will discuss aims and outcomes with you for each group member prior to beginning sessions. They will monitor progress towards these aims, discuss this with you and produce interim reports. If you have instruments – or if the group members have their own instruments – great. Otherwise our therapist will bring a selection of carefully chosen, easy-to-play instruments.

Cost: £75.00 per session (up to 90mins)

 

"As well as having an opportunity to express their feelings, children having music therapy develop self esteem and social skills such as listening, turn taking and appropriate communication. All of this can transpose to the classroom and help enhance their learning experience".
Dr Bob Coburn, former Head Teacher, Curnow School

In- service Training
Book a music therapy workshop for a half day or a whole day. One of our music therapists will come and show your staff team the principles of music therapy and how music therapy can change lives. It can be an emotional, bonding experience for your staff. They will not only gain insights into the people they teach or look after - they will find out about themselves too. A powerful experience - carefully and sensitively handled by our therapists.

Cost: £175/ £350.00

 

Workshops for parents/family members/carers
Workshops for family/carers who want to use music and songs more effectively with their child/children at home

Cost: half day (3 hours): £175

Details of our terms and conditions can be found in the downloadable Service Delivery Agreement. 

Useful Links

British Association for Music Therapy www.bamt.org

Health and Care Professions Council www.hcpc-uk.co.uk

Where words fail, music speaks
(Hans Christian Anderson 1805-1875)