World Mental Health Day
"Music therapy gives me time to reflect on both sides...being admitted and being ill, and then life and society and home and stuff like that. It's helped me in so many different ways" .
Music therapists have a valuable role to play in supporting children and adults with mental health issues. World Mental Health Day is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
In support and recognition of the day, we have highlighted two case studies of music therapy work with people with mental health illnesses.
Here are two case studies for you to read:
When Words are not Enough - Maria Alleyne
Music Therapy Group for people with Psychosis - Catrin Piears-Banton (this case study is accompanied with an audio extract and song lyrics)
| September 2014
HCPC Launches consultation on Rules change
26 September 2014
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has today
launched a five-week consultation to seek the views of stakeholders on proposed
changes to the Health and Care Professions Council (Registration and Fees)
Rules 2003 (the “Rules”), which will allow the regulator to implement checks
for the new professional indemnity arrangement requirements.
The professional indemnity arrangement requirements were
introduced by legislation on 17 July 2014. The proposed amendments to the
Rules, if implemented, would allow the HCPC to ask registrants and applicants
to complete declarations about their professional indemnity arrangements, as
well as take appropriate action where a registrant did not have an appropriate
professional indemnity arrangement in place, or where a professional indemnity
arrangement did not provide appropriate cover. The proposed changes to the HCPC
Rules will not apply to social workers in England, who are outside the scope of
Director of Policy and Standards Michael Guthrie commented:
“These amendments are in line with our guidance
‘Professional indemnity and your registration’, which we consulted on in 2013.
The proposed changes to our Rules are about implementing the policy approach
outlined in that guidance, rather than adding any additional requirements.”
The consultation will run from Friday 26 September to Friday
31 October 2014. It will be of particular interest to registrants,employers
and professional bodies.
The HCPC will analyse the responses once the consultation closes
and publish the comments received and explain the decisions made as a result.
Subject to the outcomes of the consultation and the parliamentary process, the
HCPC anticipates that the Rules will be in place from early 2015-16.
Views on how public health specialists from non-medical
15 September 2014
A consultation that has been launched by the Department of
Health seeking views on how public health specialists from non-medical
backgrounds will be regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
In addition to regulating public health specialists, the
draft legislation proposes that registration appeal panels would not need to be
chaired by HCPC Council members and would clarify the ability of panels to
strike off in lack of competence and health cases. These proposals are outlined
on pages 16 and 17 of the consultation document.
You can find more information on the changes and how to
respond to the consultation here:
The consultation closes on Friday 17 October 2014.
‘Music Therapy – the Art and Science’ exhibition opens at
the Barbican Music Library
2 September 2014
As part of the City of London’s Culture, Heritage &
Libraries series, the Barbican Music Library is hosting a free exhibition by
the British Association for Music Therapy.
‘Music Therapy – the Art and Science’ presents a visual
history of music therapy, with original documents, music scores, letters and
influential publications that plot the development of music therapy in the UK.
Richard Jones, from the Barbican Music Library said, “We are
delighted to be hosting this fascinating exhibition which will help to raise
the profile of a unique form of treatment which has the potential to transform
lives. Public libraries play a vital role in promoting the health and
well-being agenda, and so we welcome this valued opportunity to collaborate
with the leading body for music therapy in the UK.”
Drawing on the rich experiences of music therapists and service
users, their families and carers, the exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to
learn about music therapy and understand the impact it has on our lives.
Vinnie French, father of a young autistic boy, described his
son’s experiences of music therapy as life-changing and the most successful
intervention he had access to in supporting his development.
therapy for Taylor has been a life-changing experience not just for him, but
for me too. Music therapy has been by far the most positive and successful
intervention he has been involved in. Within ten months of these sessions his
eye contact, interaction and his communication and emotional wellbeing all
improved significantly. I even heard his first words during a music therapy
Donald Wetherick, Chair of the British Association for Music
Therapy said the exhibition demonstrates powerfully the role music therapists
play in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society every day.
“Our brains respond
in a very particular way to music. Its unique non-verbal properties mean that
music therapy can transform the lives of people who, because of injury,
disability or illness, have great difficulty communicating verbally.”
Prof. Leslie Bunt MBE, professor in Music Therapy at the
University of the West of England said the exhibition also clearly demonstrates
the development of music therapy within the UK.
“Music therapy is
increasingly being accepted as a recognised profession and discipline for
working with children and adults across the lifespan. It is a creative career
choice for musicians wishing to explore the scientific and artistic processes
at the root of music to support health and wellbeing.”
The exhibition opens on Wednesday 3 September and runs until
Friday 31 October 2014.
Grace Watts, British Association for Music Therapy m: 07989 355338 e:
1. The British Association for Music Therapy is
the professional body for music therapy in the UK, providing both practitioners
and non-practitioners with
information, professional support, training opportunities. It is also a charity
committed to promoting and raising awareness of music therapy and providing
information to the general public. BAMT
aims to raise awareness about the impact of music therapy, advance education in
music therapy and act as a voice for the profession as well as for those who
could benefit from music therapy.
2. For more
information, visit http://www.bamt.org or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on
0207 837 6100. Join us on Facebook, follow us on twitter: @musictherapyuk
3. For more information
about the Barbican Music Library, including opening times and how to plan your
visit, please see http://www.barbican.org.uk/vistor-information
| August 2014
New SEN Code of Practice released
The SEN Code of Practice has been released on 28th July 2014
. The local government plans to run this new system from September, but
ministers will continue to oversee it, surveying parents, monitoring councils,
working with Ofsted on a tough accountability framework.
Please visit this page for the full article: Click Here
To download the new SEN Code of Practice (now ratified by
Parliament): Click Here
| July 2014
Congratulations to Prof Amelia Oldfield ! Honour for
long-serving music therapist
Impact of Professor Oldfield’s 34-year career is recognised
by international body
An academic from
Anglia Ruskin University has become the first ever recipient of the World
Federation of Music Therapy's Clinical Impact Award.
Amelia Oldfield, Professor of Music Therapy, was presented
with the honour during the opening ceremony of the 14th World Congress of Music
Therapy earlier this month.
The conference, held in Krems, Austria, was attended by over
1,000 music therapists and students from 46 different countries, and Professor
Oldfield received the award for her “long-term impact on advancing the knowledge
and practice of music therapy”.
Professor Oldfield has worked continuously as a clinical
music therapist for the past 34 years and helped to set up the world-leading
Masters in Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin in 1994.
In addition to her role at Anglia Ruskin, Professor Oldfield
works three days a week at the Croft Child and Family Unit, which is part of
the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. As a member of the multi-disciplinary team,
she assesses and treats young children with a wide range of developmental and
emotional difficulties, and will often work jointly with the children and their
Professor Oldfield said: “Improvising live music on the
clarinet, the piano, voice or percussion to enable children and families to
interact and communicate, and perhaps to gain confidence or to begin to feel
better about themselves, is an unbelievably rewarding and fulfilling
“I have also conducted four music therapy research
investigations, have written and edited books, produced training videos, and
thoroughly enjoy my role teaching the next generation of music therapists on
the MA course at Anglia Ruskin.
“All these activities have been exciting and stimulating,
but the clinical work remains at the core of everything I do, and a week
doesn’t go by without me coming out of a music therapy session, once again
elated and enthused by how much can be achieved through interactive live music
BAMT becomes a National Member of the Dementia Action
The British Association for Music Therapy has made a public
pledge to help transform the quality of life for people with dementia and their
families and carers by becoming a National Member of the Dementia Action
Alliance. Alongside other organisations such as Age UK, Department of Health,
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the College of Occupational
Therapists, and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, BAMT is
committed to supporting those with dementia and those that care for them. With
over 800,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, this number is
predicted to reach over one million by 2025.
To read the full press release, please see the download.
HCPC registrants now require professional indemnity
All Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registrants
except social workers in England* must now have appropriate professional
indemnity arrangements in place as a condition of registration.
Michael Guthrie, Director of Policy and Standards, commented:
“The majority of our registrants will already meet these
requirements because they will be indemnified either through their employer, a
professional body, union or defence organisation, directly with an insurer, or
a combination of these.
“However, it is important that registrants ensure that they
have cover in place that is appropriate for their practice. We have produced
guidance called Professional indemnity and your registration to help
registrants understand the new requirement, which can be downloaded from our
In the future, the HCPC will ask registrants to confirm they
meet the requirement by completing a professional declaration when renewing or
registering. However, this will not happen until the necessary amendments to
the HCPC’s Rules have been made. The HCPC will continue to update on the
progress of these.
Listen out for MHA's Music Therapy fund Radio 4 Appeal with
Pam Rhodes - Sunday 6 July
MHA's Music Therapy fund will get an airing on Sunday 6 July
when Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes delivers the Radio 4 Appeal for the
Pam, who is a Patron of MHA, will appeal to listeners to
make a donation to MHA's Music Therapy Appeal, supporting the provision of the
therapy to people with dementia.
She will share the story of Dorothy Cartledge, a resident of
MHA's Maple Leaf House care home in Ripley, Derbyshire. Dorothy has dementia,
but continues to find joy, creativity, and self-expression through the
interactive psychological therapy.
Pam said , "Music seems to unlock not just the memory,
but also the personality. Sometimes when people have dementia, those signs of
personality seem to have disappeared in the frail frame we can see, but the
precious person inside is still there and MHA recognises this."
Recipients of music therapy do more than simply listen to
music. They are encouraged and support to participate in live interactive music
making. No previous musical experience or skill is necessary! Music therapy is
Listeners of the Appeal will hear Dorothy during a one-to-one
session, singing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' with the support of her music
therapist, Chris Wilson.
Her daughter, Carolien Daybell said, "I think music
therapy really helps her mood. It's a way of helping her to express her
emotions. I'd love for everyone who has dementia to benefit from music therapy
like my mother has."
Chris added, "Music therapy is empowering. It brings
people with dementia into the here and now, even when words aren't
The Appeal will air on Sunday 6 July on BBC Radio 4 at
7.55am and 9.26pm, then again on Thursday 10 July at 3.27pm.
For more information about music therapy and making a
donation, please click here
Music Therapy Research Steps onto World Stage - June 2014
London will become the centre of international music therapy
research this week at the inaugural meeting of MANDARI, a pioneering research
collaboration for Music and the Neuro-Developmentally At-Risk Infant.
Leading music therapists and neuro-scientists from around
the world will meet with composers, parents and other stakeholders at
Goldsmiths University of London to develop a music therapy research agenda for
MANDARI has been established by a small group of neo-natal
intensive care specialists headed by Australian music therapy researcher and
clinician, Dr Helen Shoemark.
Dr Shoemark, from Australia’s world-renowned Murdoch
Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, has created MANDARI over the
past year with a core group of British and American collaborators.
MANDARI Core Group members include neuro-scientist Dr Lauren
Stewart from Goldsmiths, researcher and clinician Dr Deanna Hanson-Abromeit
from the University of Kansas, and leading British music therapy researchers.
Dr Shoemark said music was used with babies in neo-natal
intensive care units (NICUs) as a multisensory tool to trigger the senses of
hearing, feeling, balance and movement.
"Music can support development outcomes such as
self-regulation, feeding and transitions from the sleep to wake cycle,"
"MANDARI combines these clinical applications of music
therapy with the latest research in the area to help give a better start in
life to our most fragile little citizens.
"British music therapy is building a research agenda on
long clinical experience, while Europe, Australia and the USA
lead the global research into music therapy for fragile
"The UK is the ideal place to bring together the
world’s foremost researchers and clinicians to create powerful international
MANDARI will include a professional development seminar to
outline the latest research-based clinical music therapy practices for fragile
hospitalised infants, while the workshop will set future research priorities.
Dr Helen Shoemark & Dr Lauren Stewart
020 7919 7195 0044 7545 173 755 email@example.com
British Association for Music Therapy 020 7837 6100
Exciting Research findings into the Beneficial Effect of
Music Therapy on the Health and Care of People with Dementia
Methodist Homes (MHA) in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin
University have recently completed a pilot study looking at the impact of music
therapy on the health and care of people with dementia.
The study sought to find out:
1. Is music therapy an effective intervention for people
with dementia in care homes?
Does music therapy improve a person's wellbeing - mood,
alertness and engagement, and does it reduce negative behaviours such as
agitation, depression, anxiety and aggression?
2. Can the therapy also have an impact outside the sessions
on the quality of care provided?
Does the therapy help staff to engage with residents, and
influence their perception of residents' negative behaviours?
Conducted over seven months in two MHA care homes, the study
has found that quite dramatically music therapy had a beneficial effect on the
symptoms of dementia both during the therapy and afterwards, as well as having
an impact on the quality of care provided with staff feeling more informed,
skilled and motivated.
The study was also successful in its aim to test the
methodology that could be used in a large-scale clinical trial. It has also
demonstrated that future research using the techniques employed in this study,
with a larger sample of participants over a longer period is now shown to be
feasible and needed.
To read the full executive summary of the study please
download the link on the right hand side of this page.
For more information about the study, please see the MHA
This draft summary is intended for review and comments only.
It is not intended for citation, quotation, or other use in any form.
Dementia Awareness Week 2014, 19th - 25th May
It's National Dementia Awareness Week - Don't bottle it up
If you're worried that you, or someone close to you, may
have dementia, it can be difficult to talk about it.
Music therapy can play a valuable role in supporting people
with dementia and those around them. These wonderful and moving accounts
describe how music therapy can make a difference for those living with
Thank you to James for giving his permission for this
article and video to be shared and thanks also to Morag. If you would like to
contact Pemma Spencer Chapman (music therapist) about her work you can email
her by clicking here
Watch James find his voice
‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Hans Christian Anderson
A music therapist reflects on her work with people living
Pemma Spencer Chapman 2013
‘I’m playing this the way I am. I can’t use the word ‘magic’
but it (the music) has a moving tone that is like part of me and talking to
James (not his real name) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
disease in his mid-fifties and soon had to give up the work he loved. Now in
his late fifties he would lie in bed at home after his wife had gone to work
until a carer or support worker came to help him. He didn’t have insight into
When James was first brought into the music therapy room, I
pointed out the range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments in the room
and asked if he felt drawn to try any of them. He dismissed the drum and cymbal
saying he would never play anything loud as he was a gentle person who didn’t
get upset by things in life. He then picked up the small lyre and stood gently
sounding the strings. After listening for a while I played a gentle, low
repeating pattern on the guitar to support and give a musical ‘container’ to
As he played James reflected on what he was experiencing. He
said the music made him think of his grandmother and mother. It made him feel
alive. He spoke the words quoted above, that the music seemed to be part of him
and talking to him. He brushed away tears. He kept repeating that he was a
gentle person, never angry, accepting life as it came, and then he spoke of the
hole he felt where his work used to be.
For James the music was putting him in touch with his
feelings of distress (even while he denied them verbally), and with his need
for comfort. The sound of the lyre held close to his heart, the low, supporting
guitar music and my presence as listener, brought up memories of strong early
attachment figures, his grandmother and mother. He couldn’t acknowledge the
anger and pain he found the courage to explore in later sessions, but in this
first session, he found comfort.
One role of the music in music therapy is to help people get
in touch with their feelings. Music can by-pass our defences.
Music also offers huge scope for expressing emotions. Humans
are innately musical beings. A music therapist finds the musical potential that
people have and harnesses it to the task of addressing their difficulties.
Where one person may have a strong sense of rhythm, another may have a great
sense of melody; where one has good motor skills useful for playing instruments
another may love to use their voice. The music used might be well known, (one
client’s needs were met through using songs from musicals), or it may be
improvised, as with James.
Musical improvisation in response to a client is core to the
role of the therapist and is one of the main skills a student music therapist
must develop. The relationship between client and therapist often includes a
point where the therapist improvises in response to the client. To take one
extreme, if a client was in a coma, the therapist would take the only musical
element the person was exhibiting, the tempo of the rise and fall of their chest
as they breathed. The therapist would improvise music using that tempo in the
hope that at some level the person would become aware of something outside
themselves that was tuning in to them. In contrast, a client may pick up a drum
stick and beat a drum, to which the therapist responds musically. In James’s
case it was the lyre.
But music,while being an emotional experience, is also a
language with ‘grammatical’ components. Beats, patterns, phrases, harmonies,
all can be analysed and cognitively known. And this structured, language
element can help shape and organise the sounds a client makes into music. The
language of music continues to makes sense to most people who have serious
cognitive impairment and they can engage and interact with it; it isn’t just
‘I wanted to do more!’
Morag (not her real name) was in her early sixties and like
James, her illness had started in her early fifties (‘early onset’ dementia).
She now lived in a care home for people with advanced dementia.
Despite suffering abuse in her early life from her father
and later from her first husband, Morag had raised a family and finally made a
happy marriage in her middle age. Her daughters were devoted to her and visited
regularly as did her husband.
Morag was dependent for all care. She only had movement in
one arm, and the ability to turn her head a little. She couldn’t feed herself
or direct any purposeful movements. Her speech was limited to occasional short
words like yes or no. She hardly ever made eye contact.
Staff had a problem because for part of each day Morag
emitted loud cries and didn’t respond to their efforts to calm her. These were
so distressing to other residents that they were forced to put her in an empty
room away from others at these times. When I first heard the cries my
instinctive thought was that I must go and pick up the baby.
The music therapy sessions
In sessions I improvised on the piano using the same pitch
and length of phrase that Morag used for her cries. I was trying to let her
know she was being heard and also offering a musical shape and form to embrace
and partner her sounds. After a few sessions I thought that Morag was
responding to my music. She seemed to anticipate where the pitch was leading
and her next cry would start on that note. The quality of the cry was becoming
slightly more song-like. It made me think of the early twentieth century German
term ‘sprechstimme’, describing an experimental way of half singing, half
Was Morag aware of the musical relationship or were her
increasingly interactive and song-like sounds purely evoked by the music
itself, like foot tapping often is?
In the next session, (session nine), Morag’s music was even
more interactive. We went on beyond the half-hour allotted to the session and
eventually I decided I should bring the session to an end. Turning to Morag I
put a hand on her rug covered knee and told her it had been wonderful. After a
moment she gave a choked little cry and then, in a strange speech-song voice I
heard the clear words, ‘I wanted to do more!’ I was so surprised and moved that
I immediately said we could continue and the minute my hands sounded the keys
she launched back into the music.
Morag’s words of protest probably referred as much to her
life as a whole as to the music making but perhaps it did make her feel alive
and so was symbolic of her life. But I had my answer. She was aware! Music had
provided Morag with a language that made sense to her and through which her
cries, her only source of self-expression could find ‘stability, organisation
and focus’ (Sachs, 2007) in a creative partnership.
Music speaks for us, to us and through us. It puts us in
touch with our emotions, gives us a means of self-expression through both
improvised and previously known music, and offers a language our brains, even
when damaged, can in most cases make sense of and use to interact with another
Music fires the connections in our brains. Many clients are
more articulate verbally after making music. The reasons may be complex, but
referring back to the Hans Christian Anderson quote, ‘When words fail, music
speaks,’ it is encouraging to think that the reverse may be true –‘after music has
spoken, words flow’.
This article was originally published in the Oxford
Psychotherapy Society Bulletin 2013
Nordoff P, Robbins C (1971) Therapy in Music for Handicapped
Stern D. (1977) The First Relationship: London, Open Books
Schore A. (1994) Affect Regulation and the Origin of the
Self: The Neuro-Biology of Emotional Development: Laurence Erlbaum Assoc. Inc.
Sachs O. (2007) Musicophilia: Knopf Publishing Group
Do you know how to get in touch with your local music therapist?
Contact us at BAMT or click Find a Therapist
For more information about the campaign please visit
Dementia Awareness week
| May 2014
Hold a public conversation with your MP on the significance
of sound and music to the wellbeing of our private and social lives
Sussex Symphony Orchestra interviews Brighton MP Caroline
Lucas May 24th Hove Town Hall, Brighton, UK 7.30pm
This event will follow the format of an interview in which
orchestral pieces are woven into a discussion with the UK's only Green Party
member of parliament, Caroline Lucas.
Caroline Lucas reflects on the significance of music and
sound in her own life as well as its importance to the wellbeing of local
communities and society at large. She will share her reflections on sound and
music in relation to politics, food and the environment amongst others.
What pressing and pertinent question do you think your MP
should be asked in relation to Sound and Music ?Please forward your question
Tickets : http://ssomusic.co.uk/box-office/buy-tickets/
Academic Programme Leader Performance and Visual Art Music
and Visual Art Faculty of Arts Grand Parade University of Brighton BN2 0JY Tel:
01273 643205 http://arts.brighton.ac.uk
BAMT egg shakers playing a role in the 'Sounds of Palestine'
Some of you may have noticed Liz Coombes Music Therapist and
MA Music Therapy Course Leader collecting BAMT eggs at our conference in
February. Liz was intending to
distribute these as gifts to music workshop trainees in Palestine as she was
giving some training input for Musicians Without Borders in April. Liz also offered supervision for workshop
leaders on the project "Sounds of Palestine". Based on the El Sistema
project in Venezuela, therapeutic music groups for kindergarten and Grade 1
children, and instrumental lessons in violin, cello, arabic drumming and
singing are provided twice weekly in two refugee camps near Bethlehem. When Liz realised that lack of musical
instruments was a real issue, she decided to give the eggs to this project so
the children could use them.
As soon as the kids saw the eggs, they all wanted the same,
so it was great that she had around 25 eggs!
The workshop leader improvised a game where the social worker who
assists in sessions collected the eggs, and they had to be given back very,
very quietly so as not to wake the egg thief!
Liz was incredibly moved by the impact of these workshops and
lessons. You can follow Sounds of
Palestine on Facebook. If you would like
to find out more, or donate instruments/skills, please contact Fabienne Van
Eck, project leader.
| March 2014
New Big Lottery social investment fund
BIG Potential is a new £10m grant fund designed to help
small community organisations to find social investment to support their
activity. Along with a grant programme, there will be toolkits and training for
organisations in the principles of social investment. The scheme is designed to
help voluntary and community organisations build the business case as to be
able to approach investors.
Community Investment Fund
A new £20m fund has been established to support community
based, locally led organisations which are providing essential support and
services to improve the wellbeing of local residents. The Fund aims to improve
the quality of life of local individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable
and disadvantaged, and to enhance community engagement and cohesion by
empowering people to develop locally-determined solutions to challenges and
opportunities. To be eligible, organisations must be a community led social
sector organisation with a neighbourhood focus based in England with a plan for
activity and strong governance and financial plans.