News Archive 2012
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November 2012

Music Therapy for Individuals with Autism

Ronna Kaplan, Immediate Past President of the American Music Therapy Association, writes in The Huffington Post about the positive and lasting impact music therapy can have on individuals with autism.

To read the full article, please click here

BAMT Executive Summary re Pre-Legislative Scrunity: SEN Reforms

The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) welcomes the Government's concern for children and young people with special needs as shown in its current draft legislation.  BAMT is the professional body representing HCPC registered music therapists in the UK.  We are one of the Arts Therapies.  Our professional members work day by day with some of the most vulnerable children and young people with special needs, many of whom will be affected by the proposed changes in legislation.

Music therapy is not primarily an educational intervention.  Rather, it supports access to education, for example by addressing communication/interaction difficulties, providing emotional and psychological support, and raising self-esteem, social engagement and creativity.  It is widely used in early years provisions, autism and communication disorders, PMLD settings and for children with emotional disorders.

National provision is through a mixture of local authority, health service and third sector providers.  A survey undertaken by BAMT in 2011 showed that over 40% of music therapy provision for children (0-19) was through education or local authority services, which shows the importance of educational services as points of access for children to services that support their educational opportunities and wellbeing in general.  This reality lies behind many of the specific points made below.

We understand the new legislation as intended to make it easier for children and  young people to access the help they need, and for this support to be coordinated locally across educational, health and social care providers.  We broadly welcome the proposals and hope the responses to specific points below can be considered by the Committee.

BAMT's Response to the Pre-Legislative Scrunity: SEN Reforms

In September, the Government published the draft clauses on reforming the special educational needs (SEN) system

With valuable contributions from our members, BAMT was able to respond to the consultation, highlighting the important work of many music therapists working across the country in educational settings and the continuing need for an inclusive provision which meets the overall needs of the child. 

The Children and Families Bill is expected to be introduced into parliament in the New Year which will incorporate any changes as a result of the consultation process. 

For BAMT's full response, please click here

Obituary: Daniel N. Stern

It is with much sadness that we share the news of Daniel Stern's death.  He passed away peacefully at his home in Geneva with his family on Tuesday 12th November.

His work has played a highly important role in the field of music therapy and he has been such an influence for many of us in how we have developed and shaped our practice in the UK.

We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.  He will be greatly missed within the music therapy world.

Please click here to read the obituary featured in the New York Times

October 2012

BAMT Chair, Angela Harrison addresses Seoul Summit Meeting

Front from left: presenters from Korea, Austria, Norway, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Korea
Back from right: presenters from Qatar, Czech Republic, UK, China and Japan

Organised by the Korean Music Therapy Association and supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Dr Byungchuel Choi, President, Korean Music Therapy Association and President, World Federation of Music Therapy opened the proceedings with a warm welcome to all.

"...We have invited the presidents of all the music therapy associations or representatives from countries where there are currently no music therapy associations. This will be a time where each of us will be able to share with others what has been done in terms of building music therapy as a professional field, what future directions for the field are in mind, and what our goals are for our final vision of what music therapy will look like in the future...

Since becoming the WFMT President, I have seen a total of 186 countries visit the WFMT website this past year. At the moment, we also have more than 6,000 monthly visitors. I have been taking these numbers as an indication that people are starting to pay more attention to the state of music therapy as a global profession.

We, as presidents and representatives from our respective countries, will talk and discuss with each other in order to build strong and practical networks among our countries, while simultanously laying the foundations for building a system to easily share our knowledge and experience on an ongoing basis...

Together, let us make this conference a special moment for ourselves, as well as for the history of music therapy in the world."

Cymru (Wales): Land of Song featured as country of the month in Voices, A World Forum for Music Therapy

To read the full article by Liz Coombes and Melissa Elliott, please see Cymru (Wales): Land of Song

September 2012

BAMT addresses concerns over recent press coverage

BAMT was shocked to learn of the abuse perpetrated by Simon McCarty, as reported by the BBC on 7th September. We can only be grateful that his recent conviction and imprisonment will protect children from further harm. It appears that Mr McCarty may have used his charitable role and so-called 'music therapy' activities to enable him to abuse vulnerable children.

As the body representing professional music therapists in the UK, BAMT would like to make clear that Mr. McCarty is not and has never been a member of our organisation, and that to our knowledge he has no qualification or license to practise as a music therapist in the UK.  'Music therapist' is a professional title registered by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and practitioners are trained professionals required to work to high standards of therapeutic and ethical practice. Cases such as this confirm the importance of such standards and regulation.  The association of music making with the abuse of children in this case is a travesty of the great potential for music as a healing intervention.  We would encourage the BBC and the public to check that anyone offering music therapy services is properly trained and registered with the HCPC.

BBC Radio interview with Rosie Axon, Chiltern Music Therapy

Rosie Axon, Director of Chiltern Music Therapy, talks to Nick Coffer on BBC Three Counties Radio about music therapy, how it can enable and support, and setting up a community interest company within the Three Counties.

To listen to the interview, please see (about 20mins in)

For more information about Chiltern Music Therapy, please see

August 2012

Grant helps raise awareness for innovative software at the Nordic Music Therapy Congress

As part of his MSc dissertation project, Gregory Hanford has developed software that assists with MIDI keyboard playing. The software entitled "MidiHelper" is primarily catering for people with profound physical disabilities and this research was asked to be presented at the recent Nordic Music Therapy Congress in June this year.  This was only achievable by application to the Student Small Grant Scheme and as a result the software has gained recognition as a potential aid for clients and therapists in music making in general.

 The software is freely available for music therapists and members of the public at Gregory's website, Gregory hopes to raise awareness of the product in the hope that it gives empowerment to people who have physical disabilities and facilitate a more immersive musical experience.

July 2012


Cornwall Music Therapy Trust has raised £20,000 to provide treatment for adults and children with a range of health and learning problems.

The cheque was presented by Angela Alderman, chairman of Cornwall Music Therapy Trust, to Councillor Neil Burden, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for children's services, on behalf of Music Therapy Cornwall, the nationally recognised team of therapists.

The presentation was made at Heartlands, where music therapists described their work and demonstrated some of the instruments they use.

To read the full article please click here

May 2012


Oxleas Music Therapy Service has been named as a runner up in the prestigious national 2012 Advancing Healthcare awards.

Special Music Therapist Alexia Quin and Professional Manager for Music Therapy, Sarah Hadley, picked up their awards on behalf of the whole team in the Achieving Excellence In Learning and Development category at a special lunch at the Radisson Blu Portman Square Hotel in central London.

The awards were presented by BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh. The team, which is based at Wensley Close in Eltham, believes it is possible to skill non musicians to use music in ways that support early development. The aim is to reach under fives who are at risk of not achieving their full potential.

For the full article, please click here


Student focuses on music therapist role to win regional prize

NHS Careers 2012 schools' competition

NHS Careers is delighted to announce the winners of the 2012 Step in the NHS schools' competition.  This year, the East of England regional winner triumphed by looking at the role of a music therapist in the NHS.

Wendy Mach, 14, from the Grays School Media Arts College in Grays was selected from over 1,250 nationwide who entered the competition, which was designed to encourage young people aged 12 - 14 to think about the huge variety of jobs available in the NHS.  Pupils throughout England were asked to research any of the wide range of careers in the NHS and submit a job advert for their chosen role, plus either a job description or a CV of the ideal candidate.

The winning student chose to focus on the role of a music therapist in the NHS.  The judges were particularly impressed by her creativity and understanding of the role in developing a range of materials including a excellent job advertisement which was in the form of a comic strip.

Wendy was presented with her prize of a £50 Amazon voucher during a special presentation at the school.

Alan Simmons, careers consultant for NHS Careers and a member of the judging panel said, "This is the fourth year we have run the competition and the standard of entries was again very high.  We found that Wendy's understanding of the role of a music therapist and the creative way she promoted it to her peers made her entry really stand out.

With over 350 job roles, working in the NHS can mean a lot more than being a doctor a nurse - roles traditionally associated with the NHS.  The NHS needs a whole team of staff, from phlebotomists to porters, and from clinical psychologists to cooks to make sure that patients receive the best care possible."

Wendy said, "I really enjoyed taking part in the competition and I am now more aware of the jobs available in the NHS.  I chose to look at the role of a music therapist as I wanted to learn more about what people do in this role and how music helps people who are experiencing difficulties.  Through the research I did for the competition, I have learnt a lot about the day-to-day work of a music therapist and am now considering it as a job when I finish school."

For more information about the competition, please see

April 2012

Dementia and the Power of Music

Michele Hanson advocates more music therapy for people with dementia in The Guardian.

Click here to read the full article online

Message from the Health Professions Council (HPC) - Have you recently moved or has your employer changed?

It is essential that registrants keep us informed of any change of address or employment. Just as you would inform your bank or gas and electricity supplier if you move house, make sure you contact the HPC. If we do not have your correct address then we cannot get in touch about renewing your registration by 31st May 2012.  And if you lapse off the Register this not only affects your livelihood but also your manager, colleagues and, of course, patients.

If you have changed address and have not previously told us, you can update your details online using your authentication card which will have been sent to you along with your most recent registration certificate as well as your activation code. If you do not have these details registrants are able to request this.  Information is emailed to them by using the online system.

To update online please see

As well as their authentication code, they will also need the password they set up when they activated their account, or their activation code if they haven't already activated their online account, to access the system and update their details.

However, registrants can use the online system to request this information which is emailed to them, so if they don't have their password or activation code to hand it's not a big deal.

Alternatively, you can contact the Registration Department on 0845 3004 472 (lo-call if calling from within the UK) or +44 (0)20 7840 9802

Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm. You can also write to us. For security reasons, we are unable to accept notification of change of name or address by email.

HPC's Customer Services Manager, Claire Harkin, said:

"I hope this will make life easier for registrants as they can now update their details 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I also hope it will encourage people to keep us up-to-date with any changes to their contact details so we can make sure important information reaches registrants successfully.This new function will also stop registrants from having to wait to speak to a registration advisor and will therefore make the telephone service we offer more efficient."