United Kingdom

Background

We have twenty years’ proven experience in developing and delivering our introductory music therapy training projects in a number of different countries and five years proven experience applying our approach here in the United Kingdom. In 2016, we made a strategic decision to increase our reach in the UK, working towards a 50:50 split between our overseas projects and our UK activities by 2020. Whilst we are open to working in any care setting that is keen to promote access to music for its service users, we prioritise projects which train care staff working in three key areas:

Young Children under 5 years: Using a tried-and-tested form of early intervention with children who are struggling. It helps with the prompt identification of difficulties and provides creative activities to help children when they are most in need.

Adults with learning disabilities in long-term residential care: Providing care staff with new tools to deliver person-centred care, helping them engage with the people they work with to promote their independence and decision-making.

People living with dementia: Sharing key principles of music therapy with carers so they can use music and musical interaction to recognise each person’s individuality, deepen relationships, provide mutually meaningful interaction, and support in times of agitation and distress. Read our Evidence Base for Dementia and Music here.

All our projects strive to strengthen wider care practice, giving people who are in contact with vulnerable people on a daily basis some new tools to develop relationships, to meet low level emotional needs to prevent their escalation, and to recognise more complex needs.

Activities and impact to date

Since 2010, we have been working with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust to offer our Interactive Music-Making learning programme for Early Years Practitioners. The course aims to make music-making a more integral part of all children's early development opportunities and to promote skills associated with developing social communication. To date, 42 Early Years practitioners have trained as Interactive Music-Makers, working in 28 care settings. Their music programmes stand to benefit more than 10,000 children. To find out more about Interactive Music-Making, how to train and where it is available, please visit the Interactive Music-Making website.

This work has been well-received by the music therapy profession, and is currently being written up for publication. It has also been recognised by the judging panel of the Advancing Healthcare Awards, for which it was shortlisted in 2012 and 2013 and acknowledged within the UCL Institute for Health Equity’s report Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals.

Our 'Bringing It All Back Home' Programme, saw us deliver a series of Skill-Sharing Pilot Projects to people working in 6 different care settings in 2016 and a further 3 in 2017. The contribution of music therapist Hazel Child to this programme was recognised with a shortlisting for an Advancing Healthcare Award in the category "Realising Potential through Creativity". Our 'Bringing it All Back Home' projects took us from Fort William to Worthing, via Sheffield, South East London and Wales, and resulted in 31 staff receiving training so they can offer meaningful music-making to over 400 children and adults in their care. You can hear from some of our UK partners in the film below.

In 2018 we returned to our 8 UK partner settings, to deliver a series of Support Visits. This provided their staff with the support we know is vital to keeping music programmes going and ensuring the impact of our introductory training is a lasting one. We also used this as an opportunity to learn from their experiences and develop our understanding of what support care practitioners in the UK feel they need. You can find out more about what we learned in the UK Sustainability Review Report below.

“As a children's centre, Interactive Music-Making means that we can offer targeted support, early intervention and prevention. It ticks all the boxes as far as we're concerned and we can see children & parents thoroughly enjoying it!” (Children's Centre Manager, South East London)

Current Activities

We begin the year with a new Introductory Training Field Project working with children and young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities and Autism, to be delivered in partnership with national charity MacIntyre. We have the capacity to deliver three more Field Projects across the UK, and will keep this space updated with any further news.

If you are interested to know more about what is involved in a skill-sharing project or to see if a project might be suitable for a care setting known to you, you can read our leaflet here or send us an email to enquire further.

This January, we publish our UK Sustainability Review: the consolidated learning from last year’s Sustainability Programme of Support Visits, which you can download here (and here for the Executive Summary). Our findings will enable us to develop a responsive and tailored portfolio of Sustainability Activities for the UK, as we have for our partners in other countries. In response to the feedback received, we will be developing accessible online resources and our approach to sharing these via our website and a quarterly UK newsletter.

Our Director, Alexia Quin, was recently part of the Utley Foundation / ILC-UK Commission on Music and Dementia examining the role of music in dementia care, which you can download here. We continue to explore avenues for development in this area, including a CPD event for music therapists working in dementia care, in partnership with the Utley Foundation and Playlist for Life.

Finally, our Interactive Music-Making Programme (IMM) continues in 2019, with 11 Early Years practitioners currently enrolled completing their Practical Assignments and due to graduate in late Spring. IMM 2019-20 will start in September and given the continuing deep cuts being felt by the Early Years sector, we will be once again be offering Awards to help early years practitioners access the course. This year will also see the launch of our Motivation Programme for IMM graduates, which will involve a combination of CPD Events, email bulletins, opportunities to request supervision and for Interactive Music Makers to observe one another’s sessions. We will continue to develop our Motivation Programme throughout the year in response to Partner need and feedback and look forward to seeing how it evolves!

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