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. It is here in the UK where we wish to increase our reach now, working towards a 50:50 split between our overseas projects and our UK activities over the next 5 years. Specifically we will develop projects which train care staff working in three focus 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 p rovide 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.
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
For the last 5 years 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 34 early years practitioners have trained as Interactive Music-Makers, working in 28 care settings. Their music programmes stand to benefit more than 1,500 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 international 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. Interactive Music-Making was also acknowledged within the UCL Institute for Health Equity’s report Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals.
In 2016 we delivered a series of Skill-Sharing Pilot Projects to people who work in our three focus areas. These 6 projects took us to from Fort William to Hove, via Sheffield, South East London and Wales. We also delivered a structured training programme (Interactive Music-Making) which welcomed practitoners from early years settings in London. These projects saw us train and support 111 care staff so that 1,500 children and adults may continue to benefit from music programmes they now run in their different settings.
“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)