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.
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.
Our 'Bringing it All Back Home' Programme, saw us deliver a series of Skill-Sharing Pilot Projects to people working in 5 different care settings in 2016 and a further 3 in 2017. Excitingly, the contribution of music therapist Hazel Child to this programme has been recognised with a shortlisting for an Advancing Healthcare Award in the category "Realising Potential through Creativity". Our 8 '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.
“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)
We are currently working to deliver 4 skill-sharing projects across the UK in 2018. We will also be returning to 8 UK partner care settings to provide their staff with the support we know is so important to keeping music programmes going and making sure that the impact of our introductory training is a lasting one. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from their experiences and develop our understanding of what care practitioners in the UK believe they need, in terms of additional resources and training. This will enable us to develop a responsive portfolio of Sustainability Acitivities for the UK, as we have for our partners in other countries.
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.
Our Director, Alexia Quin, was part of the Commission which has recently produced a report examining the role of music in dementia care. It will be interesting to see how we can play our part in taking forward the recommendations from the report, which you can download here.
Our Interactive Music-Making Programme continues in 2017, with the 10 Early Years Practitioners currently enrolled completing their Practical Assignments and graduating in the late Spring. The course will start again in September 2018 and given the continuing deep cuts being felt by the Early Years sector, we will be offering Awards to help early years practitioners access the course.
To find out more about Interactive Music-Making, how to train and where it is available, please visit the Interactive Music-Making website.