United Kingdom

Background

We have over twenty years’ proven experience in developing and delivering our introductory music therapy training projects in a number of different countries and ten years' 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. Read our Evidence Base for Young Children and Music (2020) here.

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. Read our Evidence Base for Adults with Learning Disabilities and Music (2020) here.

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 (2020) 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, 51 Early Years practitioners have trained as Interactive Music-Makers, working in 31 care settings. Their music programmes stand to benefit more than 20,000 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 pilot Introductory Training Projects delivered in situ to 9 different care settings (2016-17). 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. The delivery of such Introductory Training Projects within care settings is now an integral component of our UK Programme. Send us an email if you would like to know about how a care setting known to you might access training in this way.

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. Our Director, Alexia Quin, was also part of the 2018 Utley Foundation / ILC-UK Commission on Music and Dementia examining the role of music in dementia care, which you can download here.

In 2019, we ran three more Introductory Training Projects: one in partnership with MacIntyre No Limits, a charity supporting young people with disabilities, and a further two working with people living with dementia at Invernevis House in the Scottish Highlands, and Chelsea Court Place in London. You can read more about these projects on our Blog or request sponors reports by emailing us.

In January, we published our UK Sustainability Review: the consolidated learning from last year’s Sustainability Programme of Support Visits, which you can download here (full report) and here (Executive Summary). We have also continued working with the Utley Foundation within their Music for Dementia 2020 campaign, including contributing to a CPD Event for music therapists working in dementia care, alongside Playlist for Life and music therapists from Anglia Ruskin Univeristy and Methodist Homes for the Age.

“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

This year we have capacity to deliver four more Introductory Training Projects across the UK, and have begun our first project of the year in partnership with Moss Park Care Home, returning to deliver a second training to one of our original 2016 Partner settings. We have another project in the development stage and continue to prioritise our three key client groups: Adults with Learning Difficulties, the Under Fives and people living with Dementia. Our Interactive Music-Making Programme (IMM) also continues this year: 10 Early Years practitioners will graduate in the Spring and a new intake of will be recruited to begin in September.

We will maintain our offer of Support Visits to our UK Partners, as well as three more CPD Events for Interactive Music-Makers. Our 2019 Motivation Programme continues with a quartley newsletter which includes instrument giveaways, music therapist Q&As, and new activity ideas for partners (read past editions and sign up here!).

If you are interested to know more about what is involved in an Introductory Training 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.

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