Now approaching three months into my UK Programme Assistant role at Music as Therapy International, it feels a good time to reflect on my experiences up to this point. Kiran and I have been given a brilliant induction from the team, showing us the ropes in all the charity’s activities – from project coordination cycles, fundraising fundamentals, safeguarding principles, to spreading the word on all we do. I have really enjoyed delving into MasT’s past projects, and reading the many joyful stories of our partners’ music-making experiences, both internationally and here in the UK.

There has certainly been a lot to take in; I have been amazed by the breadth and reach of MasT’s work, which seems to far exceed the very small team behind the charity’s day-to-day activities. Yet somehow, an amazing number of projects are delivered each year, partners, new and old, are supported in their activities, and the charity continues to fulfil its mission to enhance the everyday care of people through music.

I have learnt a huge amount about the importance of recording our impact, both for project planning purposes, and as a tangible way for us to capture and celebrate the reach of our work with our partners and supporters. Recently, I have been working with Alexia to update our log of partners, recording current and forecasted figures of the care settings, music participants and staff we hope to train and support this year. This wide-lens view has been a great way to familiarise myself with our many partners, some of whom I have started to get to know through our UK Motivation programme, and also through supporting our current cohort of Interactive Music-Making students, currently embarking on the final weeks of their practical assignments.

The varied programme of UK projects planned for this year means there is much to look forward to and, undoubtedly, many more valuable learning opportunities for me. These include looking at our online training tool, ‘Music Helps’, (originally devised to introduce caregivers in India to using music to help people living with dementia) to see if it may be adapted for people working in the UK, new introductory training in a variety of care settings, and welcoming a new cohort of Interactive Music-Makers.

All being well and providing Covid doesn’t threaten to jeopardise our plans, we anticipate that our 2022 UK Programme could see more than 160 staff participate in our projects, and over 120 vulnerable children and adults access music sessions immediately in more than 85 care settings. But our work isn’t just about what happens when we are alongside our partners. The impact when they take their new music skills and start to develop how they are using music themselves, will create opportunities for more than 8,250 children and adults to access music.

It is hard to believe that we will be able to fit this into one year, but I am excited to see how our projects, plans, and partnerships will unfold. I certainly feel very lucky to be part of this, and we look forward to sharing our progress with you each step of the way.