Last week, Advisory Panel member and music therapist Sophie Dawson delivered a Follow-up Visit with our Partners at The Children’s Trust, a charity providing care and education for young people with PMLD, and with whom MasT had partnered in March this year for a skill-sharing project. She caught up with Ishbel Harris, and observed her running her regular music group, giving her feedback and celebrating her incredible successes. Unfortunately the other partners who trained were unable to make this Follow-Up, and Sophie will continue to support their use of music in 2022. Sophie said:

It has been fantastic to see Ish using music with the young people on our residential houses since our Music as Therapy International training project six months ago. Ish is our Activities Co-ordinator, and has been running after school music groups using the skills she learnt during the project. She has worked hard to organise our after-school provision and I was impressed to see that a music group was on the agenda.

Due to the training I am able to offer music sessions to young people who may not otherwise get that opportunity. Running music afterschool sessions also encourages residential staff to get involved and see the benefits of music.

Ish, Activities Coordinator at The Children’s Trust

I caught up with Ish first, then observed and took part in one of her sessions on Willow House (she is pictured above, leading the group with a drum). She used a similar structure for her group to the one we discussed during our project, beginning with a hello song (on the ukulele!) and then creating a drumming circle. She also used improvisation in her play and the pupils responded well to this.

Ish took her lead from the group and was rewarded with some lovely responses, with the young people particularly engaging when the group played rhythmic variations of their names.

It has been wonderful to see Ish grow in confidence when using music – she has built great relationships with the young people on the residential houses and brings joy and energy to the work that she does.

Missed Sophie’s last blog, reflecting on the training project itself? Find it here!