Since 2008 the Cornwall Music Therapy Trust has contributed over £300,000 for the direct provision of Music Therapy projects
from Cornwall Music Therapy Trust
The Arcos Quartet to visit Doubletrees School
The top musicians from across the Royal College of Music, the Arcos Quartet, will be visiting Doubletrees School in St Austell to help the children understand the fun in making music with different instruments. Doubletrees caters for learners aged between 2 and 19 years who have complex needs. The Trust has supported music therapy at Doubletrees for some time. The Arcos Quartet was formed in 2014 at the Royal College of Music. Its members are currently in their second and third years of study at the RCM, and all hail from different countries in Europe. The quartet has coaching with Mark Messenger, as well as other musicians including Simon Rowland-Jones and Richard Lester. In March 2015 the quartet won the RCM String Quartet competition.
Open Day in Boscawen Park for the Health Promotion Service
Ruth Boulton, Music Therapist, recently attended a Health Promotion Service open day in Boscawen Park and conducted an open music therapy session. Ruth said: It was a fun day for adults with learning disability, also involving publicity of health and safety issues. About 20 people attended across the session, just pitching in and making music together. Lovely atmosphere. There will be a similar event in Newquay on 4th September at Fistral Beach.
Awards4All Grant from the Big Lottery Fund
The Trust is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a grant from Awards4All for music therapy to take place in the St Ives Bay area. Sessions will be with pre-school children who have additional needs, and their families, and will be held in the St Ives Bay Clinic, Hayle Children’s Centre and a local school.
St Piran’s new Cornish Lullaby
The winning entries to the 2015 St Piran’s Lullaby Competition have been announced by the panel of judges comprising Leslie Bunt, Professor of Music Therapy at the University of the West of England; Sam Parker, Head of Music at Helston College; Mark Pugh, editor of MyCornwall magazine and local mother Emma Collins. The winners are: Iris Boulton, 14, of Madron (11-18 category) with ‘Lullaby’; and Class One of Otterham School (up to 11 category) with ‘The Lullaby of St Piran’. Iris Boulton is a player in Penzance Youth String Orchestra, members of which took part in the recording together with 16-year-old soprano Kerenza Hurr. Judges thought that her lullaby was a mature composition with soothing but earthy text which effectively conjured the essence of St Piran. The entry of Class One, Otterham School charmed the judges considerably, who noted that the unified voices of the youngsters would warm the heart of any restless Cornish man, woman, or child.The winning entries are to be professionally recorded by Kernow Music Foundation CIC at The Venue, Redruth. The competition for children and young people living in Cornwall to find a new Cornish lullaby was launched by St Piran’s Festival Redruth together with the Cornwall Music Therapy Trust. The winning entries are to be broadcast on local radio on St Piran’s Day 5 March 2015 and will receive a live world premiere performance at the St Piran’s Day Festival in Redruth on Saturday 7 March.
Gig in a gig
Cornwall’s music therapists got together on 9th June 2013 to play the first ever ‘gig in a gig’ in Falmouth harbour, Cornwall, UK. The gig was timed to promote Music Therapy week 2013 and promote awareness of music therapy and the work we are doing locally.
Music Therapy Helps To Open Doors For Autistic Man From Gwithian
A 24 year old autistic man from Gwithian is just one of the hundreds of children and young adults with mental or physical illnesses, disabilities or emotional and behavioural problems whose lives have been transformed by the outstanding work being carried out by music therapists in Cornwall. Research shows that music therapy can help people of all ages with a wide range of conditions, including autism, cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, eating disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Downs syndrome and communication disorders. “Music can touch emotions which often cannot be expressed in words and which sometimes prevent a full engagement with education – and life” explained music therapist Robin Bates. “In the words of Ryan, a ten year old boy who is currently receiving music therapy: Music’s great; I can put my secrets in the music and it looks after them for me”. One person who has benefited from the support provided by music therapists employed by Cornwall Council is Kyle Coleman who is autistic. Mum Caroline is full of praise for the work of the music therapists who have been working with her son. “Since Kyle has been receiving music therapy, doors have opened for him and he now embraces life with much more confidence, enthusiasm and trust” she said. “Music therapy has not only facilitated Kyle’s affinity with music, but has developed him as an individual, allowing him to explore further avenues of musical expression”. Visit Kyle’s website at kylecoleman.co.uk
Views from the Music Therapists
Music Therapy – What is it?
by Robin Bates, music therapist Of all the people I work with, there is one girl who can help me tell you what music therapy is about. She’s Bridget. A stunningly beautiful girl, eighteen years old. She has cerebral palsy, spends most of her life in a wheelchair, can’t move much and has no words. She’s part of a group of six teenagers I see for 45 mins every Tuesday at the Curnow School, Redruth. After five sessions with this group where I tried to help the people play xylophones, a guitar, pieces of percussion, I began to work with the voice. I sang a simple two note melody, offering this to Bridget HIYA BRIDGET. The voice was the key for Bridget: she gathered herself, focused and seemed to be heaving it up from her boots, from the tips of her toes. Every sinew she could govern was straining … then the voice came – timidly at first – a whimper and then it rose… , a rich flowering alto which climbed higher and higher, expressive, soulful and exuberant. When I praised her for her enormous effort, her joyous smile lit up the room and continues to light up my day. And I think this may be the one window in these people’s week through which, helped by music – they can tell the world a little bit about who they are. This is me; this is my way of making an impact on the world. THIS IS WHO I AM. The Cornwall Music Therapy Trust currently supports the work of six music therapists in Cornwall. We work in Special Schools, mainstream schools, children’s centres, The Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, Little Harbour Children’s Hospice. Between us we see each week just under 200 children and adults with such diagnoses as autism, Downs syndrome, dementia, global delay etc. Importantly, as it is unburdened by the need for words, music therapy can be particularly effective in helping clients, like Bridget, who have no speech, or who lack the ability to talk about their emotions. How You Play is Who You Are
Music Therapy at Little Harbour
by Music Therapist Matt Davis The CMTT funded a half-day per week pilot project to provide music therapy at Little Harbour Children’s Hospice in Cornwall. This work is now continuing through Children’s Hospice South West’s own music therapy provision. The work undertaken at the hospice is different to that which I normally do – for many reasons. One of which being the fact that families are not in regular attendance on a weekly basis so the work done with the children is not the week-by-week process a music therapist would normally do. Rather you see different children every visit and usually get to see them again a few months or weeks later. This means the work is not so evolutionary by nature but can function in slightly different ways. I also get to work with siblings and other family members. Having been there for a significant period of time I have found it’s still possible to build relationships with the children and I enjoy the flexibility of working in a wide range of contexts both individually and in groups – sometimes very large ones! ‘Like a memento from a journey… We approximate ourselves to a situation, a meeting, and then, through reflection, try to bring something back’ The writer John Berger was asked once how he might describe his writing and method of working. He replied that to him it felt like he goes very close into a situation, person, character or place – to a degree of intimacy – to find something close to an essence, and then to ‘bring it back’, like a memento from a journey. It struck me this is very similar to what we do as therapists. We approximate ourselves to a situation, a meeting, and then, through reflection, try to ‘bring something back’. Something we can apply to our understanding of it. Not a truth, but something which might illuminate the chaotic, hesitant or unpredictable present.
The Measurement of Not Knowing
by Matt Davis, Music Therapist Around a year ago I was visiting a six year old boy, John (named changed), in a special needs unit in a mainstream primary school in East Cornwall. John had been referred for presenting with Asperger’s type symptoms. John was articulate and was able to read, and liked books, which was often a distraction as the sessions were held in the school library, with John often preferring to choose a book to look at rather than take up any of the instruments. In fact, the aim of the sessions quickly became to develop a sense of shared play of any kind, musical or not. Music did not seem to engage John particularly but after a few sessions we got into the ritual of sitting at the piano together and I would play a soundtrack to the book John had chosen. This was often humorous but seemed somehow un-shared and that I was ‘performing’ a task for John – being a ‘story jukebox’. Eventually John started to use some puppets that were sometimes in the room, and every week he would seek them out so he could bring them along. These puppets would generally be subjected to being killed and hurt in various ways. It’s possible John was recreating something he had seen in adult video games, but really I had no idea as to what purpose this playing out of violence was serving. What was clear was that John wanted me to see it and that it contained an aspect of play – of make-believe. Both of these things felt significant and a development of what had happened so far. It was imaginative, it was playful, and it was a communication. Still, however, there was very little, if any, shared music. Reports from the school was that he was doing ‘really well’. He was also generally willing to attend music therapy, not always with overwhelming motivation, but in general happy to come. These positive signs, as well as John’s ‘performing’ in the sessions, was what kept things going, although I really had no sense of clarity as to where we were, or how to continue. In addition to the ‘violence’ acted out upon the puppets John would sometimes bring a baby doll and care for it in a very nurturing way. That he was able to display an internalised nurturing, and therefore inherently affective experience, was very positive. What I felt was missing, however, was a sense of relatedness between us – of an attachment of some kind – a sense of a shared experience. I knew John had some kind of relationship with the sessions but it felt very impersonal – almost like it was half an hour of ‘free time’ rather than a space of interaction, even of a very small amount. It often felt as though I could leave the room and John would barely notice. what I felt was missing was a sense of relatedness After a year our sessions were due to end. This was something that was forced upon us but we had a few weeks to prepare. Four weeks before our last session, John sat at the piano and played a little. This was a huge development in terms of us sharing a musical space. I had told John at the start of the session that we would be ending in a few weeks. His music seemed quite melancholic and when we had finished playing I noticed what I thought might be a glimmer of sadness flit across his face. As therapists we are trained to notice such minute details – and our own responses to them. It felt significant to me so I made a mental note: “I’m having that” I thought, “I might have imagined it but that felt very emotional.” It felt safe enough to check in with John about what was going on for him. I said I thought he’d looked a bit sad and asked how he felt about the sessions ending. John started to cry and came over to put his head on my shoulder. “Who will come to sing me songs every week?” This was a level of emotional communication, attachment and affectivity I had never thought I would see from John in our sessions – never thought possible. The whole nature of the therapy had been centred around the sense that this was somehow missing. Had I missed it? What was it that had meant something to John? I think so much of what we do as therapists is based on not knowing – or at least trying to articulate something that we can never truly know. Most of the time I was completely lost as to how to enter into a shared, interpersonal, playful space with John. And in that sense a lot of the time the sessions felt like a failure. For the final few sessions I talked over the ending with John, and we were able to approach it in a very positive way, with some tears and a genuine feeling of warmth and affection. Looking back it seems the most important element of the therapy was ‘turning up’, that there we were every week – the same time, the same songs; that we were holding together that experience of not knowing, of feeling lost. At present it feels as though health care is more and more at the mercy of the pressures of privatisation: competition and valorisation. And though music therapy is finding solutions to a problem it has always faced – how to evaluate itself, we should somehow confront the pressures for music therapy to vindicate itself as a measurable intervention related to comparable units of time. ‘Time’ in therapy can stand still, run at a different tempo. It’s a space that necessarily needs to be exempt from black and white categorisations such as cause and effect: I do this, you will be able to do that. With John we ended with a sense of relatedness and emotional recognition – the aims we set out to achieve. Most of the time, though, was spent ‘not knowing’, and how to measure that?
Melody Is a Risk
by Music Therapist Robin Bates This boy, Gabriel, has just taken a big risk. He has just sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (TTLS) together with me in a music therapy group for seven children with profound and multiple learning difficulties in the Curnow School, Redruth. the look on his face, of excitement and exuberance, speaks of the terrific effort he has made The look on his face, of excitement and exuberance, speaks of the terrific effort he has made. And no wonder – for the children in Gabriel’s group, their disabilities make it very difficult for them to organise a singing voice. It took three years of music therapy for Gabriel to achieve his. For three years he could only manage his voice to produce one note; TTLS always on one note. And after he achieved his first melodic rendition, he effervesced and luxuriated in the wide praises from myself and all the staff in the room. He had taken the risk and succeeded. For some children however, it is their emotional inner world which prevents them from taking risks. Many, through appalling family circumstances, are terrified of the world and unsure of their place in it – afraid to assert themselves for fear of catastrophe. One such was Jamie, a three-year old boy with whom I worked at the Truro Child Development Centre at Treliske. An ablebodied and inquisitive boy, Jamie’s eyes, which seemed to find wonder wherever they looked, were also full of fear. Initially he couldn’t enter the music therapy room; it took four weeks before he crossed the threshold. Then, for one three-minute episode each session I sang a well known song (TTLS) and for 21 weeks he joined in – but only singing on one note; literally monotonous. I reflected on how safe it was for him to remain on one note, how comfortable – yet how restricting. Then one spring day, he took the risk. Firstly with the first two notes; two weeks later with the whole song. The look on his face was unforgettable. That safe, holding quality of music, was for Jamie a steadying hand throughout. By the end of the year his singing was exuberant, melodic and confident. Child Development indeed. he took the risk… firstly with the first two notes, two weeks later with the whole song Big news for Jamie, big news for music therapy and worthy of a fanfare on this blog.
It Could Only Happen To A Music Therapist
by Music Therapist Robin Bates One of the most bizarre situations I can remember happened three months after I qualified. My first ever client in Cornwall was a little boy I’m calling Vyvyan, seven years old, who had cerebral palsy, was quadriplegic, had epilepsy. His parents had moved from London and were living in a tiny cottage at the head of Polwheveral Creek on the Helford River, near Falmouth, a mile from the sea. When I drove down the lane to the cottage, brambles scratched both sides of my car. Vyvyan usually sat in his Mum’s lap in the poky lounge. I took a mbiri and a guitar, and I sang to Vyvyan, taking cues from his eye-movements and breathing pattern; Mum joined in too. There seemed to be little response from Vyvyan apart from thinly vocalised yawns. On my way to the session one February day, driving down car-scratchy lane, I turned a corner about 50 yards from Vyvyan’s cottage and had to slam on my brakes. An enormous cow stood broadside across the road as if wedged between the two hedges – a big beef roadblock – and she had a Tesco’s bag on her back. There was a man leaning against the cow, wearing a heavy coat tied up with rope, and a floppy woollen hat. I wound down my window. ‘Hey boy!’ the man said, ‘turn off ee engine – QUICK!’ I switched off and got out out of the car. ‘Listen!’ he said, cupping his ear, ‘Can ee ‘ear it boy?’ I listened for ten seconds – ‘What?’ I said. ‘The birds, boy – the birds! Twitterin’ higher they are! It’s the spring! The spring’s comin!’ Suddenly I heard them; he was right -the birdsong had gone up a notch or two, was more urgent. Listen! Can ee ‘ear it boy? It took several minutes for the man to shunt the cow through a farm gate after I explained I was on my way to an appointment. When I told Vyvyan’s Mum why I was five minutes late, she said ‘Ah yes, that’s Belman, that is, Belman Bolitho. He’s lovely, he lives on the farm, he brings presents for Vyvyan every day.’ Belman gave me a gift that day too: the gift of listening properly. My sessions with Vyvyan were never the same after the time Belman helped me hear spring and I have since recommended to the British Association for Music Therapy that he is employed for a session or two on all of the UK music therapy courses.
Music Therapy With A Man With MS
by Ruth Boulton, Registered Music Therapist I’d like to portray my recent work with a man at a Leonard Cheshire Home, for whom the Trust has provided 19 weeks of group therapy. ‘Dave’ (name changed) is middle aged, suffers from multiple sclerosis and is now living life in a wheelchair with deteriorating memory and minimal use of his hands. He was referred to music therapy due to his social isolation. Initial sessions were difficult for Dave – he showed resistance to engage with the instruments and dismissed the idea of therapy. He did, however, come to the sessions. He had played guitar some years back, and was still a dedicated heavy rock fan. Being faced with my transportable range of instruments and piano may not have immediately appealed to him! It took some weeks, developing trust, for Dave to feel at ease enough to begin to share his thoughts and feelings. His first comment introduced what he called the ‘F word’, which he clarified as meaning ‘Frustration’. This was a constant, dominating part of Dave’s life. I wondered if one way of helping Dave understand that I was interested in his feelings was to play frustrated sounding music on the piano with jarring rhythms and clashes, which I did. The music did seem to give him direct feedback, and Dave reluctantly began to accept my attempts to acknowledge him. We explored other aspects of frustration over the weeks in the group, and what they might mean, and also if there might be another side to these powerful feelings. he wasn’t going to be defeated even though he seemed nervous I wanted to help Dave engage with creative ways of dealing with these feelings. I also played slower, more open-sounding music during this time which Dave responded to as ‘P.O.M. – you need peace of mind’. It seemed that Dave was beginning to reference some important resources within himself which could help alleviate the frustration. Dave was becoming more open to playing some of the instruments, and we set up an African drum comfortably positioned so that he could play. His playing was unconfident at first, but he wasn’t going to be defeated even though he seemed nervous. We improvised music together, which now also enabled us to work together, giving a context for Dave to express himself and gain support through my playing. The music we played developed over the weeks with Dave adding a new experimental rhythm every so often across the beat, becoming generally much more grounded in his playing. He enjoyed the continuity and structure of rhythmic Latino-style music. I was gaining a stronger sense of who Dave was through his commitment to playing the drum. This gave me real insight, as Dave wasn’t able to verbally communicate much of himself and his frustration often got in the way. Playing the drum with supporting music was expressing a more intact picture of Dave. At this point, I decided to work more specifically on encouraging his physical movement, hoping that this might further enhance his mood. It was a sort of game, where he played with a beater in one hand and a shaker in the other, which might encourage his hemispheric brain crossover. After a few minutes of this, Dave would become noticeably freer and happier which made me wonder if parts of his brain had gone to sleep through under stimulation, and were now re-awakening. He spoke of ‘P.M.A. – positive mental attitude’, which I felt reflected this shift clearly. We were also still playing our previous music through which Dave had developed a more subtle quality and gained more flexibility to changes in my music. The endings of the pieces had now begun to take on significance and there were times when they were intuitively synchronised, but also times when they felt unconfident and anxious. Around this point in the therapy I needed to introduce the ending stage of the therapy to Dave, so that he could process his feelings about our relationship ending too. He needed these weeks to express some of his annoyance and feelings of rejection. Ambivalent feelings of loss and gain came into sharp focus over these sessions. I was uncomfortably reminded of the reasons for Dave’s initial referral, and that he would soon experience time without the now immediate interaction the therapy was able to provide. I struggled with this, but was partly reassured to discover that Dave’s interactions with other staff had noticeably been improving of late, and his annual review meeting had confirmed these changes as relating to his therapy. In our penultimate piece, Dave clung on to the music, wanting it to carry on without ending. This seemed a powerful communication of his commitment to, and trust in the music, which he wanted to hold on to. His therapy had had 19 weeks to develop, and had come a long way. It was therefore a lot to give up. Our final piece celebrated this journey in a guitar song with the words: ‘We’re here today to celebrate the things we really want to say’. This seemed a genuine acknowledgement of the process the therapy had enabled for Dave, and the sense of having arrived at this point together. The piece ended with a large, shared crescendo to its cadence. we’re here today to celebrate the things we really want to say My hope is that the transforming musical relationship Dave engaged with in his therapy will remain in his internal, conscious or unconscious memory, and that these experiences will in some way be able to influence the quality of his life as he copes with the next stages of his progressive illness.
Open Group Music Therapy Sessions With People In The Late Stages Of Dementia On Garner Ward At Bodmin Hospital
by Liz Norman, Music Therapist I arrived at about 1.30pm, this time everyone was sitting indoors as it was raining outside. Becky and a couple of other members of nursing staff were sitting with the patients in the area at the top of the ward near the nurses’ station. There were two or three faces I knew from the previous week and some new people. Everyone was fairly quiet and sitting calmly. They seemed generally to be mildly curious as I got out some instruments. One lady, a new person, asked me if I knew how to play the guitar and said she knew quite a lot about music. She played the glockenspiel a little while I was setting things out. Everyone listened and clapped when she finished. I started by playing the guitar a little and began to get a feel for how the group was today. They were much less lively than the previous week. There was an air of contemplation and sadness. The lady who asked about the guitar was singing; she talked about having to go soon and there being a time for everyone to leave. She empathized with another lady’s sadness about the death of her husband and sang a short song I didn’t know. As she sang she closed her eyes and held her arms crossed over her chest. Some of the lyrics were about the gates of Zion and heaven waiting, it sounded like a hymn tune. Another patient, the lady who was very sad about the death of her husband, talked about wanting to go home, she said there was no point trying to make it better because nothing could help. She said she felt trapped and then told Becky she didn’t blame her; she just really wanted to go home. A gentleman who I hadn’t met before was wandering around, often staying near the group but not sitting down. He picked up the ocean drum and started playing some rhythms; he was tapping and making interesting rhythmic music with his finger movements. Another gentleman was talking about something I didn’t really understand but it was as if he was telling us all some important information. A lady I met last week was very chatty; she seemed cheerful and told me many of the same things she talked about the previous week. Some of the songs we sang today included ‘Moon River’, which a lady joined in with singing very gently, and ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home’, which I sang right at the end. This was the liveliest song and the one that most people joined in with and sang along to. I felt that many of the people in the group would really, really like to go home, if only it were possible.
From those that have received therapy and their networks
“For an hour there, boy, you cured my multiple sclerosis.”
“I have seen music therapy open up the world to children with profound communication difficulties. For our pupils who cannot express themselves through language, special time shared with their music therapist enables them to express their emotions and share interactions using the universal language of music.”
“As well as having an opportunity to express their feelings, children having music therapy develop self esteem and social skills such as listening, turn taking and appropriate communication. All of this can transpose to the classroom and help enhance their learning experience.”
“Music therapy helped me express feelings I didn’t know I had.”
“My son’s attachment difficulties had catapulted the family into a whirlwind of extreme behaviour and emotions. Two years of music therapy has transformed our lives.”
“After experiencing domestic abuse, music therapy offered a mother and child an outlet for expressing their feelings in a safe environment, resulting in a happier, closer relationship.”
Camerata Kernow Spring Concert
The spring concert by Camerata Kernow at Roselidden highlights the contrasting styles of English Baroque composer Henry Purcell with modern day counterparts from around the world, in both sacred and secular settings. The concert starts with four sacred works written by Purcell in the 1680s for performance by the choirs of Westminster Cathedral and the Chapel Royal, Windsor, and two songs from the 1690s for soprano and continuo. These demonstrate Purcell’s complete mastery of baroque polyphony. Bringing us up to date, we have sacred works by Canadians Imant Raminsh and Rupert Lang, and Scot, James MacMillan. We return to the baroque, for three love songs written by Purcell in the 1690s for soprano and continuo, and contrast them with modern love songs by Canadian Lionel Daunais and Latvian Eriks Essenvalds. The final piece, Only in Sleep, is a heart-rendingly beautiful account of a dream of childhood friends ; a modern masterpiece. As usual, refreshments are included in the £10 ticket price, and will be served after the concert. All profits will go the THE CORNWALL MUSIC THERAPY TRUST. For more information about the concert, the composers, and the Cornwall Music Therapy Trust see http://www.roselidden.co.uk/contrasts-a-concert-by-camerata-kernow-10-april-2016/ Tickets may be reserved by calling […]