Music Therapy – What is it?

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 […]

St Piran’s new Cornish Lullaby

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 […]

Music Therapy at Little Harbour

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 […]

The Measurement of Not Knowing

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 […]

Gig in a gig

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.

Melody Is a Risk

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 […]

It Could Only Happen To A Music Therapist

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. […]

Open Group Music Therapy Sessions With People In The Late Stages Of Dementia On Garner Ward At Bodmin Hospital

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 […]

Music Therapy Helps To Open Doors For Autistic Man From Gwithian

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 […]