Music Therapy can be an invaluable activity for people of all ages. It aims to facilitate positive changes in emotional wellbeing and promotes communication through the engagement in live musical interaction between client and therapist. Starting in January 2020 14 Sixth Form students from Chetham’s School of Music participated in a Music Therapy course led by Nordoff Robbins music therapist Holly Dickson.

During the course the students learnt about the importance of Music Therapy to the clients they would be working with and the different ways in which they would interact. Visits to external schools and care homes in Greater Manchester then took place between 2nd and 7th March and reached 60 clients of varying ages.

Students who visited Hall Lane Resource Centre got to see a lively and varied session – the first half being the choir and the second half being the jam session. They enjoyed watching and taking part in the session – singing with enthusiasm and joining in with playing during the instrumental part. This was great and brought richness and depth to the music which was a valuable experience for everyone.

Students who visited Chatsworth High School were keen to learn more which led to some very interesting discussions with their music therapist. They were also enthusiastic to get involved with sessions and were excellent at modelling the instruments and facilitating others to enable them to play. Their instruments (voice, trombone and cello) were incorporated into one of the group sessions and their improvised goodbye song was recorded by the staff to use as their goodbye song at the end of the school day!

At Lisburne Primary School the students joined in with the morning group and three 1:1 sessions, striking a natural and sensitive balance between joining the music with their (new and exciting) instruments, and assisting the children with the instruments they were playing. It was lovely to see the joyful responses to the new sounds of the trombone and oboe, as well as seeing the clients welcome and enjoy the addition of two new people in our shared music-making.

The Music Therapy course has proved to be an invaluable opportunity for our students at Chetham’s, enabling them to broaden their horizons and see how music can benefit people in a variety of situations. Thank you to all involved.

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