Since 2001, Angela Harrison, HCPC Registered Music Therapist has worked with our pupils in groups and individually, using music to stimulate communication, listening and to encourage self expression.
Angela is employed by the North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre, a registered charity based in Old Malton (www.music-therapy.org.uk).
Music therapy builds confidence, so there is an intention that each young person will find him or herself better able to progress in school, to make friends more easily and to enjoy social activities and outings with minimal anxiety.
So, how does music therapy work?
For pupils who rarely speak, music therapy can become a valued time where they can be listened to, engaging in ‘conversations’ through the music by turn taking – such an important part of interaction. This playful co-operation builds confidence and reduces frustration.
Singing is the highlight of the sessions for some pupils.
Many quickly pick up the words of songs and sing with growing confidence. There is such a sense of relaxation and enjoyment when making music together that expressive language becomes more spontaneous.
The musical instruments also provide a ‘toolkit’ for imaginative play. They can be used to create scenes, to represent familiar people or be used as props in storytelling. The music therapist often accompanies this process, reflecting in song what the child is doing or deepening the experience of a dramatic story with music. This expressive way of working can help a young person to understand more about what he/she is feeling, and why, leading to a calmer outlook on life.