Music is a powerful tool for expression with the capacity to touch our emotions deeply. Music therapy is based on the understanding that the ability to respond to and experience oneself through music is an innate quality in human beings. This ability usually remains unimpaired by disability, injury or illness, and is not dependent on musical training. Music therapy is an established profession in the Health Service allied to medicine
In music therapy, the therapist and the child or adult improvise freely together and communicate with each other through shared music, with approaches personalised for each person and their needs. They gradually establish a musical relationship where emotions can be expressed, explored and worked through within a safe and confidential environment. Through music therapy we help people achieve their potential and interact more effectively with others, as well as providing great enjoyment and self-fulfilment.
Our work makes a tangible difference to people whose challenges are difficult and where other approaches have often been unsuccessful. Music therapy is particularly effective for those who find it difficult to communicate verbally because it does not rely on an ability to speak in order to be accessible. Music and rhythm are processed in different areas across the brain which means that Music Therapy is a unique tool that can be used to access, restore and connect function in parts of the brain. The impact of Music Therapy can most certainly be life changing.
Why should you consider Music Therapy?
The aims of music therapy are therapeutic, rather than just musical. The overall aim of the therapist is to be closely involved with the development of each of their clients to help them to achieve their full potential. This can mean:
- Encouraging communication skills
- Helping the child or adult to relate to others and build rewarding relationships
- Developing a positive and creative means of expressing feelings that, for whatever reason, cannot be put into words
- Helping a child to grow towards milestones in child development such as babbling, experimenting with voice, developing communicative skills and the ability to play spontaneously and imaginatively
- Developing individuality, self-awareness, awareness of others, motivation, confidence, initiative, creativity and choice
- Relieving tension and anxiety
- Improving focus, concentration, listening skills and ability to follow instructions
- Giving the opportunity for self-expression, connecting with others and through this enhancing quality of life
Each client will have a different set of experiences through music therapy based on their own specific circumstances and needs, which means the targets a therapist may set, and the outcomes they can help deliver, will vary tremendously.
Music therapy can help children and adults with a wide range of developmental and emotional needs including communication difficulties, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, global developmental delay, mental health problems, rare chromosome disorders, behavioural difficulties, neurological conditions, stroke victims, chronic illness, adults with stress induced problems and depression.
What does Music Therapy involve?
By responding musically, the therapist is able to support and encourage the process of growth and discovery. The therapist uses a variety of clinical methods to meet the client’s individual needs. Sessions may also include the use of structured activities, such as songs or musical games and when appropriate, verbal reflection on the music created.
How often should Music Therapy sessions take place?
Music therapy sessions are usually arranged on a weekly basis. The core of music therapy is the developing relationship between the child and the therapist. For the relationship to grow and develop it is vital that both child and parents make a commitment to attending the sessions regularly. Missed sessions often affect the child’s trust and ability to respond freely and disrupt the therapeutic process. We ask you to inform your therapist as soon as possible when you know they need to miss a session.
What is the impact of music therapy post session?
The impact seen after music therapy sessions is very wide-ranging and different for each client. Some examples of where changes may occur include smiling, saying first words, increased self-expression, better eye contact and improved confidence. Over the years we have seen some incredible changes in our clients. Read one of our case studies here.
What is my role as a parent/carer?
We all need time to develop without being observed, praised or judged for what we do by the people closest to us. Music therapy provides such a time for the client. Once the client is comfortable and, at the right stage in their development, it usual for the client to be alone with the therapist for the duration of the session.
The content of the music therapy sessions is confidential to the child and therapist. This is a normal and important part of the way all therapists work and is a matter of respect of the child rather than implying secrecy or exclusivity. However, the parent/carer is given the opportunity to observe their child during therapy from the observation room, which is equipped with a two-way mirror.
The therapist will give the parents a general picture of how the child is responding to the work and tell them about anything essential. A separate appointment can be made to discuss any questions or concerns. In addition, parents will receive copies of the therapist’s reports and reviews. With the permission of the parents / guardian, these are generally shared with other professionals working with the child.
Why should I go to OKMT for Music Therapy?
We have deliberately kept the charity relatively small and local, and we find that our clients and their parents / guardians appreciate the friendly and personal feel that we look to create and which is a central characteristic of all our therapists.
The Otakar Kraus Music Trust chooses its music therapists with great care. They all have different areas of expertise within their field. Our seven music therapists have over 100 years of experience between them. They are all skilled musicians who have completed a Department of Health approved Postgraduate Diploma in Music Therapy SRAsT (Music) and have been trained to use music in a focused and controlled way for treatment and assessment. Our therapists are closely involved in the overall development of each of their clients, helping them to achieve their full potential. They gradually establish a musical relationship where emotions can be expressed, explored and worked through within a safe and confidential environment.
The studio where music therapy sessions take place is a purpose built studio with a large studio space and a two-way mirrored observation room where parents and carers can watch sessions. Before music therapy sessions start at OKMT we will arrange to meet with you to understand your child and to match them with the therapist within the team, who is best suited to meet their specific needs.
What is the cost of each Music Therapy session and how long does it last?
The price per session in our Music Studio at 3 Twining Avenue is £40.00 per half hour session. We require one month’s notice in writing to terminate your music therapy sessions with OKMT. The Trust is able to offer bursaries each year. Please contact us to request a bursary form.
It is our aim to provide consistently high quality, personalised therapy for your child at a price that is reasonable to both you and us. To achieve this, we focus on keeping our administrative costs as low as possible and our level of service high. Although face to face therapy is an investment, we believe it is extremely effective for improving the emotional quality of your child’s life
How do I refer?
You can contact the Otakar Kraus Music Trust via email, letter and telephone. All communications will remain confidential. We also take referrals from: social services, hospitals, resource centres, community groups, treatment centres, schools, teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrist, speech therapists and health visitors.
Our contact details are:
3 Twining Avenue
Twickenham, TW2 5LL
Tel: 020 8894 2007 & 07435 062212