An international charity with twenty years’ experience bringing the benefits of music therapy to vulnerable people around the world is launching a new pilot project in Newport, South Wales for the first time this month.
Music as Therapy International will train care staff working at the Oaklands centre in Rogerstone, giving them the skills to use music therapy techniques with the children they care for on a daily basis. The children, many of whom have profound multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), can often struggle to access recreational activities – something music therapy can address, giving them the chance to make music together, helping them to build stronger relationships and giving them a new way to communicate their feelings.
The pilot is being run by Liz Coombes, Programme Leader for the University of South Wales’ Music Therapy MA course, who also volunteers for the charity. It is just one of a number of projects falling under Music as Therapy International’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ initiative they are launching this year. Other projects will be run in Sheffield, London, Essex, Hove and Fort William, Scotland.
Alexia Quin, founder and Director of Music as Therapy International, explains: “For our organisation, ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ is our homecoming. For twenty years we have been running projects around the world, and now we are using everything we have learnt to benefit people in the UK.”
Music as Therapy International was founded in 1998, after Alexia witnessed first hand the extremely low level of care in Romanian orphanages in the early 1990s. As a music therapy student, she resolved to make a difference, designing a training model to give Romanian care staff the skills to use basic music therapy techniques in the care of children. The positive reaction to the training and improvement in relationships between the staff and children they cared for encouraged her to continue, leading to the formation of the charity she still runs today.
Alexia said: “We passionately believe in the power of music to make the most of people’s potential, no matter how damaged they may appear. Using music as therapy can give these children a voice and change their lives for the good.”
From its early days, Music as Therapy International has grown slowly and responsibly to where it is today, but is still a small charity working with a limited budget to make a big difference. To find out more about the charity, or to make a donation, please visit www.musicastherapy.org.