BRITs Blog – meet Seb

We couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of the BRIT Trust. Through the Nordoff Robbins Graduate/ Partnership development scheme, their support allows us to reach more people across the UK and over the next six months, we’ll hear from the music therapy graduates who are benefiting from the scheme.

Seb’s story

I graduated from the MMT course in July 2015 and my work as a Nordoff Robbins music therapist began in September in two Yorkshire special schools, Highfield School, in Ossett, and Longley School, in Huddersfield. Both schools cater for children with complex needs, severe learning disabilities and autism spectrum condition (ASC), as well as children with social and emotional difficulties. These kinds of conditions can leave children feeling isolated, or unable to form relationships easily, or with low confidence, or low concentration levels. Music therapy in these schools works towards helping the pupils to reach their potential and by breaking down the personal barriers that might prevent this happening.

For Mo who is 15 and has ASC and also speech and language and communication difficulties, group music therapy has enabled him to become more confident amongst his peers. Despite his difficulties in speaking and communicating effectively he is able to pick up musical ideas on the piano, and with enough nurturing and perseverance he is able to play independently whilst listening and reacting to the group. Mo plays keyboard in the school rock band I set up, and for him, this is not only an opportunity to develop skills, but a place where he can be part of something much bigger than he could achieve on his own. His ability to hold a steady rhythm whilst playing the chord changes to a song such as ‘Rolling in the Deep’ means his role is crucial to holding the band together. For him, being heard like this is a unique and valuable situation and he is part of a band that now rehearses weekly and does performances too. The impact on the school is that from 2pm on a Tuesday, no one can escape the sound of electric guitars, keyboards, drums and singing, including the parents and drivers as they come to pick up the children. “It’s very good, I can hear it downstairs. It’s great!” (parent, when picking up child)

I came to Nordoff-Robbins having already worked for 8 years as a community musician. I was immediately impressed by the knowledgeable tutors and the way the course was designed to support you through your training as you develop your skills and ways of working. Every music therapist is different and there is no set way of doing things but we all learn how to use our musicality effectively to help positively change lives through playing music with our clients.

Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Trust

Find out more about the music therapists who are benefiting from the BRIT Trust Nordoff Robbins Graduate/ Partnership development scheme.