Congratulations to our graduates

Congratulations to our 2017 Master of Music Therapy alumni, who graduated on Friday 29 September. Director of Music Services and MMT Programme Convenor Dr Simon Procter writes about their achievement:  

Graduation is a high point of every year at Nordoff Robbins: we are all very proud of these 13 remarkable people – and nobody more so than our team of tutors in Manchester, who have worked so closely with them for the past two years at the Royal Northern College of Music. All together, yet each in their own way, our new graduates have spent that time negotiating the very real challenges of training as a music therapist – and each one of them has brought something particular, unique and highly prized to this training.

43 years ago, in 1974, Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins taught their first official training course at Goldie Leigh Hospital in London. The organisation that was set up to continue the work became the Nordoff Robbins we know today. Since then, Nordoff Robbins has gone on to fund much more besides – music therapy services across the country, as well as high-quality research and evaluation expertise. But at the heart of Nordoff Robbins remains our commitment to the music-centred, pragmatic, humanitarian and highly skilled Nordoff Robbins approach to music therapy: we want to make it as widely available to people as possible.

This is underpinned by investing in the training of musicians such as these graduates: equipping them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to go out and grow the Nordoff Robbins approach to music therapy across the UK, and even beyond. We are an unusual teaching institution, not just because we are so small and specialist compared to the usual scales of higher education, but also because our teaching sits right at the heart of our practice and our delivery.

I am delighted that all of our 2017 graduates are already working as music therapists, and that so many are working for the various regions of Nordoff Robbins across England and Wales. They are now the future of Nordoff Robbins, and so will be helping to make music therapy available to more people in more places than ever before. Even before they had qualified, some of their placement organisations had been convinced by the quality of their work to fund continuing music therapy work: a real achievement in these times when money is tight everywhere.

As students, our graduates have demonstrated courage, craft and care – and now they become our colleagues, sharing with us the privilege of this work. Music therapy can be a challenging career, but it’s worth it because we get to give voice to the voiceless, to musically include the socially excluded, to give people labelled as ill or disabled experiences of their own wellness and ability. To spend time truly musically attending to another is the greatest privilege a musician can have.

Our warmest congratulations, thanks and welcome go out to them all. Thanks also to our wonderful team of tutors, in London and Manchester alike, for their dedication to their work – and to our colleagues at Goldsmiths, University of London, who validate our course, and with whom we are privileged to work so closely. Like music therapy itself, this course thrives on all of us listening to each other and working together to create something genuinely life-changing.