We are sad to hear the news about the death of Professor David Aldridge after a short period of illness this month. This is a real loss to the music therapy community in Germany and internationally, and especially to those of us who work in the Nordoff Robbins approach.

Simon Procter (Director of Music Services (Education, Research and Public Affairs) writes,

“David was a leading thinker in the field of music therapy from the late 1980s. He was not a music therapist but the profession captured his interest as a researcher when he happened to see an extraordinary young woman engaging people musically within a pioneering music therapy project in Marylebone – that woman was of course Rachel Verney. His collaborations with leading practitioners and other thinkers in the field of music therapy (including Rachel Verney and Gary Ansdell as well as Even Ruud, Tony Wigram and of course Jorg Fachner, who is now professor at ARU, plus so many colleagues at Nordoff Robbins Germany) led to many publications describing music therapy in different fields of practice and reflecting on the meaning of its theory and practice.”

David’s contributions to music therapy thinking, practice and research have been immense. We are aware that many colleagues may never have met him, but he has influenced our collective thinking, our research and our work in many ways.

Oksana Zharinova-Sanderson (Director Of Music Services (Quality Assurance, Chief Practitioner & International Development) has also paid tribute to David, writing:

“for me personally, David’s ‘re-formulation’ of Decartes’ famous statement into ‘I perform therefore I am’ has been central to how I think about my practice as a music therapist in terms of understanding the ‘self’ as a constantly created entity which needs to be lived and ‘performed’ to be there and to be well. During my work in Germany in the early 2000s I recall many stimulating conversations with David, in particular with regard to the ideas of ‘enculturation’ I was exploring in my practice at the time – David challenged me to name exactly what I was experiencing in my music therapy practice and then consider different angles on these ideas and encouraged me to write about them. His legacy is for us as music therapists to continue examining exactly what happens in our practice through detailed description and careful reflection on it.”

A photo of Professor David Aldridge