Robert’s Music Therapy Story

Robert, 53, has Down’s syndrome, and lives at a specialist care home in Huddersfield, where he is given the support he needs day to day. 

Robert spends a lot of time in his room, as he has a heightened need for personal space and he can become agitated by objects too close to him and noise from other people. He also has many phobias – including any kind of transport, which greatly limits his interaction with others, and leaves him at times very isolated. 

This is why music therapy has come to be so important to him.  

Being non-verbal means that Robert relies on limited noises and facial expressions to make his needs and feelings known – but in music, these barriers are removed. During sessions Robert is always smiling, happy and laughing, and most importantly he can be vocal without the need for words. He becomes pro-active and independent, and makes choices with instruments that allow him to join in and communicate in his own way. 

Robert often needs a lot of encouragement to join in activities at the home, but for music therapy he will leave his bedroom, socialise and integrate with other residents and participate both pro-actively and independently. 

In music therapy, Robert has learnt to tolerate objects and musical instruments next to him, playing them happily, and crucially he has also learnt to tolerate loud noises and sounds, often contributing to their making!

Robert has become much more engaged – he makes eye contact, listens, responds and actively participates in sessions. In music, Robert has found a platform for expression and creativity, which requires no words, and focuses solely on what he can do, giving him a very real and very important sense of worth, and that is such a joy to see. 


Alan, music therapist