EXPLORING MUSIC IN THERAPEUTIC AND COMMUNITY SETTINGS

Tuesday 17th May 2016

The Nordoff Robbins Plus series brings together presentations from related disciplines, together with posters and group discussions.

The Third Nordoff Robbins Plus conference was held at Nordoff Robbins on the Tuesday 17th May 2016. The conference is organised by the research team at Nordoff Robbins and in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of London. Music can be many things to many people: entertainment, a route to social bonding, a focus for testing, a mood modulator, a motivator, a therapy. While celebrating its multiple roles and functions in our lives, this conference revisits the kinds of questions that need to be asked, and methods used when seeking to describe, understand, test and communicate about the roles and effects of music and music therapy in people’s lives.

Presenters included music therapists from Nordoff Robbins and Professor Lauren Stewart from Goldsmiths, University of London.

SPEAKERS

SOUNDS WITHIN REACH: COGNITIVE AND MOTOR REHABILITATION THROUGH MUSIC MAKING

Professor Lauren Stewart

Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Centre for Music in the Brain, Dept. of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University & The Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg, Denmark

Abstract

Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability disproportionately affecting people from poorer backgrounds. Stroke survivors often have limited access to rehabilitation after discharge from hospital leaving them to self-regulate their recovery. Previous research has indicated that several musical approaches can be used effectively in stroke rehabilitation (Altenmüller, et al., 2009; Schneider et al., 2007). The use of digital-music interfaces, as opposed to traditional musical instruments, gives greater versatility and the opportunity to use machine learning approaches to tailor the protocol to an individual’s specific goals and improvement trajectory. I will first present a study of active music making in patients with chronic neglect. Patients received an intervention involving the playing of scale and simple melodies on a xylophone (non-digital), where spacing of the bars was increased as the patients’ ability to reach into the ‘neglected’ side of space improved. Performance on clinical tests of visuospatial processing revealed significant improvement, in a clinical relevant range. I will also present data from an in–progress study with hemiparetic stroke patients, who received an intervention focussed on entraining to the beat of self chosen music via digital music blocks, which triggered percussion sounds. Significant improvements were seen on physical measure of impairment with some transfer to tasks of daily living. Theories of sensorimotor coupling and reward-based learning will be considered to explain the results and a discussion will be framed around the potential of digital technologies for brain injured patients.

Biography

Lauren Stewart is Professor in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she leads a research group and MSc programme in Music, Mind and Brain. Lauren’s research concerns the psychological and neuroscientific basis of musical behaviour and she has published 70+ peer reviewed articles on topics including learning and plasticity, congenital amusia, melodic expectations, and tone-colour synaesthesia. Her funding includes awards from the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy and she is associate editor of the international journal, Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain. She is currently involved in several projects to explore the therapeutic potential of music in individuals with stroke, with childhood hemiplegia, as well as neurodevelopmentally at-risk infants. She was recently appointed co-director of major new research centre, Music in the Brain centre based at Aarhus University, Denmark.

RESEARCHING PRACTICE, PRACTISING RESEARCH: EXPLORING MUSIC THERAPY WITH CHILDREN, PARENTS, AND THERAPISTS

Claire Flower

Cheyne Child Development Service, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London.

Nordoff Robbins.

Abstract

Music therapy practice with children and their parents has emerged as a growing area of interest within the profession in recent years.  Developing practice in this area brings an imperative to address emerging questions about that practice: how does the child, parent, therapist trio ‘work’, who does what to make the trio happen, and how might it be experienced by those within it?

This paper outlines a qualitative research project within an NHS Child Development Service in which the researcher is also a practitioner.  A preliminary study investigated a single music therapy trio in depth, seeking to retain a focus on everyday practice through combined research methods.  The study suggested the trio to be a dynamic, fluid, network, emerging between people, places and events both within and beyond the music therapy room.  Tracing the complexities of situated music therapy practice with children and parents within the broader NHS context forms the basis of a current study, creating further methodological demands.

The practice-led nature of this study has raised particular questions: What are the implications of being both researcher and practitioner within a setting?  What questions might we want to ask of practice?  Who might want to know what, and how can we develop ways of asking and answering those questions?  This paper sets out to explore these questions and more in an exploration of the dynamic tensions between practice and research.

Biography

Claire has worked as a music therapist for over twenty five years, the last ten years of which have been within the Cheyne Child Development Service at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London. She is particularly interested in working with children and parents, and is currently engaged in doctoral research in this area at Nordoff Robbins.

ANALYSING COMMUNICATION IN MUSIC MAKING: ETHNOGRAPHY AND OBSERVATION

Dr Nikki Moran

Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD), Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh, UK

Abstract

In this presentation I will discuss some recent and current research projects involving different situations of music performance, including North Indian classical musician duos, jazz and free improviser duos, and small chamber ensembles. Each of these studies, which include my own and also current student projects, have set out primarily to examine some dimension of musical communication. Each project asks different questions about musical performance, and each has sought to contextualise the explanations through different disciplinary frameworks, including ethnomusicology, psychology, and sports science.  The aim of this presentation is to give an overview of a range of methods, technologies and dialogues that contribute to the landscape of academic music research.

Biography

Nikki is Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of Music – MA (Hons) at the Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research interests and projects are based on the relationship between musical performance and everyday social interaction. She specialises in the study of musicians’ communicative behaviour, using methods drawn from both music psychology (video observation and analysis) and ethnomusicology (participant-observation and ethnography).

MUSIC THERAPISTS FROM NORDOFF ROBBINS

Three music therapists from Nordoff Robbins will give presentations about their music therapy work in different settings. Taken together the presentations will illustrate both the similarities and differences between work in different settings.

CLOSED SESSIONS AND OPEN GIGS: MUSIC THERAPY WITHIN A SCHOOL COMMUNITY

Esma Perkins

Biography

Esma grew up in London where she attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama throughout her school years. After studying Music at York University she then went on complete a Masters in Music Therapy, Music, Health and Society Nordoff Robbins, Manchester, in July 2013. Since September 2013 she has worked for Nordoff Robbins North West and continues to be amazed by music’s potential to reach people in such a variety of different ways. She currently works as a Facilitative Music Therapist, including one day at a specialist residential school for pupils on the Autistic Spectrum and another in a special education school.

TEENAGERS WITH CANCER, TEENAGERS WITH MUSIC

Jimmy Lyons

Biography

Jimmy plays guitar, bass guitar and piano. Having grown up in Cork, Ireland playing in various bands and working in music, he completed a master’s degree in music technology in 2009. Shortly after which he moved to the UK where he began teaching children with autism and developed an interest in the possibilities of music therapy. After qualifying from the MMT training at Nordoff Robbins London in 2013, Jimmy has worked in a variety of settings for Nordoff Robbins including establishing music therapy within Teenage Cancer Trust at University College London Hospital. He also works at a music therapy centre, a nursery school and an alternative provision secondary school. Jimmy enjoys working with the diverse populations that he meets during the week, and is a firm believer in the power of music to enhance wellbeing and affect change.

‘I’M ON THE RADIO!’: THE MUSIC OF CHILDREN WITH CANCER

Nicky O’Neill

Biography

Nicky graduated from Nordoff-Robbins London in 1990, obtaining a Diploma in Music Therapy. In 2002 she upgraded to a master’s degree in music therapy, in which she focused on one of her areas of speciality, which is working with children in an acute medical setting. Her clinical experience covers a wide age range of people within a variety of settings including acute hospitals, educational and community venues. From 2005-2010 she was a group-work tutor on the Nordoff Robbins Master of Music Therapy training programme. She joined the Greenwich Community Health Services Music Therapy Department in 1999 for whom she specialises in working with children with complex needs. Nicky also lectures on other music therapy training courses in the UK, as well as presenting regularly at music therapy and other health related conferences.