Cherry Tree’s story

Cherry Tree Early Years Centre has been working in partnership with Nordoff Robbins to offer children a safe and familiar space for them to explore, play and learn.

Nordoff Robbins has been delivering music therapy at Cherry Tree since 2017 to children aged between 0-5, with access being open to all.

In 2021, the sessions were supported through funding received from the National Lottery Grants and were delivered online due to the pandemic.

It was recognised that music therapy could be used to benefit children who had additional support needs such as communication difficulties, autism, developmental delay and emotional or behavioural difficulties. Each week, children referred for music therapy engage in songs and musical structures that are created live and in response to their unique ways of being from moment to moment.

Through music, the children are offered familiarity in the repeating themes and melodies and gives them a sense of reassurance and motivation. The flexible nature of music means that it can change and develop as the children become more confident and feel ready to explore new instruments or try new ways of playing or singing.

The children’s music therapist shared:

“Being able to deliver online sessions despite the lockdown and COVID measures has allowed Nordoff Robbins to continue to provide self-expressive, fun and interactive musical experiences for the children. The music follows the children and adapts to them so that they can feel at ease with where they are and can learn through play at their own pace.”

Music therapy at Cherry Tree continues to support children like...

Edward and Blake

Edward and Blake attend online music therapy sessions together to encourage their listening and concentration, and to give them new ways to express themselves and their emotions positively through shared music making.

Both enjoy exploring the musical instruments, what they look like, sound like, and feel like. They also enjoy hearing the music played to them by their music therapist and will join in using their own instruments with energy, enthusiasm and a strong sense of fun!

Musical statues is one of their favourite musical games from their sessions. Through this musical game, Edward and Blake have become more confident and have increasingly taken opportunities to lead and have influence over the shared musical making.


Alan was invited to online music therapy sessions to help encourage his social interaction and communication. He enjoys music in other settings and so it was hoped that music therapy would encourage him to become more vocal, and to interact more within musical play.

In his sessions, Alan is often distracted by objects around him and by activity outside the windows. The short musical structure of his sessions, with music therapist, allows Alan to stay in the moment and have fun in his interactions with her.

In his sessions, Alan continues to develop his musical shared play and it is hoped that focusing on his social interaction will lead him to attending music therapy in a small group allowing him to connect with his peers through music.

Nordoff Robbins and National Lottery

With thanks to the National Lottery grants, we secured funding in 2021 for three regional projects across the UK from Awards for All, which is part of the National Lottery Community Fund. This exciting development in our relationship with the National Lottery allowed us to continue to support some of the most vulnerable and isolated members in our communities through our music therapy.

Read more about our relationship with the National Lottery

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