Nordoff Robbins Music Therapist and beneficiary with piano

Ellie’s Story

Music therapy has helped Ellie concentrate better and stay focused despite the genetic disorder she lives with.

Ellie comes to her music therapy sessions to have fun and discover unusual ways to make music. She  has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and causes severe learning disabilities, which can make it hard work for her to stay focused for sustained periods of time.

Through her vibrant enthusiasm for music, Ellie always looks for the next musical joke and tends to find plenty with her music therapist Holly during their music-making together.

Ellie’s teacher said: “It’s great to see Ellie engaging like this with Holly. The work she’s doing in music therapy sessions directly supports the work we do in the classroom and I’m glad she can access this service here at school.”


Ellie’s music therapist Holly skilfully uses humour and drama to keep Ellie engaged, allowing her to take responsibility in keeping the music going and encouraging her to play independently.

Holly explained: “This playful approach in the sessions has allowed Ellie to develop her own self-expression by finding the most unusual ways to play musical instruments, from knocking on the table to playing piano with elbows. Ellie finds these alternative ways of playing much more interesting than conventional methods.

“These fun-filled and structured musical action-songs have been the perfect vehicle for celebrating Ellie’s creativity, harnessing her humour and motivating her to work hard to stay focused and present in her sessions.”