Kenneth’s Story

Improvising music with his therapist is helping Kenneth connect with others. 

Kenneth who has severe learning difficulties and struggles to concentrate in lessons, loves dancing, singing and sixties and seventies music.   

It was because of his love of music that he was referred to Nordoff Robbins music therapy, to help him engage and connect with others. Music therapist Seb works  with Kenneth to improvise together through music – playing on guitar, drums and creating songs together.  

Jackie Craig, Kenneth’s former school teacher said: “I think music therapy is fantastic for our students – you can see their confidence and self-esteem just develop. What Seb can do in a session we can’t do in a lesson environment as we’ve always got big groups of students. Seb can really work with small groups of students and individuals to get their potential in music and develop transferable skills across the curriculum.” 


It takes real skill to ensure that Kenneth’s experience isn’t limited by the fact he isn’t musically trained and Seb continually makes fine judgements for when to wait, listen and hang back, when to accompany Kenneth, and when to offer something new. This creates an environment where Kenneth can recognise his contributions to the music and initiate and communicate ideas. He is motivated by the music he creates, focusing his attention for longer.  

Seb explains: “This is the Nordoff Robbins approach to music therapy – two (or more) people making music together in ways that open up a shared musical experience. These experiences and opportunities can be particularly valuable for people who have special educational needs, as they can be difficult to access in other ways.