Robert, who has Downs Syndrome and is in his 50s, is sitting next to music therapist Alan making music together

Robert’s story

When Robert and Alan make music together, Alan hears the musical potential of Robert’s sounds and together they have a musical conversation, where Robert’s contribution is valued, connected with and placed at the heart of the music-making experience.

In music, Robert has found a platform for expression and creativity, without the need for any words

Robert is 53 and has Downs Syndrome. He lives in a specialist care home where he is given the support he needs day-to-day. He spends a lot of time in his room and has a heightened need for personal space, objects too close to him and noise from other people can agitate him. Robert also has many phobias, including any kind of transport, which greatly limits his interaction with others, leaving him at times very isolated.  

Robert’s music therapist Alan says,

“In music, Robert has found a platform for participation, creativity and expression. Robert is always happy and laughing within sessions, and he vocalises and sings freely – without the need for any words.”

Robert is often an observer of activities, and needs a lot of encouragement, by staff, to join in. However, music enables him to participate both pro-actively and independently. Robert cannot communicate verbally and relies on limited noises which are short in length – and facial expressions to make his needs and feelings known. Music therapy has helped ease his agitation of objects being close to him as now he tolerates musical instruments next to him, responding to and playing them happily. Previously he hated loud noises, now with music therapy, he is happy to make loud noises himself.

When Robert and Alan make music together, Alan hears the musical potential of Robert’s sounds and together they have a musical conversation, where Robert’s contribution is valued, connected with and placed at the heart of the music-making experience.