The donation from Denman Charitable Trust has enabled Musicspace to provide music therapy sessions to an additional 96 children with a range of disabilities, complex health needs and made a huge difference to the lives of many Bristol families. Over the past year; they have delivered an additional 400 subsidised music therapy sessions to children at their centre in Southville and 218 more outreach sessions. Feedback from parents and staff has been incredibly positive and they have a waiting-list of children waiting to start sessions.
As an example: Charlie is a 4-year-old boy who is blind, hearing impaired and has severe learning difficulties. It was absolutely clear from the moment he first came into the music therapy room that he is passionate about music and it is something that fully engages him. Unusually for a child of his age, he was able to sustain concentration for 40 minutes (or he would probably stay longer if he could!). In the first session when the whole experience was new to him he stayed close to me, sitting by me or standing and leaning on me for support. He enthusiastically explored each instrument that I gave to him, often putting them in his mouth, enjoying feeling the vibrations but playing them appropriately too, plucking, banging etc.
In subsequent sessions, he began to explore the room a bit more himself and found his way to the wind-chimes, woodblocks and other large instruments. He continued his explorations in future sessions. He interacted with me throughout the sessions particularly through our sharing instruments and vocalising together. He vocalised freely making a wide range of sounds this seemed to delight him especially when I joined in.
Charlie was a delight to work with and music is clearly an essential medium through which he can express himself and interact. I feel strongly that regular music therapy sessions would benefit him significantly and support his learning at school and I recommended that music therapy provision be included in his EHCP. His mum was thrilled with the progress Charlie made in his music therapy sessions. She wrote ‘I’ve seen a massive improvement in Charlie’s ability to interact and engage and I am amazed at his increased lengths of concentration when it comes to activities he enjoys such as playing instruments. I feel like the progress is only just beginning in regards to his non-verbal communication and I can see real potential for improvement with lots more work and encouragement’.
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