Music helps Southampton pupils to connect and communicate

June 1, 2016

In 2015, the wellbeing foundation made a £2,000 grant to help Key Changes Music Therapy to provide a term of music therapy to pupils at the Rosewood Free School in Southampton.

It had previously provided the school with music therapy sessions that were much-loved by the children. Unfortunately, funding had run out three years ago and the sessions had to end, so the team was delighted when their application to the Care UK wellbeing foundation was accepted.

Owain Clarke, the music therapist who led the sessions, believes that the therapy has helped the small group of seven-to-10-year-olds who took part to communicate and connect in a new way. He said: “We ran a group for four pupils, one of whom had profound communications issues, and we ran several one-to-one sessions – all of which were very successful.

“We had one pupil who was very attracted to the guitar and he really flourished throughout the session. Another pupil, who is very switched on but who has very limited movement and language, was able to make use of amplification equipment so that his small movements could still create a variety of audible sounds.”

Other pupils were able to benefit as they used the sessions to grow in confidence and overcome shyness, while some were able to find greater equilibrium for their moods as they were able to express their emotions for themselves and others.

Jo Allen, the school’s deputy head teacher, said: “Owain’s session are an integral contribution to supporting the development of expression and communication of intentionality for our non-verbal leaners. It offers an ideal opportunity for uninterrupted time and space for communication.”

New sponsors have been found and it’s hoped that the sessions will continue to help increase the children’s wellbeing and confidence into the future.

Rosemary Harvey, assistant company secretary at Care UK and wellbeing foundation board member, said: “I’m delighted that the foundation’s grant has acted to pump-prime the return of music therapy to Rosewood Free School. I can’t think of anything more in keeping with Care UK’s ethos of helping people to live fulfilled lives than helping them to find a means of expression and a way of telling the world who they are and what they feel.”