MBE, MMT, BMUS
Nordoff Robbins Creative Music Therapist
Sara is a newly qualified Creative Music Therapist from London and
registered and licensed by the Health and Care Professionals Council in the
UK. She recently completed a Masters programme with Nordoff Robbins in
Music, Health, Society, an internationally renowned programme validated
by Goldsmiths University of London. Sara is also a classical pianist who
trained at Royal Holloway University of London, where she obtained a
Bachelors in Music (Performance) in 1996.
Sara offers one-to-one Creative Music Therapy sessions and works with the following client groups:
Children/Adults with: Autism, Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities and clients suffering from
chronic Mental Health Disorders including, addiction, schizophrenia, anorexia, depression, anxiety.
Sara takes a music-centred approach in which she facilitates live music-making to support her clients
to develop their communication and social skills through musical interaction. This can be through
various different musical interactions, including song-writing, singing and improvising together on a
range of different instruments. It doesn’t require any musical expertise to benefit from music therapy.
Sara’s role is to enable musical interactions working collaboratively with her clients to help them
unlock their creative potential.
Nordoff Robbins Music Therapists, such as Sara, are highly skilled musicians. Sara works with people
of all ages, individually and in groups, to help her clients overcome obstacles linked to mental health
problems. Sessions provide a safe space that can help aid meaningful communication, offer a
platform for expression, reduce isolation and encourage social interaction – boosting confidence and
self-esteem. Experiencing a mental health problem can be very isolating, affecting a person’s
personality, thought processes and social interactions. Creative Music Therapy can have a significant
positive impact on those living with a mental health problem by offering a creative outlet that can
encourage positive change.
Music Therapy and Mental Health Conditions:
Sara works with people of all ages, individually and in groups, to help her clients overcome obstacles
linked to mental health problems. Sessions provide a safe space that can help aid meaningful
communication, offer a platform for expression, reduce isolation and encourage social interaction –
boosting confidence and self-esteem. Experiencing a mental health problem can be very isolating,
affecting a person’s personality, thought processes and social interactions. Creative Music Therapy
can have a significant positive impact on those living with a mental health problem by offering a
creative outlet that can encourage positive change.
Music Therapy for Schizophrenia – Cochrane Review (2005):
Music therapy as an addition to standard care helps patients with schizophrenia to improve their
global state over the short to medium term. There is also evidence of positive effects on mental
state and functioning; these effects depend highly on the number of music therapy sessions
provided and it is important to participate in regular sessions over time. Active participation is also
crucial for the success of music therapy. A certain minimum 'dosage' of music therapy seems to be
required for music therapy to achieve beneficial and clinically meaningful effects. The exact
minimum 'dosage' will vary from patient to patient, but it seems from the results of the Cochrane
review that at least 20 sessions may be needed.
Music Therapy and Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD):
The world can be a very overwhelming place for children and adults living with special educational
needs and other challenges, but music therapy offers a wealth of support and helps with emotional,
physical, social and developmental difficulties. Music-making is crucial to the way that children and
adults can learn about the world around them, helping them gain new life-enriching skills.
Through music, our therapists help individuals with profound, multiple learning disabilities to
develop an increased awareness of themselves and others, build their self-esteem and confidence,
and establish meaningful communication.
Music Therapy for clients with PMLD aims to promote a client’s:
- Body awareness;
- Sense of self in time and space;
- Creating meaningful connections and communication where language may be inaccessible.
Music Therapy and Dementia
Dementia can be very frightening for the person involved, and those who care for them. It is very
normal for people living with dementia to feel a sense of anxiety and confusion, as their memory
and sense of self becomes increasingly affected. Even as the brain deteriorates, the capacity to
respond to and become engaged in music survives, which makes music therapy a highly effective
and beneficial support tool.
Whatever the stage of dementia, the music-centred approach in Music Therapy enables the Music
Rherapist to sensitively work with, and respond to, what the person can do, listening to their
movement, breathing and vocal sounds.
A Cochrane review (2011) found that Music Therapy aims to:
• Reduce agitation
• Slow cognitive deterioration;
• Stimulate abilities, improve quality of life;
Music Therapy can also help to unlock memories, reduce isolation and help people regain their
sense of identity. This helps create a profound feeling of being ‘connected’ – something so valuable
to people living with dementia, and their family and friends.
Other settings for Music Therapy:
Music Therapy is also used in the support of treatment for many other illnesses, including eating
disorders, anxiety and depression. It is also used to support client’s coming to the end of their lives
in palliative care settings e.g. hospices. It is also very beneficial in supporting children and adults
with Autism and Downs Syndrome.