About Music Therapy

The aim of music therapy is to create a fun, interactive musical connection and build on this to achieve longer term goals. Goals can include helping a child or young person develop their coping skills, work on their communication, cognitive, fine or gross motor skills through music, or increastheir ability to express how they’re feeling.Our music therapist is trained to assess patients with a variety of medical conditions to support them in the following areas:

  • Reaching and maintaining developmental milestones 
  • Rehabilitation and recovery of cognitive, sensorimotor, and communication deficits due to neurologic injury or disease 
  • Emotional processing and expression 
  • Coping with stress and anxiety surrounding diagnosis and medical treatment 
  • Pain management and relaxation techniques 
  • Psychological wellbeing related to short- and long-term effects of medical diagnosis and hospital admission 
  • Normalising the patient’s environment and supporting positive family experiences 
  • Increasing patients' engagement in other therapies 

About the Music Therapy service at GOSH

In March 2019, a new music therapy service joined the Play department, to provide care for children and young people across the hospital.

Our music therapist is now part of the multidisciplinary team for the following services: Haematology and Oncology; Bone Marrow Transplant; Immunology; Respiratory and Transitional Care; Cardiology; Gastroenterology; Intensive and High Dependency Care; Neurodisability and Neurosurgery, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

She works routinely with a wide range of specialist teams at GOSH, including the Play team, Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, and nursing and medical teams. She also works closely with the Learning Disability team to support patients with learning disabilities and/or autism during inpatient admissions and outpatient visits across the hospital.

The opportunity to develop the hospital’s first full-time music therapy service was made possible by a collaboration with Chiltern Music Therapy and the Peterson Family Foundation.

What does a music therapy session look like? 

A typical session might include the use of familiar songs, improvised music making, sensory play, music technology, song writing, and/or music listening. Every activity is tailored specifically to the individual child, maintaining focus on what they can do, rather than any limitations they may experience. Our music therapist will always try to follow the child’s lead as much as possible, offering them autonomy and a sense of control. Special attention is given to the development of self-esteem, expression, and creativity while interacting musically with others.

Watch this video to see some music therapy sessions in action: