Belltree music therapists work in special and mainstream schools, with children who need extra support to help them engage better in school life. Concerns often relate to difficulties with communication, emotional issues connected with school and home life, and specific conditions such as autism which affect children’s ability to integrate socially. We are used to working within an educational setting and co-ordinating and collaborating with other staff members.
Music therapy may be offered on an individual or group basis, according to specific needs and the child usually attends as part of their school day.
A series of individual sessions are arranged for the child, often with a set of agreed targets or goals, so as to focus on a specific area of need. Sessions allow the child to develop their own musical language, allowing them to express a range of experiences non-verbally. Regular feedback is given to the teacher and parents, with consideration given to how the therapy can be integrated within daily classroom life.
Group sessions are particularly useful for children who are in need of extra support with peer relationships and interaction. Many children who have ASC (autistic spectrum condition) find group music therapy especially beneficial.
Within a group, supported by an experienced music therapist, children can find ways to engage socially with others, play and be creative and learn about how to share and listen effectively.
Within a school setting, music therapy is often provided for children who have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. For these children, the music therapy offers a way to express thoughts and feelings non-verbally.
The instruments and the setting are highly motivating and the students reach a level of physical activity and interaction that is difficult to achieve in other settings. Small, subtle movements and initiatives are received very positively, and music is built around them to give them context and significance.
How is music therapy funded?
Music therapy can be funded by a school’s core budget and also by funds such as the ‘pupil premium’ or social services.
Some schools may be able to access grants for music therapy from charitable sources.