'Ready for music' - music therapy for vulnerable children was a Youth Music funded project which ran at Broadwaters Children Centre, The Ladder Children Centre (before closure) and South Haringey nursery. The project ran from January 2016 - January 2017 and was led by music therapist, Claire Hope (www.hopemusictherapy.co.uk). The majority of similar early years music therapy work occurring in the UK is funded by both the children's centres and The Primary Care Trust. In Haringey, however, there is limited NHS funding towards therapeutic intervention in early years and a high level of deprivation.
Weekly group and individual music therapy sessions were offered to vulnerable families, children with complex emotional, social and developmental needs and parents and infants on the 2 -year programme (a government childcare initiative offered to parents on low-income). It was agreed that the project would be flexible, allowing Claire to respond to the needs of the service users. Workshops, presentations and meetings with parents were also an important aspect of the project.
Group sessions involved familiar songs/nursery rhymes, turn-taking, leading, conducting, musical arrangements (playing an instrument in a particular place in the music), improvising/free play, movement with music, imaginary play, stories with sounds, songs and puppets. These were closely monitored by recordings, written summaries, supervision and questionnaires. Staff commented ,and the music therapist observed, children's increase in confidence, listening, awareness of the musical interaction and an increase in using more words in songs and play, particularly for children with English as a second language.
One little boy, who was selective mute, tentatively began to use his voice to express himself in individual music therapy sessions. Through creative musical play (and the use of kazoos!), his confidence in using his voice to communicate developed and he began to talk in nursery. Due to the flexibility of the project, he was then able to join a music therapy group with his peers, further consolidating on his confidence and achievements.
Music therapy is vital in these contexts, where young children are seeking and needing early play experiences. There continues to be growing need and demand for music therapy and Broadwaters Children Centre is thrilled to receive successful funding for a further 2-year music project beginning imminently, entitled: HOPE music therapy. Music therapy for vulnerable children.'