It’s World Music Therapy Day, and we’re taking the opportunity to recognise the incredible work Demelza’s music therapists are doing to make this service accessible to everyone who may need it while accessing Demelza.


Music therapy is an important service for the families Demelza supports; it creates a safe space where they can address their emotional, cognitive and social needs while supported by a highly trained music therapist.

However, it can sometimes be difficult for some families to access music therapy at our three sites. Some children and young people spend long periods in hospital, or they might find it too distressing to travel unless absolutely necessary. This is why, in line with our five-year strategy, our team of therapists has been hard at work to reach more families and give them a choice in how and where they access this service.

Victoria, Creative Therapies Lead at Demelza, has been delivering music therapy sessions over the past year to premature babies in the Oliver Fisher Baby Care Unit at the Medway Maritime Hospital. For families whose babies have spent the first weeks of their life in an incubator, unable to leave the hospital, this service has been vital in helping them connect with how they are feeling.

“The tension is always palpable in the neonatal intensive care unit; it’s my privilege to be able to go in and offer people a chance to stop, to breathe, to sit down and just ‘be’” said Victoria. “Parents will often start to cry within seconds as I start to play, as feelings they have been holding onto for weeks all come out at once in this big release. As the session goes on, their shoulders start to drop, their jaws unclench, they reach out and hold their baby’s hand. Being in that space for a short while, listening to my music, gives them the permission they need to feel whatever they might be feeling – and to relax.”

Music therapist Claire was also able to offer music therapy in the London Evelina Children’s Hospital, to 17-year-old Lara. Lara’s condition meant she was unable to leave the hospital for 18 months, and her mum Umesh was worried about how isolated she might feel after such a long stay. Umesh shared that she was able to see the positive difference in Lara after each session, while it also gave Umesh some respite as well – she was able to leave Lara with Claire for the session, giving her a chance to grab a coffee and refresh herself.

“It required some problem-solving,” said Claire. “Normally I can travel by car and bring a whole range of instruments and equipment to support my sessions, but using public transit to get to the hospital meant I was limited to whatever I could carry. I’m so pleased that my efforts are paying off.”

Demelza can also offer music therapy in the family home or at the child or young person’s school, enabling families to fit these important sessions into their everyday lives more easily. For those who can’t attend sessions in person, Victoria also hosts three online music groups every week where children can continue to make music, sing, dance and get support. In these ways, we’re

ensuring that more children, young people, and their families can access this important service no matter their circumstances.

If you’d like to read more about how families might benefit from music therapy, check out Lucy’s Story. For more information about our music therapy support generally, visit the Therapies page of our website.

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