Man playing guitar

Music therapy supports high-needs residents

Music is an important way to support people with complex physical or mental health needs to have new experiences.

Music therapy was provided for residents of a specialist support centre for homeless people, which houses 20 individuals with complex and enduring needs.

The series of 10 sessions aimed to provide residents with a fun environment to take part in something creative, meaningful, and productive with others. The sessions were open to all, regardless of musical ability, to try improvisation and performance with a music therapist.

Sessions mixed open improvisation with the chance to sing well-known songs, and residents could work with each other as well as being led by the therapist. In one particular session, two men discovered a shared love of the harmonica while improvising, shared their thoughts and memories, and created a small song with a chorus and improvised verse. When the improvisation came to an end, both residents were really pleased about the song, the experience, and their musical skills.

The residents have high needs and many were unable to commit to regular attendance or stay for a whole session. Some stayed for only a few minutes and others observed from the door. But many enjoyed it and if the group were available for a longer time, which you can help us to fund, then residents would have more opportunities to develop in confidence and become more involved.

Huge thanks to the music therapist trainee who delivered the sessions, Ioanna Zervoudaki; Senior Lecturer Claire Molyneux; and Dr Helen Loth of Anglia Ruskin University.