The Disabilities Trust: The impact of music therapy

Music therapy can be hugely beneficial to people with an acquired brain injury. It has a positive impact on individuals’ engagement with their rehabilitation, can help people’s communication including their voice, and allows them to practise motor skills for example by beating a drum or strumming a guitar.

Individual sessions can help people towards their personal rehabilitation goals, while group sessions are a great way to socialise and share in the joy of music together. The Disabilities Trust is thrilled that Daniel Yorath House, our neurorehabilitation centre in Leeds, has been awarded a £10,000 grant to fund music therapy sessions at the service thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players.

The Disabilities Trust: The impact of music therapy

Donna O’Reilly, Assistant Manager at Daniel Yorath House, said:

“We have seen a big transformation in the communication skills and personal demeanour of some of our service users with severe brain injuries. It has been humbling to see the joy and tears of happiness when a person with limited communication skills can sing a song, in some cases that they have written, expressing how they feel. Truly life changing.”

Alicja* came to Daniel Yorath House after sustaining a hypoxic brain injury, and needed support around her mood, memory, movement, and language. As part of her personalised rehabilitation programme, she came to music therapy and met Nordoff Robbin’s music therapist Luke, who recalls that when they first met, she spoke in a monotone voice, had a lack of facial expression and often stared into the middle distance. In her first session, this translated into her music making. Alicja sang in a limited range of tones and often became distracted.

However, she was dedicated to trying new things and pushing forward, so music therapy sessions built upon this. Luke would try to push her to explore her voice more fully through creating games within the improvisation. Alicja’s enjoyment of these moments was evident through her laughter and smiles, but also in her absolute commitment to squeezing every last note out of her vocal range. At times Alicja would attend her sessions while in a very low mood or visibly upset but remained committed to attending her music therapy sessions. Music therapy was a place where Alicja could find solace and consolation, but also one where she could explore her strengths and her wellness.

As Alicja herself said:

“Music therapy really works! It has helped me so much with my voice and my mood!”

Everyone at Daniel Yorath House is hugely grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund and to National Lottery players for making this happen.

To find out more about music therapy and how it helps individuals at Daniel Yorath House, read our Q&A with music therapist Luke or read Alicja*’s story.

*Name changed to protect the individual’s identity