Crossing the Threshold: an experiential evening with Professor Leslie Bunt

During this presentation Leslie will be exploring some of the inherent risks involved when we as therapists invite individuals or groups of children and adults to cross over the threshold to play or listen to music. As performing musicians we are used to these moments of transition but more attention could be given to examine what children or adults, who are not so accustomed, might be feeling when taking these first steps to improvise or listen in a focussed and relaxed way to music.

Tickets and more information available at:

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Keyboard Improvisation Workshop

Led by Richard Michael BEM and Joanna Duncan

Pianos and percussion available – please bring along any other instruments that you’d like to play!

Tickets available at

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Talk by Stella Compton-Dickinson

Come and join us for this event – it promises to be a fantastic evening. For tickets and further details, follow the link.

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Talk by Giorgos Tsiris


We are delighted to announce that Giorgos Tsiris will be coming to speak about his work. Please do join us!



Tickets available at:


Musical care at the end of life: Practice and research reflections on the everyday nature of the extraordinary

Approaching the end of life is often characterised as a transformational experience not only for the dying person but also for the individuals and the communities around them. In the face of mortality, questions regarding people’s meaning in life, their values and beliefs come to the fore. The transformational potential of such ‘big questions’, however, seems to unfold in their seeking and in their translation in the ‘small things’ of everyday life.

Drawing from my music therapy practice and research, I explore the extraordinariness of everyday musical care and its role within modern palliative care environments. The seemingly paradoxical relationship between the everyday and the extraordinary offers a platform for exploring music’s possibilities and music therapists’ craft in creating caring environments for individual and communal flourishing. This exploration points to expanded notions of music therapy practice with wider potential repercussions in terms of service provision as well as research and theory development in the field.


Giorgos Tsiris is Head of Research at Nordoff Robbins Scotland and Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of ‘Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy’ and a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing, University of Winchester. His therapeutic work has focused on palliative and bereavement care, including the development of health promotion and death education initiatives. In 2014, he co-authored the books “A Guide to Evaluation for Arts Therapists and Arts & Health Practitioners” and “A Guide to Research Ethics for Arts Therapists and Arts & Health Practitioners”, while his doctoral research explores spirituality in everyday music therapy contexts.



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Professor Barbara Wheeler

We are very much looking forward to a public lecture, to be given in May, followed by a wine reception.

Professor Barbara Wheeler

Music Therapy Research: Strengthening Our Music Therapy Practice

Please do join us!

Book online at:

This event takes place as part of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh’s 1st Music Therapy Research Day

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Dr. Concetta Tomaino

We are delighted to announce that in May 2017, we will welcome Dr. Concetta Tomaino, to give a lecture, as follows:

“Awakening the Brain”:

Arousal and disinhibition in music therapy for neuro-rehabilitation

Further information and tickets  available at:

Join us for this exciting event!

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An evening with Colwyn Trevarthen

In October 2016, we were excited to have Professor Colwyn Trevarthen come to talk to us about “Nurturing Musicality, for Wellbeing, and for Joy in Companionship”. His wide-ranging, multimedia presentation highlighted how infants look for connection and dialogue from the very beginning.  Their musicality in sound and movement through pace, form and tone helps to shape their sense of self, their interaction with others and their ability to share emotions, including pride and shame.

Prof. Colwyn Trevarthen is Emeritus Professor of Child Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Vice President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education.



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Jackie Robarts on symbolic play: 28th November

SMTT was delighted to host Jackie Robarts to run a one day workshop in November 2015.

Therapists from across the country came to attend the day, which focused on symbolic play in music therapy, working with themes metaphors and narratives in music and other art forms.

To clarify therapeutic techniques and processes, case study vignettes were linked with musical, developmental and psychodynamic theory in a model of Integrative Music Therapy (Robarts, 2014).

We also explored safe boundaries and ways of working musically and verbally with the material that children & adults bring into the therapy process, along with safeguarding issues.

About Jackie
1438551418Jackie Robarts has worked in NHS child & adolescent mental health, child development services, special needs and mainstream nurseries and primary schools. Over 3 decades as a practising music therapist she has developed an integrated musical, psychodynamic and developmental approach, and has published on her work.

Formerly Head of Music Therapy at an NHS children’s hospital, City University Research Fellow, and Senior Therapist & Clinical Tutor at Nordoff Robbins, she now has a private professional development practice offering advanced training workshops, clinical supervision, and improvisation lessons. She teaches and supervises in the UK and abroad.


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Lothians art therapies clinical network

An opportunity for arts therapists across the Lothians to come together to network and look at ways of working strategically together.

Find out more details here

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SMTT social: 18th June, Edinburgh

We had a great get together in June to mark the start of Music Therapy Week, with drinks followed by an improvisation to finish the evening. We even had other arts therapists represented! IMG_0428

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Vocal workshop: Mon 16 March 2015

We had a great workshop with music therapist and vocalist Harley Loudon in March 2015.

A group of music therapists and other musicians gathered to explore using our voices in a powerful and stimulating evening. IMG_0044 croppedWe travelled the world exploring gypsy songs, African songs, Blues, improvisations and vocalisations.

The evening finished with a facilitated discussion about using our voices in a therapeutic environment.

Many thanks to Harley and everyone who attended for their contributions!

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Harley is a vocalist, singer songwriter, composer with various musicians and poets in spoken word, folk, jazz and world music. She trained with Nordoff-Robbins as a music therapist working with dementia, premature babies, CAMHS, pre-school early intervention family groups, primary and secondary school children and young people with severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

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Adam Ockelford inspires on autism

Adam OckelfordOctober 2014 saw Professor Adam Ockelford give a thought-provoking lecture to the SMTT about autism and music. He discussed how people with autism may process music and language differently to the wider population, and provided practical examples drawing on his work with children and adults with autism.

Adam has had a lifelong fascination for music, as a composer, performer, teacher and researcher. While attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adam started working with children with special needs – a number of whom, he noticed, had special musical abilities too – and he became interested in how we all intuitively make sense of music, without the need for formal education. He has pursued this interest through his academic career. Recent publications include ‘In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini’ and ‘Music, Language and Autism: Exceptional Strategies for Exceptional Minds’.

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