Nationwide music therapy bursaries launched by Nordoff Robbins & Sony Music UK

Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s largest independent music therapy charity, will benefit from a new bursary from Sony Music to train six students on their world-class Master of Music Therapy (MMT) programme.  

The funding is specifically for students who would otherwise not have the resources to complete a Masters-level programme, removing barriers faced by people from a range of diverse backgrounds that may inhibit their talent and prospects.  

Sony Music’s investment forms part of their pledge as a founder member of the Valuable 500 campaign, which asks businesses to put disability inclusion on their boardroom agenda. Sony Music’s full pledge is listed on the Valuable 500 website.

Music therapy enriches the lives of people affected by life-limiting illness, isolation or disability. Nordoff Robbins has been training musicians to become therapists since 1974 and supports thousands of people each year through its own centres and care homes, schools and hospitals.  

The two-year Masters degree programme is run out of training bases in London, Manchester and Newcastle. It is validated by Goldsmiths, University of London, and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

Sony Music’s commitment will cover six bursaries across the UK over an initial three-year period. It’s estimated that over the two-year course alone, per location, the funded students will deliver around 2,520 music therapy sessions to 600 vulnerable and isolated individuals. 

“We’re excited to do something tangible and meaningful in the worlds of both music and disability” said Jason Iley, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK. “Music is incredibly powerful and can reach people and provide opportunities in so many different ways. We are proud to be part of the Valuable 500, which encourages companies to prioritise and invest in accessibility for all.” 

The scheme has also been endorsed by Sony-signed artist Rag’n’Bone Man, who worked as a carer for children with Down’s syndrome and Asperger’s before his music career took off. “I saw first-hand how families struggle with a lack of support.  Issues around disability have been side-lined for too long and more help is needed to raise awareness and make real improvements. Music therapy has such a positive impact for those who need it.”

These bursaries will help Nordoff Robbins ensure its workforce is as diverse as the people and the communities they work with, and the charity is committed to employing most of the graduates once they have finished the scheme. Others go on to work across education, health and social care services around the UK. 

“We are grateful to Sony Music for choosing Nordoff Robbins for this generous bursary,” said Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins. “These places offer a training opportunity to gifted and passionate individuals who might otherwise find access to the course a challenge. To support our Master of Music Therapy programme is to support not only the careers of six people, but the future of high-quality music therapy reaching the people who need it most.”

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