Music therapy strikes a chord at charity fundraiser

Trans LGBTQ+ rights YouTube talent Jake Edwards performs for charity
Trans LGBTQ+ rights YouTube talent Jake Edwards performs for charity

The UK's largest independent music therapy charity saw artists perform on its behalf at The Green Door Store earlier this month (April 4).

The Nordoff Robbins fundraiser lineup included Ciircus Street, Little Grim, Max White, Drew Thomas and outspoken trans and LGBTQ+ rights YouTube star Jake Edwards.

Money raised will help continue Nordoff Robbins' tireless work to change the lives of vulnerable and isolated people through music.

"Music affects us all and music therapy supports a wide range of individuals, from children with learning difficulties and autism, to older people living with dementia and those recovering from a terminal illness," said Ingrid Stone, community and challenge events fundraiser for Nordoff Robbins.

Therapy sessions, Masters-level music therapy training and research are at the core of the charity’s work.

And you don’t have to be musically gifted to benefit, explained Ingrid, which is shown by the charity’s emotional recent feature in The Telegraph.

"My own mother lives with posterior cortical atrophy Alzheimer’s and I know just how powerful and healing music can be," she said.

The intimate night of music and awareness-raising was organised by BIMM Brighton student Anna Nilsson as part of her final year project.

"I've got a long history of depression in my family and anxiety, so I've always been very aware that that's a very big possibility for me as well," she said.

"Music has helped me through a lot."

Having experienced traditional therapy and being introduced to the work of Nordoff Robbins at college, Anna said using music as a therapeutic medium was an amazing concept.

"It's not only mental health, there are people that come in and have very little movement in their hands and then they get a guitar and start getting movement back, like physical therapy after an accident. Or if you've got MS you can go there and keep that movement up," she said.

To celebrate music’s therapeutic effect on mental health, Anna decided to invite Jake Edwards to perform.

Jake has more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and speaks openly about LGBTQ+ issues, his trans journey, and using music as a means of expression.

“It helps me channel my emotions in a way that talking about stuff doesn't necessarily do," he said.

"I think it's a more honest way and a more magnified way of dissecting my own emotions."

Tina Warnock, a music therapist at Belltree Music Therapy Centre, pointed to a more scientific reason behind the encouraging effects of non-verbal therapy.

"The neural pathways of the brain become more active [with music] than they do with words," she explained.

Music therapists at the Brighton centre use a range of tuned and untuned instruments as a means of connecting people.

Jake said: "I think it [music therapy] should be something that's available locally, something that people find accessible and that they know about, because I know of many people, and it's not just musicians, who would find so much more comfort in that."

For more information on Nordoff Robbins, visit: www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk