Over 9,000 people have been helped in the last year by music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, according to new figures.
Music therapy can help people with physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs by playing and listening to music.
According to Nordoff Robbins, nine in ten people (91%) who took part in music therapy felt that it improved their quality of life. An equally high proportion (95%) said music therapy helped them communicate their feelings better.
The charity is now calling on policy-makers to support the case for music therapy as part a wider approach to healthcare.
Simon Procter, Director of Music Services at Nordoff Robbins, said:
Many people tell us how surprised they are by the meaningfulness of music making and how this can motivate them to get out of bed in the morning to get to their music therapy session, to work at things in music when work otherwise seems too daunting, and to trust their music therapist when it is really hard to trust anyone.
Nordoff Robbins has announced that it is merging its Scottish operation with that in other UK nations and will now be able to support more people like 25-year-old Elizabeth, who has been having music therapy to support her with mental health issues.
Elizabeth, who has Dysphasia and Autism, said:
Music therapy brings people to life, just by picking up an instrument and joining together in music it helps to heal people, whatever pain or trauma or problem you have been through, it can help. You can be yourself, without judgement.
Another example of someone who has been helped by music therapy is Steve, who found his work and then addiction caused him to become socially isolated.
Steve’s music therapist helped him rediscover his passion for music and song writing. Steve and his therapist then performed the songs for other people and as Steve grew more confident, the therapist was needed less and less. Now Steve has a full and busy life with no drugs but lots of music. He said:
I’m less comfortably numb, more meaningfully occupied.
In the coming year, the charity hopes to expand its reach and help even more vulnerable and isolated people in communities where the power of music will be used to change lives.