MHA is a leading provider of music therapy in dementia care across the UK, as featured in the BBC One documentary Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure.

> What is music therapy?
> How can music therapy help people living with dementia?
> How much does a music therapy session cost?
> How can I support this life-enhancing work?
> How can I become a music therapist?
> Where can I learn more about music therapy?

Music therapy helps to alleviate isolation and the symptoms for those living with dementia by helping to unlock special memories, reconnect with their loved ones and express emotions and feelings that other forms of communication cannot, even if the individual is no longer able to speak or respond to other people’s words.

MHA's music therapy service shot to fame in May 2019 as Weston & Queensway House care home resident Eileen Pegg featured in a major BBC One documentary, Our Dementia Choir. Actress Vicky McClure visited the home to see first-hand the life-enhancing impacts of music therapy in dementia care.

What is music therapy?

"Music therapy is an established psychological clinical intervention, which is delivered by Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered music therapists to help people whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability through supporting their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs." - British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT)

Music therapy differs from a sing-a-long or listening to music. Our trained and award-winning therapists, whose life-enhancing work is funded by charitable donations, interact directly with our care home residents through almost 11,000 live music therapy sessions each year. This can be through singing, playing simple percussion instruments or responding to musical cues, as well as the exchange of verbal, facial, vocal and bodily expressions in a one-to-one or group setting.  

Find an MHA Dementia Care Home near you >>


How can music therapy help people living with dementia?

Music therapy can help in many clinical situations, particularly where communication is difficult due to illness, injury or disability.

It’s not until you lose the power of speech that you realise what a crucial element it is for self-expression and communication with others. However, it is through the unique interaction of music therapy that our therapists are able to help reduce the anxiety and agitations which dementia can cause, as well as help staff understand possible causes of these symptoms.

Because it is a clinical intervention, music therapists are trained to feed back their observations to care staff and also record them on the individual's care plan. For example, they may have observed that a particular song helps calm someone's agitation. They let care staff know this so they can sing it to a resident when they observe anxiety or agitation to help calm the individual. 

Find an MHA Dementia Care Home near you >>

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How much does a music therapy session cost?

A one-to-one session with a music therapist costs £35. However, at MHA we provide the service free of charge to our residents, thanks to funding from charitable support and our surplus.

You can help us provide even more of our residents with this life-enhancing service by making a donation to our music therapy appeal >>


How can I become a music therapist?

Music therapists are highly trained allied health professionals, providing treatment that can help to transform people's lives.

Music therapists use music to help their clients achieve therapeutic goals through the development of the musical and therapeutic relationship. The role of the music therapist is not to teach clients how to play an instrument, and there is no pre-requisite to ‘be musical’ to engage in music therapy.

To learn more about life as a music therapist at MHA, please visit our career stories webpage.


Where can I learn more about music therapy?

MHA was a pioneer in the provision of music therapy for people living with dementia, having introduced it in 2008. We are now the largest employer of music therapists working with people with dementia who are in care homes in the country.

Want to know more about our music therapy, including future campaigns? Please let us know your details below:

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