A voyage of discovery: From fulfilling funding criteria to revealing a clearer vision for music therapy in a special needs school
In the era of the evidence-based practice (EBP) movement, music therapists are increasingly asked to provide evidence for funders. Often this has been the requirement to “evaluate existing services, or to justify the creation of new services with ‘appropriate’ evidence” (Pavlicevic, Ansdell, Procter & Hickey 2009: 3-4). Youth Music Initiative│Creative Scotland (YMI) awarded funds to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland to support music therapy services for a number of schools in a local council area in Scotland. As part of this funding, they requested a service evaluation of one of these schools. The first part of this paper describes this evaluation (conducted in 2013) of the music therapy service in a school for pupils with complex needs. The evaluation aimed to assess the impact of music therapy on the pupils and the school and to ensure the quality of the service. The second part of the paper discusses the process of meeting an additional request from the funders which came after the completion of the evaluation. This time, all of the schools under the umbrella of this funding block were each asked to provide information to prove eligibility to access this funding to ensure funding renewal. Case studies and the evaluation findings are used to help illustrate how music therapy meets the funder’s goals. This process led to the development of a model for a continuum of music provision in the school. This paper aims to demonstrate how the funding journey not only ensured the continuance of music therapy but actually resulted in a clearer vision of the role of music therapy in the school.
Keywords: music therapy; funding; vision; service evaluation; music education; complex needs
Claire Cartwright is originally from Ireland. She plays piano and clarinet and has a background in teaching clarinet, recorder and music theory in primary schools and a concert band, where she was also musical director of the Junior Band. Claire achieved her B.Mus in 2008 from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Claire then graduated with an MSc Music Therapy (Nordoff-Robbins) from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2011. Claire has been working with Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland since August 2011. Her clinical experience includes working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, mental health issues, and sensory impairments.