Music therapy – how music therapy is helping older people and persons with dementia.

Music therapy for dementia
Music therapy for dementia

Leicester’s Hospitals are working together with OPUS, a leading provider of music in healthcare settings, to bring music onto wards for older people and for those with a dementia.

Following the success of their previous visits to Older Peoples wards, OPUS will now visit all three sites of Leicester’s Hospitals on a weekly basis over the next two years.

Two musicians will be visiting the hospital for a day each week, providing music and song on various wards. OPUS musicians engage with patients, visitors and staff in music-making, creating an environment conducive to health and well-being. The musicians also carry a variety of instruments for patients to use.

Music and singing creates an opportunity for patients to reminisce and retrieve memories which at other times may be lost. This initiative has been supported by the Arts Council and Leicester Hospitals Charity.

Justine Allen, Older Peoples Sister, said: “The first visit from OPUS was inspiring and overwhelming to say the least.  Patients with dementia who had found it difficult to communicate beforehand began to respond. They clapped, touched, opened their eyes, smiled, tapped and sang.

“It was amazing to be part of and was great to see the positive impact OPUS had on the overall environment, for both staff and visitors to the ward.”

OPUS Music Community Interest Company (CIC) is a UK leader in taking music-making into healthcare settings.  The core team of musicians from OPUS are Nick Cutts, Richard Kensington, Oli Matthews and Sarah Matthews.

Nick Cutts, Director and musician at OPUS, added: “We are delighted to be extending our practice at Leicester’s Hospitals to include work with older patients and those with dementia. We know from our experience, and from recent research, that live music-making makes a huge difference within hospitals both to the health and wellbeing of the patients, but also to the visitors and staff.”

The OPUS visits began this September, to support national Older People’s Month, among a calendar of events and ward celebrations arranged by Leicester’s Hospitals patient experience team.

For more information about OPUS, please visit

Music Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Music Therapy for Autism
Music Therapy for Autism

A few months ago we cover the fascinating area of music therapy for children on the autism spectrum. You can read the overviews here and here.

So I was delighted when Jaime Highfill of Charis Music Studio got in touch to tell us a bit more about the course she is offering this Fall.

Miss very kindly shared a bit more about the course and why she set it up here.

She wrote ” My name is Jaime and I own a music studio in Owasso, OK (Tulsa area). I have a special needs son Micah who is 13 going on 14. He is autistic with some motor movement issues like flapping his hands or screeching. He is kind, polite, funny and has a love for music. Ever since he was little he has loved every musical instrument known to man! We (his father & I) would purchase all of the silver plastic instruments for him to play with. He would play with them till they broke and we would buy more. After a while these instruments wouldn’t do. He wanted the real deal! So we searched Craigslist, pawn shops, anywhere to find real instruments for birthdays, Christmas -used and beat up he didn’t care![

Micah never was a fan of school but in 6th grade he got scheduled for band to finally learn an instrument! His dream come true! The school called us after day one and told us that micah to sum it up couldn’t be in the class because he would be a distraction. We tried to fight it for a while. We had many conversations with the school before the band director to contacted us directly. We were angry we were hurt and most of all we had to break the news to our son. How could they know after one day? How could they know without putting an instrument into our son’s hands?

My heart still breaks to this day for my son. I own a music studio so I promised him I would get him a teacher for any instrument he wanted to play. This incident stays with my son. We as his parents know what a blessing he is. He touches lives everywhere he goes as do many of these kids. We didn’t want to force the issue and put our son in the hands of someone who didn’t want to be bothered.

Miss - Autism and Music Therapy Expert
Miss – Autism and Music Therapy Expert

I’m sure that there are many instances like this with the special needs kids. I am sure that every parent has faced an issue like this.
So with all that being said, I decided to offer a music class for special needs kids. I have been wanting to do this for a while. I am lucky enough now to have a teacher who has an autistic brother and it is getting her degree in Speech Pathology and a minor in psychology. We are going to offer these kids voice lessons instrument lessons, music theory, rhythm, music history in a new and fun way. It will be a group class each week and we will have a different theme. If any of these kids are interested in some sort of Music area we can now figure that out through this class and perhaps offer them one on one lessons with exactly what they want to do. The main thing we are doing now is a group lesson ages 7 to 18 separated into two groups younger and older. We will have each parent fill out a questionnaire to know about each child specifically.
I am so excited about this program! It cost $30 per month and we will be starting in September. If the child doesn’t enjoy it they can stop at any point. ”

You can call Miss on 918-272-6879, or send her an email  If you have any more general questions about music therapy for children on the autism spectrum please do ask them in the comments section below and we will ask Miss to share her thoughts.


Autism and Music – What are the facts and how effective is music therapy for autistic people?

Some fascinating facts about autistic people and music.

A few years ago I found myself at a party where one of the hosts was a doctor.

So unsurprisingly many of the guests were also physicians. The subject of autism came up (can’t remember how) and he told me that he had looked at the whole area of autism and music therapy. Music therapy he felt that in many cases it was extremely effective.

I was reminded of this conversation when I spotted this fascinating infographic.

The purpose of this blog post is to find out how well music therapy works for people on the autistic spectrum.

Now we have never used it for our son. On the whole he finds music a bit overwhelming especially when loud. So I’m very keen on hearing the views of other people.

It would be great if you could share your experiences in the comments section below. You might want to consider the following questions but everything you would like to share will be of interest to our readers:-

a) Have you or a loved one ever used music therapy because of ASD?
b) What did the music therapy involve?
c) How effective was the music therapy?
d) What is the role of music in your or their lives?
e) Finally would you recommend music therapy for others?

Thanks very much in advance!

10 Surprising Facts about Autism and Music

From Visually.