ResearchWorks: Evaluating Music Therapy: Designing a meaningful and flexible protocol for evidencing impact

  • 6pm
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Free | Online

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Speakers: Cressida Lindsay & Karen Wise (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)

Guildhall School's Music Therapy Department has been providing community outreach music therapy to local schools and services since 2013. Although anecdotally the work is valued by partner organisations, it has not been formally evaluated. In common with much provision of this kind, it is highly individualized – for different institutions and for individual clients – as well as precarious, with continuity continually threatened. In particular, a funding crisis experienced in 2017 highlighted the need and the challenge of evidencing the effectiveness and value of music therapy, as well as a lack of available published and methodologically sound evaluation protocols and tools to support such evidence gathering.

This presentation will discuss the first part of a project to design and implement an evaluation protocol. We began with a Scoping Phase, exploring views of key stakeholders in order to guide us towards a set of principles and tools that are both meaningful and adaptable to a wide variety of settings. This phase was carried out with the Music Therapy Service at London East Alternative Provision (LEAP), a Pupil Referral Unit for secondary school pupils based in Stepney Green, by means of semi- structured interviews with pupils, parents, teachers, support staff, therapists and senior leaders. The presentation will summarise the findings of the interviews and the proposed evaluation tools which were chosen, adapted or designed in line with the themes and principles that emerged from the data. The next phase of the Evaluation Project will be outlined and there will be a discussion about how the evaluation tools can be adapted further for application to a wider range of educational establishments.