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Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s largest independent music therapy charity, has today (21 Jan) announced it is to benefit from a bursary from Sony Music to train six students on their world-class Master of Music Therapy (MMT) programme.  

The funding has been ring-fenced for students who would otherwise not have the resources to complete a Masters level programme, removing barriers faced by individuals from a range of diverse backgrounds which may be inhibiting their talent and prospects.  

Sony’s investment forms part of their pledge as a founder member of the Valuable 500 campaign, which asks businesses to put disability at the top of their agenda. The move builds on existing work the company has done to prioritise diversity and well-being. 

Dedicated to enriching the lives of people affected by life limiting illness, isolation or disability through music therapy, Nordoff Robbins supports thousands of people through its own centres and by working in partnership with organisations including care homes, schools and hospitals.  

The charity has been training musicians to become music therapists since 1974, giving them the skills, training and thinking needed to use music therapeutically to help others.  

The two-year Masters degree programme is run out of training bases in London, Manchester and Newcastle. It is validated by Goldsmiths, University of London, and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  

Sony Music’s commitment to Nordoff Robbins will cover six bursaries across the UK over an initial three-year period. It is estimated that over the two-year course alone, per location, the funded students will deliver around 2,520 music therapy sessions to 600 vulnerable and isolated individuals. 

Nordoff Robbins is committed to employing most of the graduates: these bursaries will help Nordoff Robbins to ensure its workforce is as diverse as the people and the communities they work with. Other graduates go on to work across education, health and social care services around the UK. 

Sony Music signed artist Rag’n’BoneMan (Rory Graham), who worked as a carer before his music career exploded, endorsed Sony’s commitment: “Having worked as a carer for children with Down’s syndrome and Asperger’s, I saw first-hand how families struggle with a lack of support.  Issues around disability have been side-lined for too long and more help is needed to raise awareness and make real improvements. I’m pleased to see Sony Music support diversity by investing in music therapy, which has such a positive impact for those who need it.” 

Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins said: “We are grateful to Sony Music for choosing Nordoff Robbins for this generous bursary. These six fully funded places on our programme will offer a training opportunity to gifted and passionate individuals who might otherwise find access to the course a challenge. To support our Master of Music Therapy programme is to support not only the careers of six people, but the future of high-quality music therapy reaching the people who need it most.” 

Jason Iley, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK, said: “We’re excited to do something tangible and meaningful in the worlds of both music and disability. Music is incredibly powerful and can reach people and provide opportunities in so many different ways. We are proud to be part of the Valuable 500, which encourages companies to prioritise and invest in accessibility for all.” 

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