Advancing Healthcare Awards 2018 Blog two: The latest in NMT techniques

Chroma hosts UK’s largest ever music therapy training course in the UK

Eighty-three new Neurologic Music Therapists qualified last month in the UK’s largest-ever course of its type – which was organised and hosted by Chroma.

The course was overseen by Dr Michael Thaut, widely acknowledged as the creator of NMT, who visited the UK from the US to carry out the training.

He talked about several of the latest techniques in NMT as part of the course, including work on executive function, the cognitive processes necessary for the control of behavior including attentional control, cognitive inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Daniel Thomas, managing director at Chroma, said: “Dr Thaut showed us an exercise that involved a patient being asked about a memory, then asked to use musical sounds and cues to evoke different aspects of it. For example, if the patient remembered a scene where it was windy, they would be asked to build up an image of the wind using different instruments.

“This technique has a direct effect on rebuilding executive function and is backed by extensive neuroscientific research. It is a method of working that helps the patient construct something evocative in the real world that has real personal meaning and emotional resonance.”

Chroma, which is the UK’s only national arts therapy provider, itself placed 28 people on the course and is now has the country’s largest music therapist network, numbering 45 and working in settings from hospitals to homes.

Daniel said: “Our music art and drama therapists have already undergone extensive training – for example, a master’s degree is required to become registered by the Health and Care Professions Council – but NMT is very much recognised as taking the whole subject of music therapy to a new level.

“Dr Thaut’s research in brain function and music has focussed on neurologic rehabilitation of key cognitive and motor functions, frequently enabling those affected by issues such as strokes and brain injuries to make significant strides towards recovery.”

As part of efforts to bring the benefits of NMT to a wider audience, Chroma is sponsoring the Advancing Healthcare Awards for the new Realising Potential Through Creativity category.

Daniel said: “As a former winner of an Advancing Healthcare Award, we know how much it can mean to a business and we are very pleased to be involved in the creation of this new category, which highlights the concrete contribution that the arts make to healthcare.”