Hi, I’m Kinga, a music therapist from Poland and the WFMT Student Delegate for Europe. I am fascinated by the Nordoff-Robbins style of music therapy and I would like to show you how this approach is developing in Poland and what impact it can have on people.
American composer Paul Nordoff and British special needs educator Clive Robbins claimed that everybody has inborn musicality, which doesn’t disappear in the face of illnesses or disabilities. They believed that common music-making supports the development of children who are isolated due to their illness or disability; that ‘Music therapy works just as music does.’ In 1959 they initiated the approach to music therapy which they called ‘therapy in music’. Since then, music therapists all over the world have developed the Nordoff-Robbins approach, working with children and adults with many different disabilities.
Since 2016, the Nordoff-Robbins Foundation has been active in Poland. It is responsible for the organisation of music therapy sessions and supporting the development of this field in Poland. In the description of the Foundation, we can read that
‘Nordoff Robbins Poland is about people and the music that they create together. In spite of the health condition or the music experience, everybody can become a member of our team: a duo with music therapist or a music-making group for open sessions of music. We invite children, adults and seniors to join us, also people with disabilities and those who are homeless.
Everybody who wants to discover satisfaction and advantages of common music-making is welcome in our team.’
Nordoff-Robins Poland is a foundation established by Dominika Dopierała, a musician and music therapist, a graduate of undergraduate studies in Piano at the Royal College of Music and postgraduate studies at the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London.
The landmark projects of the Foundations are:
à Special Forces Team
In which everybody is equally important despite age (children and seniors), music education (amateurs and professional musicians), disability, or homelessness.
The team performs both outdoors and at special care centres, as well as hospitals. Everybody can join the common performance.
à Mobile Music Centre
It is a special vehicle, which is a closed music therapy room, and after opening the side wall it can be transformed into a mobile music stage. It was created to take music where it is less accessible, to provide music therapy sessions for people with disabilities in the vehicle next to their homes.
The foundation is for everybody; it is filled with music, passion, and respect for diversity. This initiative of Dominika Dopierała changes the lives of those who participate in its sessions and projects:
Gabriel, experiencing homelessness: ‘I am so proud to be in this team. […] I wish children would see I dug myself out, I am a normal person, not to be ashamed of, not to be pointed. […] Music is my hope. […] With you I am finding myself, what I lost.’*
Aga and Ania: ‘You give us space for creativity, which we fill with ourselves, sounds, happiness, movement, and sometimes with outstanding silence and focus. […] We are together in spite of age, social status, health condition, worldview. It is beautiful and almost not real, but we assure everybody it is what it is!!!’*
During music classes I conduct for small children, I often see how much music opens their parents, so I truly believe that improvisation and common music making in the atmosphere of full acceptation can and does work wonders.
*The citations are freely translated with permission by K.Majchrzak, based on materials from the website: https://nordoff-robbins.pl/
WFMT Student Delegate for Europe