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Music Therapy Conversations

Aug 12, 2020


Luke interviewed eight colleagues from the team at Oxleas Music Therapy Service about their experiences of adapting practice during lockdown. This has inevitably included a wide range of experiences, some very positive, some frustrating, but all of them demonstrating the ability of music therapists to adapt and improvise in a crisis, keeping the children and young people they are working with at the centre of their practice. You can also find a shorter edit of this project (with a musical bonus) on the service website. Here are their biogs in order of appearance:

Sarah Hadley is the manager of Oxleas Music Therapy Service. You can see a more extensive biog for Sarah in the notes for her own episode of Music Therapy Conversations (Episode 36 from March 2020).

Oonagh Jones is Principal Music Therapist at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust where she is Caseload Manager and Lead for the Under 5s service.  Oonagh works in mainstream, special schools and children's centres; with a particular interest in working with children and young people who have experienced trauma.

Anthony Voelcker has worked in secondary schools since graduating from Roehampton in 2013, specialising in working with young people with learning disabilities. He currently working in two South London SEN schools, leading the music therapy team at Charlton Park Academy and working as the music therapist at Greenvale School.

Nicky O'Neill is one of the Principal music therapists. She is the Contracts Manager for the Service, with a career-long interest and specialism in children with complex needs -ASD as well as health needs.  

Jimmy Lyons' musical background is in live performance, songwriting and recording. After completing a Master’s degree in music technology in his native Ireland, Jimmy moved to the UK and trained at Nordoff Robbins in London where he qualified in 2013. He currently runs a private music therapy practice (Right Note Therapeutic Services), studies Family & Systemic Psychotherapy studies at The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and works for the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust music therapy service.

Hannah Smith has worked for Oxleas NHS since 2014, initially alongside other Music Therapy posts in acute mental health, forensic mental health and as a self-employed therapist, but moving to full time from 2017. Hannah's clinical work encompasses mainstream and special education, children's centres and the core NHS service, as well as co-ordinating student placements and the service audit of clients accessing Music Therapy and the outcome measures relating to their provision.

Since qualifying as a music therapist at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Gillian O’Dempsey has worked for the NHS Borders CAMHS service and the Cheyne Child Development Service at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, she currently works for NHS Oxleas with children in mainstream primary schools and special schools.  Gillian taught the Introduction to Music Therapy module at Napier University, Edinburgh and now teaches on the Interactive Music-Maker training course run by Music as Therapy International.  Before music therapy training, Gillian worked in education in a variety of teaching roles.​

Richard Murison has worked in this team with children, young people and adults, since qualifying from Roehampton in 2008. He is a guitarist and singer-songwriter. Richard has led on several research projects for the service, including a qualitative investigation of transitions from childrens to adult services, which was awarded the poster prize at the BAMT 2016 Glasgow conference.