History of the Music Therapy Charity

Established in 1969, the Music Therapy Charity is the leading UK charity specialising in Music Therapy Research.

The Charity was founded by Clive Muncaster, its objects being ‘to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill health of every kind, whether physical or mental ...... and to promote research into the use of the arts for the above purposes’.

Lady Alexander Trevor-Roper was invited to Chair the Board of Governors and in 1969, and for many subsequent years, charitable funds were raised at The Churchill Memorial Concerts at Blenheim.

When Clive Muncaster moved to the United States, the main focus of the Charity moved from Oxford to London, where Juliette Alvin had started the first UK taught Music Therapy course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1968, and the influential work of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins led to the Nordoff-Robbins training course at Goldie Leigh Hospital in South London in 1974.

The primary focus of the charity for the last 30 years has been as a grant-giving organisation: funding training for students on postgraduate music therapy courses, offering scholarships and providing financial support to academic music therapy research.

In 1980, Professor Malcolm Troup, as Head of Music at City University, initiated a Research Fellowship, co-founded by the Music Therapy Charity. Over the last 15 years, the Music Therapy Charity has taken sole financial responsibility for funding the Music Therapy Research Fellows.

Music Therapists are also invited to apply for small grants that encourage Clinical Research and Research Development. 

In 2007 The Music Therapy Charity hosted the Ammerdown Conference, which brought together the heads of all UK postgraduate music therapy courses, senior researchers and other leaders in the field to consider the future direction of the profession and to identify how best the MTC could deliver its mission to advance the field of music therapy and support its practitioners.

The Conference highlighted a need to further promote the accessibility of the profession to other groups who may benefit. As a result of the conference, the Music Therapy Charity commissioned a review of Music Therapy for disenchanted school children, and began its first community project, with the Launch of the Disenchanted Youth Project. Read more about “Youth at Risk”.


The Charity will continue to focus its activities on music therapy projects, in partnership with those agencies best able to observe and measure change at first hand. From 2014, there will be particular focus on projects with older people, especially in dementia care.

The MTC receives no statutory funding and is completely reliant on donations. If you can help, please donate now