Philippa Derrington

Music therapy with "Youth at Risk"

Philippa Derrington has been investigating the value of music therapy for pupils, in both a mainstream secondary college and in a special school for pupils with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties, who are at risk of underachievement or exclusion. The project was set up collaboratively between The Music Therapy Charity, The Cottenham Academy, Anglia Ruskin University and the Institute of Education in London. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of music therapy by interviewing students before and after a block of twenty weeks of music therapy and asking both students and staff to complete questionnaires at different stages throughout a two-year period, which examined levels of challenging behaviour, attitude to school and learning, relationships with peers etc. Read more about Youth at Risk.

Following the completion of her PhD at Anglia Ruskin University, which was fully funded by the Music Therapy Charity, Philippa Derrington relocated to Edinburgh to take on the role of Programme Leader of the MSc Music Therapy at Queen Margaret University. The full-time music therapy post, which she established at The Centre School in Cambridge as a direct result of her research with MTC, was handed over to Ismael Sanchez and music therapy continues to be a successful and integral part of provision within the school.

As well as presenting her work at both national and international conferences, Philippa has frequently been invited to share her research in order to help raise the profile of music therapy for young people and illustrate its benefits. For example, in March 2015 her public lecture in Newport, Wales, as part of the launch of the British Association for Music Therapy exhibition, reached capacity and was enthusiastically received. The head of Gwent Music Service (GMS), Emma Archer, was in attendance and as a result very keen to instigate music therapy in the Gwent area.  Since the event, there has been an overall increase in provision of music therapy by GMS directly linked to this talk and demonstrating the impact of the research to generate provision.

Philippa is passionate about continuing to create music therapy work in schools and, as well as reviewing and revalidating the MSc Music Therapy programme in her first two years as Programme Leader, is now setting about creating opportunities for marginalised youth in Scotland. She is also collaborating on new research projects on an international level, to further explore the use of music and music therapy in schools, and is hosting the Third International Symposium of Music Therapy with Adolescents at Queen Margaret University in April 2016.

Publications of the research are forthcoming and references to these will be made available here as soon as possible.