Professor Leslie Bunt

'Music Therapy and the Child with Intellectual and Developmental Disability'

To link music therapy intervention to specific outcomes, a series of connecting projects evaluated the effects of music therapy with children with learning difficulties/special needs. Three studies were undertaken: questionnaires evaluated both the benefits to 80 children referred to music therapy as well as the attitudes of the staff involved. Changes in behaviour with music therapy were compared with an equal period without music therapy using time-based analysis of video recordings of sessions; individual play with a familiar adult was analysed. Music therapy was found to effect significant changes in the amount of playing, vocalising and looking (at the instrument, adult and away). In the third study the results from the earlier time-based measures were replicated, particularly the development of vocalisations, and the socially important behaviour of turn-taking. Leslie later set up a national charity, MusicSpace, which at its peak employed over 50 music therapists, many working with children. He established the first part-time course in music therapy now at the University of the West of England where he is Professor in Music Therapy. His services to music therapy were recognised in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours with an MBE.