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British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT)

The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) is the professional body for music therapists and a source of information, support and involvement for the general public. Our aims are to promote the art and science of music therapy; the use and development of music therapy for children and adults with a wide range of needs; understanding of music therapy for the general public, and to advance education in music therapy. Our remit is to promote the profession and practice of music therapy in the UK and act as a voice for those who could benefit from music therapy, and for those who provide music therapy.

10 February 2016
Care, Communication, Hospitals and Hospital Trusts, Housing Sector, Local Authorities, Membership Organisations, Other, Education Sector, Commissioners Sector

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Many people with dementia experience extreme isolation due to a loss of language skills. Music therapy can help to break down this isolation as it provides opportunities for non-verbal communication and interaction. Music therapy research studies have been included in a recent review of NICE guidelines, which suggest that music therapy is beneficial as a psychosocial intervention in dementia care. E.g. where it is suggested that that there is some evidence of clinical effectiveness of therapeutic use of music to help agitation.Music therapy works towards the same goals as those established in Person Centered Care (PCC), supporting individual wellbeing and personhood. In that, on an individual level, we would be supporting and delivering better outcomes by offering choice; services that are tailored to the individual’s needs; creating a sense of belonging through engagement, and helping to create a sense of feeling valued and understood.On a local and national level, through collaboration and partnership building with other service providers, stakeholders and relevant bodies, we would aim to raise awareness around the effectiveness of music therapy in meeting the seven outcomes. To support this, we would continue to develop the resources we have available for those working with people with dementia, those with dementia and those providing music therapy services for people with dementia, as well as commissioning and developing research into the effectiveness of music therapy. There are currently several universities working in partnership with residential home and the NHS dementia services to plan and set up research programmes in this area.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The challenges we feel we face as an organisation in delivering the outcomes are linked to funding and research. There needs to be further research commissioned in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia. We feel that having this robust evidence base, we, on behalf of our members, would then be able to campaign and lobby for funding or help our members bid/campaign for funding to make music therapy more widely available for those with dementia. At the moment, the availability of music therapy is dependent upon funding and geographical location. Music therapists are working with dementia strategy groups locally and nationally but more resources are needed for this work.We are currently working on developing greater awareness around the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia. By pledging our support to the Dementia Action Alliance we hope to be able to help deliver the seven outcomes through the delivery of more music therapy across the UK.

Member website


2. Actions

  • To develop partnerships with national and local dementia organisations

    In order to do this, we are signing up to the Dementia Action Alliance, and will work on building relationships with other relevant organisations such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK and Age UK.

    Being implemented

    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    BAMT has continued to build, foster and develop relationships with relevant Dementia related organisations, public health bodies and other music related organisations through its national awareness campaign which took place in June 2015. Key figures for these organisations were invited and brought together for a roundtable discussion in Portcullis House to explore how music therapy can be made available to all those with dementia.  

  • Awareness raising about the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia

    In collaboration with our membership, we will help raise the awareness of the role music therapy has to play in supporting people with dementia from diagnosis through to end of life care, and their families. This will be through an online campaign, video materials, partnerships, advocacy events, commissioning research and engagement with the national dementia strategy.


    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    This year, BAMT chose to focus its national awareness raising campaign, Music Therapy Week, on the role music therapy has to play in supporting people with dementia and those who care for them. The campaign was delivered online, in print, events and activities which took place across the UK and a parliamentary roundtable discussion in Portcullis House where leading key figures from the field of dementia, practitioners, researchers, decision makers, came together to discuss the role of music therapy in dementia care. The outcome from this meeting is to develop a national working group focusing on the aim of making music therapy an integral part of the dementia care journey.  

  • Supporting and developing research into the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia

    To commission, support and promote research into the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia in partnership with other music therapy organisations and charities, as well as service providers and other relevant stakeholders.

    Initial Scoping

    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    BAMT has continued to support the development of research into the effectiveness of music therapy for people with dementia through promoting and supporting research undertaken within the field of music therapy such as the research published by Anglia Ruskin University and Methodist Homes Association. 

    BAMT is also contributing to the NICE draft scoping consultation on Dementia which is currently out for review. 

    BAMT has also sponsored the first ever forthcoming music therapy and dementia conference in the UK at Anglia Ruskin University. This conference is unique in its focus and will provide a platform for the sharing of research and evidence, exploring clinical practice; inlcuding the role of multi-disciplinary practice, as well offering opportunities for people with dementia to contribute through workshops and presentations.