Nordoff Robbins Scotland Burns Supper

Over £24,000 was raised to help increase Nordoff Robbins music therapy in and around Edinburgh at a Burns Supper at Prestonfield House on Saturday 24 January.

Guests were treated to a wonderful performance by one of Scotland's favorite singer/songwriters, Dougie MacLean, who sang Caledonia, Auld Lang Syne and The Gift, a special song written after he joined a music therapy session and saw the effect on the child.

Among the guests were Susan Boyle and Ian Rankin, both loyal supporters of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland. Cllr Eric Miilgan who addressed the haggis also pointed out that it was 200 years to the day that the first Burns Supper was held in Edinburgh. Further entertainment came from Cat Shearer of the BBC, Ewen Cameron of STV Edinburgh and Craig Harrow.

"We are delighted with the result of our first Burns Supper for Nordoff Robbins Scotland. Prestonfield House is a fabulous venue with superb food and service which was much appreciated by all our guests," said Tom Ponton, who is the new fundraising chairman in Edinburgh for Nordoff Robbins Scotland.

Tom is aiming to raise even more money in 2015 to ensure that more children and adults benefit from the power of music to improve communication, quality of life and wellbeing.

For further information please contact Carolyne Nurse Fundraising Director at Nordoff Robbins Scotland on 07794 661959.


Hearts in Harmony shortlisted for award

A Glasgow based community choir for disabled people has been shortlisted for an award from the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

The Hearts in Harmony Choir which is a partnership between Capability Scotland and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Scotland has made it to the final stages in the Service User Involvement and Participation category of the awards which is sponsored by the Scottish Independent Advisory Alliance.

The choir, which is based at Capability Scotland's Junction 52 service in Penilee, was set up last year in response to a suggestion from individuals who attend Junction 52. During the past twelve months it has grown from 10 to 35 members. This shortlisting rounds off a very busy year for Hearts in Harmony which included a Big Big Sing performance in Glasgow Green as part of the Commonwealth Games celebrations.



Susan Boyle Visits NRS Base

Singing sensation Susan Boyle was officially honoured with the Fan's Choice Award from last year's Scottish Music Awards. The Britain's Got Talent star beat out an abundance of Scottish talent, thanks to votes from fans in 2013. She was presented her award by Donald MacLeod, fundraising chairman of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland at the base in Broxburn.

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Photo: Tina Norris


Emeli Supports Aberdeen Appeal

Looking ahead to 2015, we have a big ambition - to start a new Nordoff Robbins music therapy service in Aberdeen. A number of potential partners in the area have confirmed that Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy could make the world of difference to hundreds of children and adults who they support. From children with life-limiting illness to older adults with dementia, there is a long list of people whose lives music therapy could change for the better.

Read more here


Music Therapy Wows Barbara

Scottish singer and songwriter, Barbara Dickson, was deeply impressed by her first experience of Nordoff Robbins music therapy when she joined a session at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh in September.
After watching music therapist, Francesca Borghi, work with 17-year-old Matthew Goode and then with 16-year-old Jessica McArthur, Barbara said:

"Despite knowing about Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy for many years, I had never had the chance to actually see what happens in a session and I found it truly amazing. It was clear that the Jessica and Matthew have very different personalities but Francesca was able to reach out to them using her voice and different instruments. Their reactions were wonderful to see as their expressions changed, they smiled and were able to respond with music or making sounds with the ipad. Jessica is clearly quite a shy character but she soon positively reacted and Matthew was full of joy and started to play the instruments with Francesca , even when I was singing to him!


Big Day For Choir

Our choir had a memorable day out joining in the fun of the Commonwealth Games by singing on Glasgow Green as part of the Big Big Sing.


Labour Leader, Johann Lamont, Tunes Into Hearts in Harmony

Hearts in Harmony, Nordoff Robbins Scotland and Capability Scotland’s first community choir enjoyed a visit from Johann Lamont MSP at Penilee Community Centre on Monday 30 June.

The choir meets every Monday and is currently rehearsing for the Big Big Sing on 27 July on Glasgow Green which is part of the Commonwealth Games cultural programme. This is huge opportunity for the choir members who can be very isolated by their various health challenges.

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Sunday Mail Centenary Fund

A major thank to the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund which has donated £14,000 to Nordoff Robbins Scotland. A fantastic donation which will help us make music change even more lives of people across Scotland.

Sunday Mail Centenary Fund


Party in Stirling

The first NRS ClubJam was a huge success attracting over 120 participants from far and wide to join the fun at The Fubar on Saturday 6 September.

They took part in two high energy dance workouts led by Les Mills BodyJam instructors Gordon Steel and Lorraine Inglis.

Great prizes were donated by Airth Castle, The Peak, Les Mills, Allan Mitchison Photography and Taguchi Hair Salon and A generous donation from staff at the Fubar helped bring the total raised to a fantastic £2,326.

"We would love to replicate this in nightclubs in other towns and cities making it a national music fundraising event for Nordoff Robbins Scotland," said Carolyne Nurse, fundraising director at Nordoff Robbins Scotland. "Funds raised will help us to make music change lives of even more children and adults facing challenging health conditions."


Choir Prepares For The Games

Hearts in Harmony, Nordoff Robbins Scotland and Capability Scotland's first community choir is tuning up for the Commonwealth Games.
The choir meets every Monday and is currently rehearsing for the Big Big Sing on 27 July on Glasgow Green which is part of the Commonwealth Games cultural programme. This is huge opportunity for the choir members who can be very isolated by their various health challenges.
Supported by Capability Scotland, the 25 choir members are adults with a variety of disabilities and support needs including some with cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and learning disabilities. Some have serious communication difficulties as well as physical impairments and the choir is a liberating experience.

"It is a great opportunity for us to meet a lot of people and be part of the games," says Christine, a choir member.

If you would like to support Scotland's only disability choir, please visit their Just Giving page.

Photo Credit: Tina Norris



GuitarGuitar Donation

GuitarGuitar has made another generous donation to Nordoff Robbins Scotland to help ensure the therapists have the best equipment they need.


MSPs pledge support to Music Therapy in Scotland

Nordoff Robbins Scotland were at the Scottish Parliament last week to invite MSPs to pledge their support of our ambition: to ensure music therapy is accessible to everyone in Scotland. Carolyne Nurse, Nordoff Robbins Scotland Fundraising Director said: "This is has been an eye-opener for many MSPs. They now know how the power of music therapy changes the lives of people facing severe health challenges. Music therapy is vital for many people. Whatever their condition or illness, music therapy helps people to take their first steps to engaging or re-engaging with the world around them. It is important that our MSPs understand that for many of the people we work with, music therapy is not optional – it is essential."

Patricia Ferguson, MSP for Maryhill and Springburn, who sponsored the exhibition at Holyrood said: "I am delighted to be joining Nordoff Robbins Scotland in the Scottish Parliament to highlight the vital support they deliver to people in Scotland. Through intensive sessions with individuals and small groups, music therapy connects to people who struggle to communicate and as a result are often isolated and have a poor quality of life. With music therapy this does not need to be the case. Music therapy has the power to change people's lives for the better and Nordoff Robbins is a charity I am proud to support."

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Ken Parsons Guitar & Amp Collection Charity Auction 2014

The guitars and equipment offered here were part of the collection of Ken Parsons who sadly lost his battle with Cancer in September 2013. Music was a massive part of Ken's life and as such the collection is being sold to raise £15,000 for Nordoff-Robbins In Scotland. Full details of each item are available in the pdf catalogues below, items can be viewed in this video.

Acoustic Guitars
Electric Guitars
Guitar FX and Studio
Amps and PA

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Notes Spring Newsletter

Read the 2nd edition of our bi-annual newsletter.

View here (pdf)

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Paolo Nutini Launches Charity Partnership

A new partnership between Nordoff Robbins Scotland and The SSE Hydro was announced on Friday 28 March with the help of acclaimed songwriter and performer, Paolo Nutini.

Paolo spent time drumming with three young boys from Paisley who receive music therapy from Nordoff Robbins Scotland  therapists, Jo Edgar and Laura Burns.

Read full story

sma 2013How Music Therapy has changed Kaylee’s life

Kaylee is a five year old girl with Down’s Syndrome.  She was born with a hole in her heart and a hearing impairment.  Despite these difficulties, Kaylee has a zest for life; and her parents have always felt that Kaylee should have every opportunity available to fulfil her potential.

Read her story here

World Downs Syndrome Day is on Friday 21st March

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MP praises work of music therapy charity

Livingston MP Graeme Morrice has praised the work of local music therapy charity Nordoff-Robbins Scotland during a visit to the Broxburn base of the group dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults across the UK.

Read full article

Photo Credit: Tina Norris Photography

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The View Auction Presentation

Taking time out from their show at the O2 Academy Glasgow, The View presented Mark with the goodies he bought in Jason's charity auction earlier this year. Superfan Jason auctioned off a signed View guitar and various memorabilia he'd collected from the band over the years which raised £510 each for Nordoff Robbins Scotland & Cancer Research UK. We also picked up the cheque which will go towards our music therapy sessions.

Photo Credit: Caroline Fraser Photography

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Hearts In Harmony First Performance

Hearts in Harmony, a new community choir in Glasgow formed by Nordoff Robbins Scotland and Capability Scotland, gave their first public performance on 16th December.

Based in Pennilee Community Centre, the group, which is made up of adults with a range of disabilities, sang a programme of popular favourites and ended with a rousing Christmas medley. The choir is sponsored by Braehead Arena and Arts & Business Scotland and will continue to develop its repertoire in 2014.

Led by Nordoff Robbins music therapist, Jo Edgar, 'Hearts in Harmony' have been rehearsing since October. Jo says:
"Having the opportunity to share their talents and perform to their community has helped to build confidence amongst choir members. The group chose the songs they wanted to sing for the performance which has been a process allowing each choir member the space to suggest songs that are meaningful to them. As a result of this group-led approach, the choir has become a weekly social event, allowing members to grow new friendships and build on existing ones."

Earlier this year a research project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choristers' heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga. The research showed that singing has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

"Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these," said Dr Björn Vickhoff, who led the study. "It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit."

Telegraph Article

Photo Credit: Chris James

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The LaFontaines win The Big Apple Award!

big apple awardFollowing the live final on Wed 11th Dec and entries from some of Scotland's best up and coming musical talent, The LaFontaines won Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland's Big Apple Award, after a brilliant live performance at The Garage's G2 venue wowed the Award's judges.

Read our review of the final here

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Camera Obscura Rehearse

Two members of the band Camera Obscura visited and joined in a rehearsal for the drumming performance at the recent Scottish Music Awards held at the old Fruitmarket Glasgow on 23 November.

Tracyanne Campbell and Carey Lander joined in the rehearsal with pupils from St Modans School, Stirling and the drumming group, Barulho Beat. The pupils, who have autism, all receive music therapy from Nordoff Robbins therapist, Jo Edgar, pictured far left. Performing at the Awards for the first time was an exciting opportunity for them. Their participation was made possible thanks to matched funding from Arts & Business Scotland for Braehead Arena's support of the Scottish Music Awards for the first time.

Camera Obscura won the King Tut's Songwriting Award at the Awards
Photo Mark Anderson/Sunday Mail

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Thank You

A huge thank you to everyone who supported the recent Scottish Music Awards, our biggest fundraising event of the year helping to raise an incredible £145,000! This is essential to ensure we continue to take music to change the lives people of all ages in Scotland who are facing all kinds of health challenges.

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Notes - Autumn Newsletter

The autumn edition on our bi-annual newsletter 'Notes' is available here to download (pdf).

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Make Music, Change Lives

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland is the only music therapy charity in the country. We use music in innovative and inspiring ways to connect to children and adults who face physical and mental challenges as a result of disability, illness or conditions such as autism and dementia. Our therapists work in schools, hospitals, hospices, care homes and in our own clinics.

Your donations help us to meet the growing need for music therapy as people increasingly recognise how it can dramatically change lives. We need around £500,000 a year to fund our work and rely on the generosity of our donors to keep our services accessible to the people who need us most. £50 could provide one music therapy session; £1000 could sponsor a therapist for a year.

To find out how you can help to transform a life, please contact us on