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The Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Trust

Angels has, for many years, enjoyed working with the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Trust.  We have included this overview of Nordoff-Robbins on our web site to promote knowledge and understanding of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Trust and the work that it does. It makes a valuable contribution to young people through the use of music as a therapy for a whole range of illnesses and disabilities.

This charitable organisation, started in the USA through pioneering work in the 1950s and 1960s by Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins, is grounded in the belief that everyone can respond to music, no matter how ill or disabled. The unique qualities of music as therapy can enhance communication, support change, and enable people to live more resourcefully and creatively. Throughout the UK, Nordoff-Robbins music therapists use the power of music to reach hundreds of people cut off from the richness of life's experiences. They work with a wide range of people in need, including:

  • children and adults with life-threatening illnesses

  • children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders

  • people recovering from stroke or other brain damage

  • children and adults with learning difficulties

  • children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse

  • refugees traumatised by war, terrorism or poverty

Music therapy is a creative therapy using musical improvisation to form a therapeutic relationship. Recipients need no previous musical experience.

All music therapists are registered with the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine. This is a statutory body which ensures high standards of practice.

At the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in North London, a converted listed building, over 200 children and adults receive music therapy weekly. Up to six students each year train on the Centre's two-year Training Course, leading to the Master in Music Therapy degree. The Centre also houses a library and Research facilities open to professionals and researchers.

For Information on
The Silver Clef
and the
Silver Clef Awards

For Information on
Music Therapy

As a charitable organisation, Nordoff-Robbins relies heavily on contributions and donations to carry out its work.  To achieve this, Nordoff-Robbins drives many fundraising events throughout the year.  As it is closely aligned with the entertainment industry, Nordoff-Robbins also gets considerable help from the music business. There are a hard core of musicians and record industry luminaries that have supported Music Therapy for years. As a result, Nordoff-Robbins introduced the Silver Clef Awards as a reciprocal gesture to the industry which has given so much to help the work for severely disabled children. Now, over thirty years later, the Lunch is the biggest fund raising event in the Nordoff-Robbins calendar and has become the music business charity lunch of the year. The Silver Clef Awards luncheon is attended by over 800 guests and hosted by the fund raising committee to recognise artists' achievements in the music industry.

The Patrons of Silver Clef include Brian Bennett, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Def Leppard, Dire Straits, Sir Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Jay Kay, M People, Hank Marvin, Brian May, George Michael, Pink Floyd, Marti Pellow, Sir Cliff Richard OBE, Keith Richards, Mike Rutherford, Status Quo, Sting, Rod Stewart and Bill Wyman.

The very first Silver Clef Lunch was held in June 1976 at the Inn on the Park attended by 278 guests and The Who were the winners of the Silver Clef Award.  Previous winner have included the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Michael, Sting, M People, Tom Jones, Dido and Atomic Kitten.  Over the years a number of awards have been added including an International Award, a Best New Artists Award and the
Stuart McAllister Special Achievement Award who's previous winners have included The Bee Gees, Sir George Martin, Chris Barber, Bacharach & David, Leiber & Stoller, Lulu and U2.  The awards are hosted by music industry veteran Nick Stewart (aka "Captain America" on Virgin Radio).

The auction is a key element of the Silver Clef Awards lunch.  Nick has a great reputation as an auctioneer at these sorts of events having raised, for example, over 1,000,000 in 30 minutes at Sir Elton John's White Tie and Tiaras Ball in 2003. Many items have been sold for the benefit of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy including more recently Michael Owen's signed football shirt for 21,000, a Jimi Hendrix guitar for 8,000 and a painting of John Lennon for 23,000.  Overall, a single Silver Clef Awards lunch can raise more than 300,000 for the Music Therapy Trust.

Nordoff-Robbins also holds a number of other events throughout the year to raise money for Music Therapy.  These have included:

  • Six Nations Rugby Championship Dinner organised by Richard Izard and Victor Obogu. The event raises over 40,000.

  • The HMV Football Extravaganza organised by Brian McLaughlin and his team at HMV. Distinguished guests have included Tony Adams, Trevor Brooking, Alan Ball and Graham Taylor.

  • Christmas Carol Service organised by the Carol Service Committee held at St Luke's Church, Chelsea. Among guests reading and performing have been Rory Bremner and Will Young.

  • The Women of the Year Awards for the music industry and related media held at the Intercontinental Hotel. The star-studded dinner that raises over 30,000 for Nordoff-Robbins and the Brit Trust.

  • The Music Industry Trust Dinner held at the Grosvenor House Hotel. The glittering charity dinner was enjoyed by over 1,000 guests.

  • The Pepsi Silver Clef Concert featuring Britain's top acts which included, in 2003, Blue, Atomic Kitten, Emma, Mis-teeq, Liberty X, Craig David, Girls Aloud, Javine, Big Brovaz and Busted all generously gave their time for a very special Silver Clef event.

On a personal note, Angels has enjoyed working with Nordoff-Robbins for over 15 years and has donated hospitality staff to help with the raffle and auction spotting at the Silver Clef Awards in London. Angels has also provided hospitality staff for a number of other Nordoff-Robbins fundraising events throughout the year including the Sandown Park Raceday. Working with Audrey Balfour and Linda McLean, Angels has established a very fulfilling role within the charity and looks forward to a continued association with this very special organisation.

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