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MusicSpace provides a music therapy service to patients at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Our music therapists Karen and Claire work with children of all ages, from babies on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit through to teenagers on the adolescent ward. Together, they deliver music therapy to babies, children and young people five days a week.

Music can be useful for all patients during their stay but music therapy is particularly helpful for children who are non-verbal or pre-verbal and for those who are struggling emotionally with a long stay in hospital. 

Referrals are generally made for our therapists to work with:

  • Patients on the oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant wards – reducing patients’ isolation and helping them process the challenges of their treatment plan
  • Patients undergoing neurological rehabilitation – supporting patients to regain emotional and physical skills following a head or brain injury
  • Children with a disability – helping them manage their hospital stay
  • Babies in NICU or BRHC who have long term admissions – supporting attachment and early development


Our Therapists visit children on the wards with a guitar, ukuleles and a trolley of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. Sessions usually take place by the bedside and can include a range of activities from playing on instruments, listening to music, song writing, exploration of emotions through music or ukulele sessions. They work with each child individually and will use music to support that child and their family through their stay.

Group sessions are run on some wards in the communal spaces, where patients (and their families) can join in with making sounds and playing instruments to support socialisation and reduce isolation after a period of illness. This can also be an opportunity to meet other children and families and share their feelings about being in hospital through musical conversations and verbal reflections.

Our thanks to The Grand Appeal who have funded music therapy at the Children’s Hospital since 2003.

What families have said:

"My daughter enjoys and looks forward to the music sessions where she is making positive movement improvements enhanced by the music therapist."
A mum of a patient on the paediatric medical ward
"Very important part of our stay, especially in isolation as we’re not allowed in the play rooms."
Parent of a child on a high dependency unit
"Thank you so much for supporting us and taking so much trouble to help us in music therapy. We really enjoyed it and it did make a big difference to our well-being in general."
A mum of a 21 year old leukaemia patient

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