Bristol Children’s Hospital


MusicSpace provides a music therapy service to patients at Bristol Children’s Hospital. Our music therapists Karen and Claire work with children of all ages, from babies on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to older teenagers on the Teenage and Young Adult oncology ward. Together, they deliver music therapy to children six days a week, seeing over 30 children weekly.

Karen and Claire visit children on the wards with a guitar, ukulele and a trolley of instruments. Sessions take place by the bedside and can include a range of activities from songwriting and sound effects, to rhythmic drumming and ukulele sessions. They work with each child individually and will use music to support that child and their family through their stay.

Karen and Claire also run group sessions in the ward playrooms, where children can join in with making sounds and playing instruments. 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.

Music Therapy is particularly helpful for children who are non-verbal and pre-verbal, and for those who are struggling emotionally with a long stay in hospital. Karen and Claire focus in particular on working 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

 ‘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 ward 30)

‘Very important part of our stay, especially in isolation as we’re not allowed in the play rooms’ (parent of a HDU patient on ward 33a)

Our thanks to the Grand Appeal who fund music therapy at the Children’s Hospital.