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Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT)
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (SFHEA)
MA Music Therapy, UWE
PGCert Developing Professional Practice in Higher Education, USW
MSc in Applied Psychology of Intellectual Disabilities, University of Portsmouth
BMus(Hons), Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
DipABRSM with Distinction, Instrumental Teaching
Accredited Sign Along Tutor Trainer
Community Music Wales Tutor
Little Amber Practitioner, Amber Trust


I work as Course Leader and Senior Lecturer on the BA in Creative and Therapeutic Arts; leading the Music Pathway and also the Academic Skills for Inclusive Practice, Professional Practice (1) and Independent Study modules. Additionally I provide accredited SignAlong training to our students and those on other courses at times. I also teach on the MA Music Therapy and the BA Education LNA.


I am a HCPC registered music therapist, having trained under Professor Leslie Bunt at the University of the West of England. My clinical placements have been working with children with physical and intellectual disabilities in a special education provision, adults with acquired brain injuries in a Community Brain Injury Team at a Neurorehabilitation Unit, and with young men aged 16-19 in post-compulsory education who have profound Autism and some challenging behaviour. My specialism and particular clinical interest is working with clients with learning disabilities and PMLD, developing a Social Model of Disability approach to music therapy.

Before embarking upon my post at the university, I had many diverse but interelated roles. Working in mainstream primary education provided the opportunity to develop my understanding of inclusive practice and the educational, social and emotional support needs of children with additional learning needs.

Working as a support worker, citizen’s advocate and respite carer in the community provided opportunities to meet many wonderful individuals and learn a little more about their lives. Empowerment, autonomy and self-advocacy are themes which emerged from these experienced and were further explored in my MSc.

Another aspect of my work which informed my MSc was teaching music to children and young people with additional learning needs and other disabilities. Developing alternative notation systems to complement specific learning profiles formed the basis of my research. This work organically evolved to aspire an interest in more therapeutic practice, which led me to the MA in Music Therapy.


At USW, I am Course Leader for the BA in Creative and Therapeutic Arts, as well as being Module Leader for Music, Academic Skills in Inclusive Practice, Professional Practice (1) and Independent Study modules.

I have thoroughly enjoyed presenting guest lectures on the BA Education course, on the subjects of Down’s Syndrome, Inclusive Education and Sign Supported Communication; as well as more regular teaching of the Welsh language.

Teaching on the MA Music Therapy includes focuses on music skills, neurorehabilitation, autism and neurodiversity, and research, including dissertation supervision.

I also offer accredited Sign Along training to students on the BA Creative and Therapeutic Arts and BA Education courses.


Coombes, E & Pickard, B 2017, ‘Research Into Practice – Exploring How Personal Interests Can Shape Practitioner Identity’ British Association for Music Therapy Conference 2018, London, United Kingdom, 16/02/18 – 18/02/18, .

Coombes, E & Pickard, B. 2018, ‘Let Your Passion Be Your Purpose’ Nordic Music Therapy Congress, Stockholm, Sweden, 7/08/18 – 12/08/18

Pickard, B. 2009, ‘Music and Down’s Syndrome’, RWCMD Unpublished Dissertation – Awarded the Principal’s Award – Referenced on the ‘Melody’ website and cited in Prater, S. (2016), Hey, Bub!: Two Brothers and a Chromosome to Spare, Victoria, Canada: Friesen Press

Pickard, B. 2014, ‘Self-Identity, Neurodisability and Music Therapy’, UWE Unpublished Essay – Awarded the McMullen Disability Prize

Pickard, B 2015, ‘Research and Practice: Right and Wrong: A Joint Conference for Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Arts Therapies’ Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, pp. 1-6.

Pickard, B 2016, ‘Microanalysis of an Extract of a Non-Directive Music Therapy Session Captures the Perceived Moment of Change’, for Royal Society of Medicine and Live Music Now Conference ‘Examining the Utility of Music Interventions for Children with Learning Disabilities’. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.14585.98402

Pickard, B 2017, ‘Conference Report: Examining the utility of music interventions for children with learning disabilities’ Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, pp. 1-11.

Pickard, B 2018, Valuing Neurodiversity: A humanistic, non-normative model of music therapy exploring Rogers’ Person-centred Approach with young adults with autism spectrum conditions . in E Coombes, H Dunn, E Maclean, H Mottram & J Nugent (eds), A Spectrum of Approaches: Music Therapy and Autism Across the Lifespan. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London

Pickard, B 2018a, ‘Inclusive Practice and Sign Supported Communication’ Paper presented at HAMK International Wellbeing Week, Hämeenlinna , Finland, 19/02/18 – 23/03/18

Pickard, B 2018b, ‘Applying the ArtWorks Cymru Quality Principles in Practice and in Education: From Planning to Delivery to Evaluation’, Sounding Board: The Journal of Community Music, 08 March

Pickard, B 2018c, ‘The Challenges and Opportunities of Innovating a Higher Education Curriculum in Creative and Therapeutic Arts’ Paper presented at New Perspectives in Participatory Arts, Norwich, United Kingdom, 22/05/18 – 23/05/18, .

Pickard, B 2018d, ‘A Holistic, Humanistic Perspective on Music Therapy: Integrating Carl Rogers’ Person-Centred Approach’ Nordic Music Therapy Congress, Stockholm, Sweden, 7/08/18 – 12/08/18

Pickard, B & Romppanen, M 2018, ‘Conference Reflection: HAMK International Wellbeing Week and a Chance Meeting with a Fellow Music Therapist’, Leading Note: The Magazine of the British Journal of Music Therapists (BAMT), 21 March.

Conference Presentations

Pickard, B. (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014), ‘Introduction to Sign Supported Communication in Inclusive Education’, ‘Music as a Communicative Device’ and ‘Supporting Children with Down’s Syndrome in Mainstream Education’, USW Education and Early Years ‘Achieving Inclusion’ Conferences

Pickard, B. (2017), ‘Personal Academic Coaching, Student Experience Plan’, USW Learning and Teaching Conference

Pickard, B. (2015), ‘Professional Engagement Through an Inclusive Community Theatre Project’, USW Learning and Teaching Conference

Pickard, B. (2014), ‘Understanding the Learning Profile of Children with Down’s Syndrome’, UWE Building Understandings: Child, Youth and Disability Conference Pickard, B. (2014), ‘Supporting Children with Down’s Syndrome in Inclusive Mainstream Education’, Access All Areas Inclusive Education Conference, Cardiff Pickard, B. (2013), ‘The Learning Profile, a Recipe for Success: Supporting Children with Down’s Syndrome in Inclusive Mainstream Education’, 21Plus Support Group Inclusive Education Conference, Monmouth


HCPC Registered Music Therapist
BAMT Member
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (SFHEA)


Since working in mainstream inclusive education, it has been a privilege to share some of this experience at Education Conferences, such as 21 Plus Support Group for families of children with Down’s Syndrome’s Education Conference, Cardiff County Council’s ‘Access All Areas’ Inclusive Education Event, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Child, Youth, Family and Disability Event, as well as visiting local schools on a consultancy basis.


My undergraduate research project reviewed literature to date in the field of “Music and Down’s Syndrome” before embarking upon original research exploring musical provision and experiences of children and adults with Down’s syndrome. A wide range of opportunities were shared, from private instrumental tuition to inclusive community music groups to specific music therapy groups.

Since writing this research, and receiving the Principal’s Award at RWCMD Graduation Ceremony, 2009; it has been a privilege to share this work at a research seminar at Glasgow Caledonian University and at joint event for the Down’s Syndrome Association and the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The research for my MSc focused on the experience of working in music with a young man who had a visual impairment and an intellectual disability. This detailed case study reviewed one year of music tuition, employing Professor Adam Ockelford’s fascinating ‘Sounds of Intent’ framework.

Both pieces of research are available on the website of the Birmingham based charity ‘Melody’, of which I am a trustee. ‘Melody’ promotes provision of instrumental tuition for individuals who have a learning disability.

My research paper ‘Self Identity, Acquired Brain Injury and Music Therapy’, which was awarded the McMullen Disability Prize in 2014 was the result of a music therapy placement, working in the Neurorehabilitation Unit of a local hospital, as well as with patients in the community. Applying Social Model of Disability thinking to a medical model of practice was an enjoyable challenge.

Areas of Expertise

My research interests lie in Music Therapy, Inclusive Practice and Disability Studies, however my professional work in other fields are more diverse. Inclusive education is a field in which I am passionate and enjoy speaking, as well as sign supported communication and disability awareness.



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