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Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA)
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


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.


My undergraduate research entitled “Music and Down’s Syndrome” was awarded the Principal’s Award at the RWCMD Graduation Ceremony 2009.

A more recent paper, entitled “Self Identity, Acquired Brain Injury and Music Therapy” was awarded the McMullen Disability Prize in 2014, recognising distinct and innovative work in the field of disability.

A Conference Report was published in Autumn 2015 in Approaches, an interdisciplinary journal for Music Therapy, entitled “Research and Practice: Right and Wrong – A Joint Conference for Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Arts Therapies”:

Pickard, B. (2015), ‘Conference report: “Research and Practice: Right and Wrong – A Joint Conference for Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Arts Therapies”’, Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, First View (Advance online publication), 1-6


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


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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