The first students to graduate from a North East music therapy centre have received a special message from the superstar who launched them on their journey.
The 10-strong group successfully completed the two-year Master of Music Therapy programme at the Nordoff Robbins centre, Jesmond, Newcastle – officially opened by music legend Sting three years ago.
Having continued with their studies and placements throughout the pandemic, all 10 of the students have secured jobs, eight with Nordoff Robbins in the North East and further afield.
And the Wallsend-born star – and former teacher – was among the first to congratulate them.
“Huge congratulations to the very first 10 graduates of Masters in Music Therapy from the Newcastle-based Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre, funded by the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation,” said Sting.
“And to hear they all have placements in the area shows how important music therapy is.
“It’s wonderful to see how the centre has flourished since I had the pleasure to open it in March 2018,” he said.
“I hope it continues to grow and help more young people – because I, for one, know how music changes lives.”
The centre – where therapists use music to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged children – is the first of its kind outside London and the Nordoff Robbins graduate programme is internationally recognised.
Graduate Kim Saul, 27, from Newcastle, said: “It’s great to be working as a newly qualified music therapist.
“It has felt like a long road to get here with studying through the pandemic, but I’m grateful the scheme was able to go ahead and I’m excited to get started and make music with loads of new and unique individuals.”
Sir Graham Wylie, whose Foundation also built the centre, said the students’ success is “proof, if proof were needed” of its value.
“It’s an asset to the region and we would like to congratulate each of the graduate students and wish them every success as they embark on the next, exciting stage of their lives.”
Dr Simon Procter, Director of Music Services for Nordoff Robbins, which is the UK’s largest music therapy charity, said: “We are so grateful to Sting and to the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation for their ongoing support of our work in the North East and the opening of our training base for musicians wishing to train as music therapists is a huge part of this.
“We’re also very proud of our new Masters of Music Therapy graduates who are now going on to provide more music therapy than ever before to some of the most vulnerable and isolated members in our communities.
“We’re committed to growing access to our services in the North East in the coming years and we love our home in Jesmond.”
For more information on the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation and its work, visit www.sirgrahamwyliefoundation.org.uk