Dame Evelyn Glennie shines a light on how music therapy benefits children and families in new podcast about EACH

April 1, 2021

A child supported by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has enjoyed a very special music session, as part of a podcast by premier solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

Oliver Thomas, 13, who lives near Manningtree with parents Bryn and Angela, features in the final episode of series three of The Evelyn Glennie Podcast, now available online.

The podcast explores the difference EACH continues to make to hundreds of families throughout the pandemic, with Chief Executive Phil Gormley discussing how the charity has adapted, and particularly focuses on the effects of music therapy. As part of it, Oliver listens and plays along to a song by EACH Music Therapist Ray Travasso. Evelyn, who is world renowned having picked up over 100 international awards, also joins in.

Evelyn, who has a studio in Huntingdon, said: “I was so thrilled when EACH agreed to participate in The Evelyn Glennie Podcast. Their work is all about building bridges, actively listening and making a difference. The highlight was meeting 13-year-old Oliver Thomas who gave me a jolly good lesson on how to play the sleigh bells!”

Oliver lives with severe mental and physical disabilities resulting from a rare chromosomal abnormality. He needs help with all aspects of everyday life, plus various medications and therapies. He has received care from EACH for five years.

Bryn said: “We had no respite until EACH stepped in to help. Oliver has attended day care at The Treehouse and we attend as many EACH events as possible.

“Obviously over the past 12 months we haven’t been able to access any in-house help from EACH because of shielding, but the online music therapy sessions with Ray and similar sessions with Oliver’s school, Shorefields, have been welcome.

“Oliver has not been to school for a year now, so the interaction he gets in the online sessions is needed. Angela and I also enjoy these gatherings as any contact with others is very valuable at this time.”

Ray trained in London, graduating with a Masters in music therapy in 2002. As well as working for EACH, he is director and cofounder of Suffolk Music Therapy Services, overseeing the delivery of music therapy to over 60 organisations across the region.

He said: “Oliver’s got that amazing innate response to music that we all have. We can’t take away the pain, we can’t fix things, but we can ease a lot of that.”

The Evelyn Glennie Podcast aims to discover how listening impacts on people’s sense of wellbeing, mental and physical health, relationships, communication and understanding, creativity and decision-making. Listen online at https://shows.acast.com/the-evelyn-glennie-podcast/episodes/ep20-east-anglias-childrens-hospice-each or via your normal podcast provider.

A special video clip of the recording has also been released and is available to view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEZL6g-c16g.