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Helen lifelong leader for Music Therapy

Published: 9 December 2020 at 12:46

Professor Helen Odell-Miller

CIMTR Director continues profile-raising with Guardian article

As well as being a clinician, researcher, teacher, and Director of our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, Professor Helen Odell-Miller has long been an ambassador for music therapy worldwide - a commitment that was deservedly recognised in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List, when she was awarded an OBE.

In 1994, Helen co-founded our MA Music Therapy degree, and also led the celebrations for its 25th anniversary in October 2019.

Most recently, she was interviewed about the power of music therapy for a Guardian article about the wife of former newsreader John Suchet, whose struggle with dementia was significantly aided by listening to music. Helen said: "We know that music is calming, but it can also contribute to how people relate to each other. Staff in care homes can embed music in their daily care - if it's difficult to get someone dressed, music can help... Music can be a way of interacting when language is gone."

Throughout her career, Helen has worked tirelessly to strengthen music therapy both nationally, being a member of the Commission on Music and Dementia that reported to the House of Lords, and globally, raising the profile and supporting its teaching in areas including Asia and the Netherlands.

She has been a key member of several research projects, including international EU/Alzheimer’s Society project HOMESIDE, (a randomized control trial for home-based music therapy, for people with dementia and their family carer); the Marbrook Centre Partnership; and the Methodist Homes for the Aged partnership.

Helen has also published many journal articles, presented at numerous conferences, and continued to raise the profile of music therapy in the national press, such as her 2015 article in the Guardian.

Whether teaching on our MA, supervising PhD students, or performing clinical work, Helen has always been a true ambassador for music therapy, and a shining beacon of the important research conducted both at CIMTR and ARU.