Polly Bowler has tutored chamber courses at Benslow Music for over 10 years and now brings her expertise to this course which offers insight into the allied healthcare profession of music therapy. A mixture of talks, experiential groups and practical workshops will aid participants’ understanding of music therapy; its history; the theories that underpin it; the people it helps; and of improvisation, its predominant, musical tool. The exploration of improvisation will potentially offer participants a fresh approach to their instrumental playing as so many musicians feel safest with a sheet of music in front of them. Participants will need their own instruments. Some small percussion will also be available. Please note that the course is not providing participants with therapy, nor does it qualify participants to provide therapy as qualification requires training.

Resident: £280 Non-Resident: £205 Code: 19/267

What previous participants say (2018): 

A good mixture of theory and practical activities; a supportive course tutor and interesting visiting speakers.

This course gives you a good overview of what music therapy is about, introduces a new approach to improvising and you can get a flavour of what it is like to work as a music therapist.

The course is a good introduction to music therapy, working with adults and children for whom the main pleasurable communication is through music. Be prepared to use improvisation methods to respond to stimuli some of which are very restricted and require imaginative interpretation. 

Very insightful with lots of examples, and a good balance of theory and practical.

A lively introduction to the history of music therapy and its philosophical/psychological background. The course included active participation to demonstrate and explore the importance of improvisation, and many vivid video examples of music therapy in action.


BMILS building – exciting news:

  • Visitors to Benslow Music are alerted to work on a new building for the Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme (BMILS), due to start on 23 April 2019.
  • Our normal activity (courses, concerts, events, Bed & Breakfast, visits to the Loan Scheme) will continue as scheduled during the construction period.
  • The building, sympathetically designed by Jon Read of Pentangle Design Group, Hitchin, is to provide specialist storage for the BMILS collection of quality instruments while not on loan, more spacious administration and reception space, a generous workshop for our in-house luthier, and a trial room.
  • The new building is to be located between Fieldfares and the beehives.
  • Access to Fieldfares from Benslow Music will remain as it is currently, via the main drive (or beside Waldeck) to the front door.
  • Construction workers (from the family firm of D B Sharp and Sons, Letchworth) will enter from the gateway to Benslow Lane close to Fieldfares and cross the current drive direct to the building site from beside the Fieldfares garage. This vehicle movement will be carefully managed. The site will be securely fenced, allowing for egress from all doors to Fieldfares.
  • Work is expected to last until late October 2019, taking place on weekdays between 8am and 4pm. There will inevitably be some noise but disruption will be kept to a minimum. We anticipate very little restriction to existing car parking arrangements (but please continue to park sensitively).
  • We trust that this will not have an adverse effect on your stay. Thank you for your understanding.