Tuesday, 24 September 2013


September 2013  saw a defining moment for Fiona and Brian Sherret of Grampian Highland Resources Ltd, in their quest to raise awareness of the need for specialist Music Therapists in the Highlands and Islands.

The Centre for Health Science is a state of the art facility situated in the grounds of the Raigmore hospital Inverness and the ethos behind it, is to stimulate innovation and creativity in approaches to the understanding and treatment of medical health issues.  

On 11th September, Fiona and GHRL’s in-house Music Therapist Kristen Macleod, took part in a seminar for first and second year UHI Applied Music degree students, hosted by the CfHS and both women’s sharing of their individual journeys had a profound effect on the audience. Fiona recounted her and Brian’s passionate endeavour to provide their son, who was born with severe developmental delay, with a means of expression and communication via music - and to establish a Centre of Excellence for Music Therapy in the Highlands and Islands.  Fiona also spoke about GHRL’s  collaboration with the UHI’s Mark Sheridan and  the progress that has been made in raising the profile of music therapy through the inclusion of Health and Wellbeing modules in the Applied Music degree course.

Kristen described how, upon completing her Music Therapy Masters degree in Boston, she then went on to work with young victims of gang violence, specifically those with severe brain injuries due to gunshot wounds, explaining how regular music therapy focussed on the client’s individualised goals, yielded immensely successful and rewarding outcomes for both the clients and her as their therapist.

Kristen expressed her own sense of personal achievement at seeing the amazing potential of music therapy in action,  in the particular case of a teenager left wheelchair bound and unable to speak following a gunshot injury  “...suddenly, this little voice started to sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ - for someone who had been told she would never speak again - she’d made her first step, through music.”

On returning home to the Highlands and discovering a complete lack of available Music Therapy, despite the very apparent need for this resource, Kristen set up her own practice taking on a wide remit of clients whom she describes as  “from age two up to a hundred!” 

Kristen is now also an integral part of the GHRL Music Therapy team and looks forward to developing the ‘Making Music Special’ project to its fullest potential.

GHRL's Kristen Macleod, leading a
Making Music Special Workshop
Fiona, Brian and all involved in GHRL’s Music Therapy project were delighted by the evident enthusiasm sparked amongst the assembled students and for all present, the seminar in September was both thought-provoking and inspiring.  “Our commitment remains to discover innovative and productive ways to deliver Music Therapy to a range of users throughout the Highlands and Islands,”  Fiona said afterwards,  “and to encourage home-grown talent to invest their skills in a much needed valuable resource.”

For further information on the ‘Making Music Special’ project, contact  f.sherret@ghrl.co.uk

© J Harkiss jane.harkiss@btinternet.com

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