Certificate in Song Therapy

Online study

Course Outline

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Thank you for your interest in song therapy.

Not a day goes by without more news highlighting the power of music to brighten our lives. More and more of us are turning to recreational singing and music groups; not only to share the social pleasure of song, melody and rhythm with others around us, but for some to address very specific health challenges in their lives.

For those of us responsible for coordinating and delivering these music groups there is a rich tradition of learning. Community music at under graduate and post graduate level and the health care profession of music therapy at post graduate level too.

However, there is in the uk, a very established tradition of informal music making in the community and social care settings, often delivered by talented singers and musicians who might not be in a position to study at university for many different reasons. It is with these people in mind that we have developed our song therapy course.

Beyond this there are music and arts teachers, therapists, activity coordinators and others who might be looking for opportunities to broaden their own understanding of how music can be used most effectively to promote the well being of their students and clients.

Why study certificate in song therapy ?

Song therapy training offers a rich and very broad learning opportunity to music group leaders who might like to widen their skills beyond their natural musical making abilities.

Further, our course offers industry recognised accreditation that provides important reassurance for your music group participants. This means that for those who complete the enhanced certificate option it confirms that as a certified song therapist; you are working to a professional code of conduct; you have the necessary public liability insurance in place; that you are dbs checked and are aware of current legislation and the specific requirements of professional practice that relate to your music programmes.

Beyond this our qualification confirms that you have completed a comprehensive programme of study; exploring the many ways that music might be used therapeutically to promote well being, relaxation and good health. Finally it is confirms that the quality of your music making and human skills have been verified independently.

Holistic education

It is very important to say that our song therapy course is rooted in the holistic education tradition. This means that we embed our study of music as medicine within a whole of life exploration. We acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of our mind, our body and our soul to the quality of our social and professional interactions with others in our lives, including those with whom we share our music.

Ultimately it is this holistic framework to our study that supports the growth of our therapeutic skills beyond our natural music making abilities. Particularly so in the area of human relationships.

So, this approach allows us to explore, without apology, the scientific and objective evidence that lies behind our interest, but beyond this, to place this exploration within the context of our own life’s journey, what matters to us individually and how we make sense of the world around us and important people and events in our lives.

Course Outline

This is a flexible e-learning course, delivered online over ten to twelve months. One module per month but you can take up to two and a half years to complete the course if required. You can start the course in January, April or September and study at your own pace to fit in with other commitments in your life.

Our training celebrates a profound truth perhaps, that the impact of any therapeutic intervention is ultimately determined by the way we perceive and consider the needs of others and indeed the needs of ourselves. It is the quality of these relationships, with ourselves and with others, that lies at the very heart of our exploration.

We explore in a very practical way music as a language, music as a friend and music as medicine. We discover the very particular practical ways that we can use our music to help others who might be facing specific health challenges in their lives.

A hundred years of invaluable research has established clear links between music, relaxation, good health and well being. As a result many people nowadays are turning to informal singing and music groups to help them face up to particular health challenges in their lives; social isolation, anxiety, depression, learning disability, neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, dementia, parkinson’s disease, autism, stroke and brain injury, these are all examples but there are many more.

Informal singing and music groups offer very specific therapeutic benefits to their participants by; encouraging positive mood, social inclusion, acceptance and self worth; bringing people together in inclusive singing and music making groups; using music as medicine to aid verbal and physical rehabilitation (stroke and brain injury) or to relieve and delay some symptoms of life limiting neurological challenges such as dementia, parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis; using music as a language, helping communication for those unable to indicate preference and encouraging self expression through song writing and music improvisation; promoting physical exercise through movement and dance; coordination and motor skills; stimulating cognition; reminiscence; concentration and learning; music as a diversion to rest the mind of dark thoughts or physical pain; music as recreation to fill leisure time with enjoyable, fulfilling and creative activity encouraging relaxation, social interaction and communication.

Our course looks at self awareness in depth, a subject that is at the heart of leadership training in all walks of life including the arts. How we think about ourselves and the world around us profoundly affects the quality of our relationships with others, including those with whom we share our music.

On the same theme we introduce developmental psychology; theories of childhood development and the influence of survival theory; shining a light upon the profound effect that the experience of life’s journey has on the way we think and react to others; group dynamics too and why we might act differently when working in groups.

We promote the importance of self care and the responsibility we have to look after ourselves properly if we are ever to maximize the potential impact of our music on others.

We look at the physics of sound, harmonics and resonance and use this as a key to understanding why certain types of music are so suited to sharing with others depending on the health challenges they might be facing.

We drift into the world of neuroscience and the chemistry of the brain and how some of our behaviours, feelings, and thoughts are rooted in the mystery of our minds and the tapestry of our life’s journey. We take a brief look at emotion theory and consider the importance of emotions as a factor in the way we think and behave and as a possible measure of our well being.

We enjoy regular gentle diversions into philosophy and suggest that there are certain philosophical traditions that we might adopt as an ethical foundation to our work, providing us with principles that we can depend on when times get hard.

We explore person centred thinking through the prism of the person centred counselling tradition and suggest that we can learn from their values of empathy, positive regard and honesty, rooted in the philosophical traditions of humanism and the tao.

Finally, given that music is such a powerful force in people’s lives we flag some of the potential dangers too, and make a very clear distinction between song therapy and music therapy, an important line that we draw at the very beginning of our study.

Indeed the whole area of professional practice and the responsibilities we have to those with whom we share our music is one of the corner stones of our study programme.

Please note that for those who wish to register as certified song therapists, we offer an enhanced certificate option that requires the submission of video evidence of your practical work in the community. Further information on this is provided in the introduction to the first module.

Course structure

Part One : Human Relationships

Module One : Introduction : First steps

Module Two : Human skills : Awareness of the outside

Module Three : Human skills : Awareness of the inside

Module Four : Human skills : Acceptance

Part Two : The therapeutic use of recreational music making

Module Five : Practice : Music and survival

Module Six : Practice : Music and language

Module Seven : Practice : Music and medicine

Module Eight : Theory : Music and self worth

Part Three : Professional Practice

Module Nine : Professional practice

Module Ten : Conclusion

Complementary therapies

Song therapy is a complementary therapy and definitions vary as to exactly what it is that defines a complementary therapy. This does cause understandable confusion and so we quote from a few organisations here to give some range of opinions as to what a complementary therapy might offer.

‘Complementary and alternative treatments are health-related treatments which are not part of mainstream medical care. They are thought to increase well being, aid relaxation and promote good mental health.’ (Rethink Mental Illness)

‘Complementary therapies are used alongside, or in addition to, conventional medical treatments. They do not claim to cure cancer. People use them to boost their physical or emotional health or to relieve symptoms or side effects. Some have been scientifically tested to check how effective and safe they are.’ (Macmillans Cancer Support)

‘Complementary therapies can be used alongside your usual medical treatment … [they] tend to take a more holistic approach. So, they aim to treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit – rather than just the symptoms … there are many reasons why people may use complementary therapies alongside prescribed medication, including: they feel conventional medicine isn’t controlling their symptoms; they view complementary therapy as a way of taking control of their own health; they enjoy the social aspect of having group therapy sessions, such as yoga classes, or they see it as a way of having time to themselves; they find complementary therapies relaxing. This can be very useful as stress can make Parkinson’s symptoms worse.’ (Parkinsons UK)

‘A complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment. It may help you to feel better and cope better with your cancer and treatment.’ (Cancer Research UK)

Perhaps it is reassuring to know that there is a wealth of scientific evidence to support the positive therapeutic impact of music and it is this research that forms the backbone of our song therapy training.

Industry accreditation

Song therapy training is a new, innovative approach to recognising and exploring the therapeutic impact of music in informal, non-clinical settings.

The course is designed and delivered by Moorvale Creative CIC, a not for profit community interest company based in the south west. As of July 2018 our song therapy course now offers professional industry accreditation through CHP (Complementary Health Professionals).

CHP accredits and promotes a wide range of well being and complementary health courses and training organisations. It is allied to the CNHC the government funded standards council that promotes safe and responsible complementary health care practice. Industry accreditation through CHP ensures your qualification is of real value in the workplace as we promote song therapy throughout the uk over the coming months and years. It also offers a range of practical benefits including discounted insurance, an annual general meeting to attend, workshops, discounted training, a quarterly therapist magazine. Most importantly it offers a sense of professional connection to other responsibly minded professionals offering complementary therapies of many different kinds to promote well being and good health.


Tuition fees for the certificate in song therapy course are £400 and are paid monthly in arrears (£40 per month over ten months). The costs are currently the same for both the certificate qualification and the enhanced certificate qualification. Students are welcome to read through the first module without obligation before deciding to commit. Once enrolled we ask for stage payments of £40 per month over the first ten months of your study. If you decide to withdraw from the course at any stage any tuition fees paid up to that point are non refundable. Please remember that whilst we ask you to pay for the course over the first ten months of your study, you are welcome to take up to thirty six months to complete the course if you wish to.

Our own lives

Certainly this is an opportunity to learn about the wonder of music as medicine. However it is also a chance to step back and give yourself a little time to explore your own needs and what is important to you in your own life. As we will discover this is a very interesting part of the journey.

If you would like to look through the first module, without obligation, and free of charge, please email us now.

Thank you for your interest.

Nigel Neill - Course Facilitator




Moorvale Creative CIC

Song Therapy is a training programme offered by Moorvale Creative CIC. This is a not for profit community interest company that promotes music and other creative projects in the south west and further afield.

Equality and Diversity

Moorvale Creative CIC values diversity and we recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture, and that this difference brings great strength.

We believe that discrimination or exclusion based on individual characteristics and circumstances, such as age; disability; caring or dependency responsibilities; gender or gender identity; marriage and civil partnership status; political opinion; pregnancy and maternity; race, colour, caste, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; social and economic background; trade union membership status or other distinctions, represents a waste of talent and a denial of opportunity for self-fulfilment.

We recognise that patterns of under-representation and differences can be challenged through positive action programmes.

We respect the rights of individuals, including the right to hold different views and beliefs. We will not allow these differences to be manifested in a way that is hostile or degrading to others.

We expect commitment and involvement from all our staff, students, partners and providers of goods and services in working towards the achievement of these goals.

Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy

Moorvale Creative CIC’s Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy seeks to manage effectively the risks associated with activities and events involving vulnerable adults that students may be involved in.

Completing a risk assessment process which involves identifying risks and means of reducing or eliminating these

Implementing the required actions identified by the risk assessment process and reviewing the effectiveness of these on a regular basis.

Ensuring that the appropriate DBS or basic disclosure checks are conducted, depending on eligibility, for any individuals starting or moving into work which involves working with vulnerable adults.

Requiring students working with vulnerable adults to familiarise themselves with the content of this policy.

About the course facilitator

Nigel Neill is a professional community musician based in the south west running four community choirs in Taunton, Exeter, Minehead and Tiverton. He has worked extensively with learning disability groups and in life limiting care settings as well as providing on going music programmes for the brain injury charity Headway throughout Somerset, working with Parkinsons UK in North and West Somerset and providing music for those with dementia in residential home settings. He has worked closely with the mental health charity Rethink.

Nigel has developed this course in partnership with Moorvale Creative CIC, a not for profit community interest company promoting music and creative programmes that encourage social inclusion and well being. His qualifications include a combined science honours degree; post graduate certificate in music and health (UWE) and certificate (level four) in counselling skills (UWE).

Nigel spent four years running a school of sound engineering in the noughties and has taught sound engineering and music and song composition at Peterborough Regional College in the nineties. He recently studied music therapy for two years in Bristol, before switching to counselling skills for a third year. His professional background is music performance, recording, composition and song writing; composing original instrumental music for bbc television and recording many established artists.

Nigel is married with no children and is 58 years old.

He lives in West Somerset.