Music as medicine is something I've always believed in. It can heal the soul and much, much more. Music has been at the heart of my life since I was a kid - first listening to it and then getting to make it and seeing how it could change a mood, uplift a crowd and sooth an individual.
The sheer power of music and the way it can affect people in such a positive way is never better demonstrated than when you watch the therapists from the charity Nordoff Robbins at work.
The charity uses the power of music to treat children and adults with all kinds of difficulties ranging from autism to dementia and they have been transforming lives for decades. The techniques created by the founders Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins can be a way of communicating for those who have trouble doing so and it has proved to have many benefits both physical and mental.
Wet Wet Wet has been involved with Nordoff Robbins for over 25 years and last month we performed a gig in London to mark the 40th birthday of the charity. In 1988 we had the honour of receiving a Silver Clef award from the charity and in 1992 we performed a gig at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for a new library. This was opened the following year and happily still serves the charity today.
Before the recent gig we visited the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London to catch up on the amazing work they do and also watch a therapy session taking place. It never ceases to blow me away when I watch the therapists in action. You see the way they use music to open up people who have been locked away from the world by their difficulties. It is such a simple technique to a degree but what it achieves is truly staggering.
The session we attended was with an eleven-year-old boy named Romano who has autism. The therapist began to play the piano and Romano accompanied him on the drums, beating out a rhythm and clearly hugely enjoying himself.
The music was really touching him and that was a wonderful thing to watch. After a while we were asked to get involved and so the band took up some instruments and played an acoustic version of Love Is All Around, which seemed like the right track to choose. Romano dueted with me and it was a really moving moment as once again I saw just why Nordoff Robbins is so important and is a charity we'll always support. Music is written using keys and Nordoff Robbins is the locksmith that has the power to open up the individual... love to love.