Journal (Media) Club

#OTalk Journal / Media Club – 4th March 2014

Journal [Media] Club 

Date:   04/03/2014  Host: @eileenhegarty7

Blog Post  –  Transcript

Thank you to Eileen Hagarty (@eileenhegarty7) for volunteering to host March’s #OTalk Journal / Media Club.

March will be the first time that the media aspect of the club had been embraced and we hope you enjoy it!

The Great British Paraorchestra (Hickson, 2012) – considering Music as an Occupation

No matter how ill you are or disabled you are, music is always there. It’s a solid rock.”Charlotte White, The Great British Paraorchestra.”A recent study found that music was 44% likely to be present during any 2-hour period in daily living.”  Craig, 2008, p.87For March’s Journal Club, I’m bringing the Media aspect of the Media/Journal Club to the fore as I propose that we discuss the Channel 4 TV programme, The Great British Paraorchestra. The programme first screened on 9th September, 2012 but is still accessible on the 4OD archive at You will need to set up a free account on 4OD and then you can view the programme.

I have recently started my first occupational therapy post in mental health. To keep up my skills while job-seeking, I volunteered with a group that provides performing arts classes to people with intellectual disability. In the past two years working with this group, I have become aware of the power of music as a tool for self-expression and social inclusion. Many of our participants are also able to use their love of music to overcome anxieties and to give them the motivation to work on helpful patterns and behaviours.

And it seems our performing arts group are not alone in these outcomes. Craig (2008) list many ways that occupational therapists use music: improving motor function for people with Parkinson’s disease; enhancing memory function in people with Alzheimer’s; soothing anxiety, improving mood, enhancing social participation and decreasing pain across a variety of settings.

However Craig (2008, p74) also states that “while many practitioners are using music in their treatment, most are not receiving education or conducting research on the topic, resulting in a lack of theory and efficacy reports justifying the modality”.  Occupational therapists are interested in fostering creativity and the main medium taught and researched is arts and crafts. However, music is a universal experience and may prove equally worthy of consideration as a creative medium. I hope to generate discussion points around the use of music in occupational therapy in March’s media/journal club and welcome contributions from all.


Inspired by his five-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy, and by the principles of the Paralympics, conductor Charles Hazlewood is determined to create a platform for talented disabled musicians at the top of their game.As an internationally renowned conductor who over the past six years has conducted more than 50 orchestral world premieres, from Carnegie Hall to the BBC Proms, Charles has decided to form an innovative orchestra made up entirely of talented, disabled musicians.The Great British Paraorchestra explores the challenges and the lack of opportunities facing disabled musicians in Britain today.They’ve all got stories to tell: Nicholas McCarthy, born without a right arm, is making a name for himself as a left-handed pianist; professional trumpeter Clarence Adoo, who once played in Courtney Pine’s jazz band, was paralysed from the neck down in a car accident, and now makes music on a computer using his head; and Charles puts on a fundraising concert for Charlotte White to enable her to purchase the assistive technology she needs as they prepare for their first public concert.This film explores music’s power to bring people together. It charts the formation of the British Paraorchestra and explores the musicians’ own relationship with music.

Discussion points for #Otalk

·         What is the main message that this programme intends to convey?

·         Are there any additional meanings that you derived from it, given your background as an occupational therapist?

·         Do you think occupational therapy has anything to offer to the Great British Paraorchestra? What would you do if you were working with them?

·         Do you use music in your practice? If yes, how? If no, why not?

·         What are the advantages/disadvantages of using visual media like this television programme to convey a message as opposed to written media such as a journal article?

·         The Great British Paraorchestra works with elite disabled musicians. Do you think the techniques and strategies they use apply to a wider population?

·          Given what you have seen in this programme, do you think you could use music more with your client group?


Craig, D.G.(2008). An overview of evidence-based support for the therapeutic use of music in occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 22(1), 73-95.

Hickson, S. (2012, 9th September). The Great British Paraorchestra (Television Broadcast). London:What Larks! Productions

Further Information can be found on the following websites: and


Healthcare Hashtags Transcript.

PDF: #OTalk -Journal Media Club 4th March 2014.

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