Music as Therapy: Swiss Cottage SEND School (Camden 2023)

Young Artists Sophia Elger (sax) and Eliza Talman (trumpet) work with Greta Thunburg class on music and the senses at Swiss Cottage SEND school

We have partnered with Swiss Cottage School Development and Research Centre for over five years, creating bespoke musical experiences for different classes throughout the school.

Most recently in Spring 2023 our Young Artists Sophia Elger (saxophone) and Eliza Talman (trumpet) led nine session with Greta Thunburg class (9 students aged 10-12 years, a mixture of formal and semi-formal learners) on a music project linking to a wider teaching theme: the senses.  Taking a different sense as a starting point each week, the students were introduced to rhythm, pitch, dynamics and tempo. The students joined in with drums, xylophones, hands, etc to demonstrate and individual students led the others.

Senior Music Teaching Assistant Thiago Costa Behrndt said that “[t]he young musicians and students developed a real relationship during the period of the course. Students were impressed by the musicians music skills, appreciated their ideas for lessons, and grew fond of their personalities. I believe Eliza and Sophia were a very good choice of musicians for this project as they have demonstrated interest, empathy, patience and curiosity, beside their obvious musical talents.”


Young Artist Sophia Elger (sax), Company volunteer Ann Redfearn and Young Artist Eliza Talman (trumpet) after a session at Swiss Cottage SEND school

Sophia Elger (sax) said “[i]t was a lovely class to teach and we felt that we had shared intimate moments with many of the students during the games that we had invented. It was really quite sad not to be going back after having been with them for a total of 9 weeks but I am sure that the future Young Artists will enjoy taking the classes as much as we did.”


Interview by Suzy Willmott

Suzy is freelance copywriter who works with the Musicians’ Company