On Monday 1st November Sir Tom Jones received the Music Industry Trust Award (MITs), which recognises outstanding achievement in the UK music industry.
The MITs supports two charities, Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Trust (which includes the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology) and to date has raised £3.7 million.
To mark this recent achievement in Tom's career, he visited the Nordoff Robbins music therapy centre in North West London to learn a little more about what Nordoff Robbins is all about.
Nordoff Robbins is the UK’s largest charity that specialises in transforming the lives of children and adults constrained by illness, disability, trauma or isolation, through the power of music. The charity brings music's transforming power to children and adults in need, through the delivery of music therapy services, music and health projects and community music projects, as well as education programmes and research.
During Tom’s visit he met Fiifi and Frankie and joined them in their music therapy session.
Fiifi is 9 years old. He has global development delay and does not speak. Music therapy offers him a space where his non-verbal communications form the basis of flexible, shared music making with the therapist. It also encourages him to sustain interactions for longer.
Frankie is 8. He also can’t speak and has a diagnosis of autism. Although he does not have speech Frankie uses his voice very expressively and also communicates with eye contact and gestures. He is often energetic and likes to wonder around the room but music seems to help calm him and he can sit and listen for more sustained lengths of time now. Frankie has become more aware of the musical interaction since he began coming to music therapy.
Tom spent the afternoon with Fiifi and Frankie, playing instruments and singing to them. He was astounded at how positively they responded to music and enjoyed seeing their reactions to the sound of his voice.
Tom said: “Having an opportunity to visit Nordoff Robbins and meet some of their clients, including Fiifi and Frankie, was a real honour. Many of us feel the power of music and know the important role it plays in our daily lives, but no one more so than Fiifi, Frankie and all the other kids and adults helped every day across the country by Nordoff Robbins. I got to see first hand how music therapy actually works—how it reaches people in a very deep way. I got just a glimpse of the internal world these boys live in, and at the same time I could see them responding to what was going on in the session—it was magical. Music in any form is the most powerful of all the communication tools—we all experience sounds in a unique but shared way. I saw how these boys could hear, and how they responded, and how progress could be made in a really meaningful way.”
David Munns, Chairman of Nordoff Robbins and Chairman of the MITs Award committee said: “Tom Jones is one of those rare beings, a timeless entertainer, a great guy, who clearly loves what he does, and whose talent appeals to successive generations. Tom is Mr Cool, one of the world’s greatest singers and performers and we are extremely proud and honoured that he is the 2010 recipient of the Music Industry Trusts Award.
“Tom’s visit to our music therapy centre in London was a great opportunity for him to see first hand the difference music can make to the lives of many thousands of people both young and old constrained by illness, disability, trauma or isolation, working with Nordoff Robbins therapists everyday to make a positive difference to their lives.”
The lovely photographs below show Tom on his visit, having fun with Fiifi on the piano.
Photography by Simon Webb