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The University of Southampton

Ms Sarah Hodkinson 

Lecturer in Music

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Ms Sarah Hodkinson is a Lecturer in Music at the University of Southampton.

I lead the teaching of music therapy studies in our Music programme at Southampton. This offers our students the opportunity to sample music therapy for the first time, or, for those interested in this career choice, to direct their studies towards developing the skills and experience needed for postgraduate study. I am passionate about teaching our students about real-life music therapy as well as the theory, therefore I am a lecturer, music therapy clinician and researcher, able to share cutting-edge research and everyday examples from my practice.

Within our undergraduate programme I teach Introduction to Music Therapy, a second year module introducing the discipline of music therapy and community music. A third year module, Music Therapy: Beneath the Surface, is available to students wishing to deepen their understanding and to undertake practical placements at local centres and with special partners in the south of England. These modules engage the students in topical questions about the use of the arts within healthcare both nationally and internationally, the complexity of researching this discipline, and the impact of this music profession.

I am a graduate of Southampton, and went on to study music therapy in New York and at the Berklee College of Music, Boston under the tutelage of Dr Louise Montello. I completed my professional postgraduate music therapy training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and furthered my studies completing a Masters at the University of the West of England.

For many years I have held the post of Lead Therapist at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, performing psychotherapeutic work with children who have life-limiting illnesses, post-bereavement therapy, and family and therapeutic group work. I lead a multi-professional team of therapists who provide holistic, family-centred paediatric palliative care. I am part of a long-term steering group introducing the use of therapeutic music in Eastern Europe, assisting in the de-institutionalisation of existing social care systems for children (such as large orphanages), and supporting and educating non-governmental organisations in the development of programmes of care for children with multiple disabilities.

Research interests

I research the therapeutic benefits of music, specifically for vulnerable client groups. At Southampton this often involves cross-discipline research with the School of Medicine, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) and the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service (USAIS).

I am a member of Southampton’s Music Focus Group, and have recently undertaken two AHRC funded research projects to create a rehabilitation programme that helps adult cochlear implant users benefit therapeutically from re-engagement with music. Two participatory-design projects have resulted in an online interactive music awareness programme, the IMAP, and a Good Practice Guide for specialist therapists.

Research within my clinical field includes a unique, longitudinal scoping project of music therapy in children’s hospices across the UK. The initial findings of this joint work with Professor Leslie Bunt can be found in ‘Music Therapy in children’s hospices: an evaluative survey of provision’. Recent findings have been published in a chapter I have written within ‘Music Therapy in Children and Young People’s Palliative Care’. Following on from this preliminary research, I have developed a bespoke outcome measure for music therapy in a paediatric palliative care setting.

My music therapy development work abroad has involved collaboration with Speech and Language therapist Deborah Green, creating an approach named ‘Communication Through Music’, which draws on the principles of music therapy, and speech and language therapy. The British Ambassador in Moldova recently held a launch and reception for the foundation of this approach in ten centres across Moldova. This research includes the use of Speech and Language therapy assessment tools to appraise the development of communication skills within music therapy.

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Articles and Chapters

‘Are we singing from the same song sheet? The scope and provision of music therapy in children’s hospices’ In Music Therapy in Children and Young People’s Palliative Care, ed. Anna Ludwig. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2019

(with Bunt, L. & Daykin, N.) ‘Music Therapy in children’s hospices: an evaluative survey of provision.’ The Arts in Psychotherapy 41, no. 5 (2014): 570–576.

(with van Besouw, R.M., Nicholls, D.R., Oliver, B.R., & Grasmeder, M.L.) ‘Aural rehabilitation through music workshops for cochlear implant users.’ Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 25, no. 4 (2014): 311–323. Available at:

(with Holmes, C., Knights, A., Dean, C., & Hopkins, V.) ‘Keep music live: music and the alleviation of apathy in dementia subjects.’ International Psychogeriatrics 18, no. 4 (2006): 623–630.

‘High Anxiety.’ Classical Music (August 2004): 25–26.

‘First Night Nerves.’ Music Teacher (October 2004): 44–45.


Conference Papers & Presentations

‘How can clients with cochlear implants get more from music?’ Counterpoints: Music Therapy Practice in the 21st century, 1st British Association for Music Therapy Conference, Birmingham, 2014.

‘More from music: music rehabilitation for cochlear implant users.’ 14th World Congress of Music Therapy, Vienna, 2014.

‘Music rehabilitation for cochlear implantees: the role of the music therapist.’ Avant-Garde, 38th Conference of the Canadian Association of Music Therapy, Montreal, 2012.

(with Bunt, L., & Daykin, N.) ‘An Evaluative Survey of Music Therapy Provision in children’s hospices in the UK.’ Presented to Jessie’s Fund, 2012.


Online Resources

(with van Besouw, R.M., Nicholls, D.R., Oliver, B.R. & Grasmeder, M.L.) The Interactive Music Awareness Programme (IMAP) for cochlear implant users. Available at:

Music Workshops for Adult Cochlear Implant Users: A good practice guide. University of Southampton, 2013.





Ms Sarah Hodkinson
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 2

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