First Blind Student in England to graduate in Music Therapy

Issue date: 18 November 2016


Carl Morgan

Carl Morgan, a mature student from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) will become the first blind person in England to have achieved a Masters Degree in Music Therapy. Carl hopes to inspire other visually impaired and disabled people to pursue their dreams, when he graduates on 21 November 2016 at Bristol Cathedral.

Carl, a registered blind person, decided to return to higher education after a break of 14 years to follow his lifetime love of music to study to become a Music Therapist. Previously Carl, highly trained in classical and popular styles of guitar, piano and singing, enjoyed working in England and Cyprus as a performer, teacher and workshop leader.

Music Therapy is a psychological therapy which uses the unique qualities of music as a means of interaction between therapist and clients. Instruments and voices are used to enable people to communicate in their own musical language whatever their ability. Music therapists work in a wide range of disciplinary areas such as hospitals, schools, prisons, day centres, care homes and private practices.

Carl was the first blind student to have joined the course and with the support of Programme Leader, Cathy Warner, Tutor Ben Saul and Disability Services at UWE Bristol, Carl displayed great tenacity to overcome a number of obstacles during his studies to successfully complete his degree.

Cathy Warner says, “Carl's determination is outstanding. His impressive achievements have come about by hard work and his openness when reflecting on his learning. He has worked closely with the course team, and in particular with senior lecturer Ben Saul. We have been moved by Carl's placement work, and his insight into the emotional needs of the people he has worked with.”

On receiving his degree, Carl says, "I will feel really honoured when I walk up to the stage to receive my certificate. I've had to overcome many challenges returning to Higher Education after such a long period, but I'm delighted to have achieved my goal of qualifying as a Music Therapist.

“Graduation will be a great achievement for us all. My course mates have been very supportive to myself and each other both on placement and in relation to academic work. Music Therapy has in one way, always been a profession that has involved too many visual aids, for a blind person to work in, e.g. eye contact and facial expressions. However, I've shown by working with an appropriate client group that Music Therapy does not have to be visual.

“I'm really thankful to Cathy, Ben and Disability Services for their continuous support and working with me to identify the extra support that I needed to help me reach my potential.

“Ben Saul, the clinical supervisor who I have worked with over the past two years has made me realise that although I might miss out visually on some aspects I still have a great deal to offer as a music therapist in terms of musical ability and personal qualities.

“I'm looking forward to starting work as a music therapist. I hope that I can inspire other visually impaired and disabled people, to give them the confidence to pursue a Masters Degree in Music Therapy. I have learned that if you really want to achieve your goals in life you have to work hard, take constructive criticism and listen to advice.”

To find out more about working with Carl Morgan, visit his website - www.carlmorganmusic.co.uk

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