The Mentally Challenged

Mentally disabled, mentally unstable, weak, lost, or depressed young people, officially called ‘persons with intellectual disabilities’:

ronnie gardiner method

The synopsis of the method (in more detail) and copied here in a shorter version: RGM is a novel rhythm- and music-based rehabilitation method that has been used within Swedish healthcare and rehabilitation since 1993, with international dissemination since 2009. The Ronnie Gardiner Method (RGM) is a structured, multimodal and multi-sensory exercise method which combines movement and cognitive challenge in a playful way in order to improve cognitive functions like concentration, coordination, and memory. It also enhances postural control, energy, motivation and lifts the mood. The RGM is built on the scientific principles of motor control, motor learning, postural control, and neuroplasticity, including new ideas of enriched environment. The method is used to address many conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, MS, stroke, acquired brain injury, children with reading and learning difficulties and also as an activity to enhance healthy aging.

about the method in Spanish

It has now passed 35 years since the birth of the method.  It was in 1980 that a personal tragedy was to transform Ronnie’s life and seriously awaken his interest in the workings of the brain and its functions. With his knowledge and prowess of playing the drums he began to develop a form of training with the object of stimulating the brain as much as possible.


Chesham example: weekly or biweekly gettogethers for disabled people, where they could sing, make music together and through that develop social skills and it is a good place for social interaction.

british academy of sound therapy

The British Academy of Sound Therapy (sound and voice therapy workshops) (UK)

Estonian example of social inclusion of mentally ill young people:
It’s a 5-part programme called “Punk Therapy”. TV show was actually inspired by the success story of Finnish ensemble Pertti Kurikkaan Nimipäivät. Here nine young people with different mental disadvantages started dreaming about making the band. The band’s mentor was the flagship of the Estonian folk-metal music “Metsatöll”. Five-part TV programme shows in a very hearty and warm way the path from very beginning to the real concert on stage.
Programme was made by Kaidor Kahar (
Click on the photo and you’ll see the video about the program.

guided imagery

Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is a music psychotherapeutic method in which the patient hears a selection of mostly classical music in a relaxed state and communicates his experience (= imaginations) to the therapist. Theoretical background, clinical application, as well as method-specific understanding of music and imagination theory of GIM and its modifications – these areas are covered in this textbook. The authors give a detailed and comprehensive insight into the method, both for psychotherapeutic and medical professionals, and for GIM training candidates.

The Paraphony Orchestra
A child with Down Syndrome easily playing classical music with the help of the Ulwila method

The ULWILA method (adapted to Hungary by Anna Vető in 1991): The key concept of the ULWILA method is based on the fact that the inability to read normal sheet music served as the greatest impediment for individuals struggling with intellectual challenges to make music collectively. Ullrich became the father of a new method of reading music with the help of a color scheme that replaces the 5 bar line system.

Each tone of the diatonic scale has a different color. These colours, which appear in the score, are also indicated beside the strings, pipes and keys of the instruments. According to Ullrich’s method, the children can match a tone with its corresponding colour without even knowing the names of the colors (Ullrich  & Vető 1996).

See more:

The semitone is simply denoted by the two colours, which the tone is between.

The marking of the rhythm is also simple: The quarter note is a full circle, a half note is two circles interlinked, the whole note consists of four circles and an eighth note is a semicircle. The musical rest is marked by a blank hexagon. Further rhythm values denoted according to the above rules.

Instead of barlines the notation use signs for the strong beat.

It is also important to mention that the method uses only the colors that can be find in nature. The method uses dark colours for lower and light for the upper tones. Therefore, the visual manifestation of the notation supports musical understanding. Skilled players after years of learning are able to play from a partiture.

One of the most important characteristics of this method is that it teaches music in groups. This is different from the western tradition of instrumental music education which is based on a method of instruction where musicians gain experience through individual lessons.
/Tiszai, L. 2015, March 07. Consonante / The Precursory Model: ULWILA/
original ULWILA music scores

The orchestra playing with this method and whose founder was Anna Vető in 1997 is the Paraphony orchestra. The association, whose umbrella this orchestra is under is the “Music Belongs to Everyone” Association, who has just been promoted for the Prima Primissima 2018 prize (HU language only), which will be announced in Dec, 2018.


Talent and being mentally challenged” (written in Hungarian), a writing by dr. Katalin Gruiz (president of the Down Syndrome Foundation)


Anna Vető, music therapist

Anna Vető is the leader of Nem Adom Fel! (Never Give Up!) Foundation’s Léleköntő (Soul Filler Program). She works in the field of autism currently, with affected people and their families.

We have asked her to be one of the presenters on our conference on the 27th of November, 2018 and this is her presentation in Hungarian, which will be translated to English at a later date.


A NORCE research on the subject: Relationship matters

NORCE is a new and forward-looking research institute, with expertise in a wide range of fields and strong communities of knowledge. They deliver research and innovation in energy, health care, climate, the environment, society and technology. Their solutions address key challenges for society and contribute to value creation on the local, national and global levels.


The TIME-A Project (a project measuring the impact of improvisational music on autistic children). The project was conducted by Uni Research Health at Grieg Academy Music Research Centre (published in Aug 2017)

krems uni

Ongoing research at Krems University, Austria:
Horizons of personalised music therapy in neurorehabilitation
The university’s Health Sciences department has many publications, so that is also a good place to do a bit of reading about ongoing researches.

Aphasia (Acquired Brain Injury)

Learning to speak all over again…

Aphasia is the name given to a collection of language disorders caused by damage to the brain. A requirement for a diagnosis of aphasia is that, prior to the illness or injury, the person‘s language skills were normal. The difficulties of people with aphasia can range from occasional trouble  ending words to losing the ability to speak, read, or write, but does not affect intelligence. The term „aphasia“ implies a problem with one or more functions that are essential and specific to language function. Aphasia is most commonly caused by stroke. It can also be caused by other brain diseases, including cancer (brain tumour), epilepsy, and Alzheimer‘s disease, or by a head injury.


Aphasie Choir in Hungary lead by Zsófia Fekete:, the union of those who can speak again.


In the UK: They offer day service three times a week which includes art, drama, music therapy, peer support groups, exercise classes, yoga and IT Support. They also offer counselling, neuro-physiotherapy, befriending service and a community outreach service.