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Song Therapy Advisory Group


External Course Advisor

Dr Catherine Pestano is based in London and is an established community music leader, singer song writer and social worker. She is chair of 'Culture &' and previous chair of 'Sound Sense'. She is an external examiner for the Open University and provides our Song Therapy Network with advice and guidance as we build this supportive movement for independent community music makers worldwide. In 2019 she was awarded a Doctorate by Winchester University as acknowledgement of her contribution to practice in diversity, community music and social work.

Research and Resources

Vanessa Cecil offers us contemporary summaries of research and available resources for therapeutic music makers. Vanessa has a background in visual art, medical photography, and therapeutic training. She has exhibited widely, appeared on arts TV programmes and written for journals, contributing regularly to Disability Arts Magazine. After several years training people with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in recovery strategies, Vanessa is currently doing a PhD in psychology at the University of Exeter where she is researching gendered ageism and the experiences of older women who encounter discrimination due to their aged appearance.


Professor Matt Qvortrup is a respected author and philosopher who writes regularly for Philosophy Now magazine. He has appeared on BBC television and speaks widely on european politics. He contributes occasionally to our webinar programme and offers light entertaining reflections on philosophy music and life.

Student Support

Claire Chappel is an experienced BACP qualified counsellor and provides formal and informal support to students who might be facing challenges in their music making workplaces. She offers support via telephone, email and ZOOM. Her services are currently supplied free of charge to students. She is based in West Somerset, UK.

Course Facilitator

Nigel Neill is a professional community musician based in the south west of England running four community choirs in Taunton, Exeter, Minehead and Tiverton. He has worked extensively with learning disability groups and in life limiting care settings as well as providing on going music programmes for the brain injury charity Headway throughout Somerset; working with Parkinsons UK in North and West Somerset and providing music for those with dementia in residential home settings. He has worked closely with the mental health charity Rethink and is currently developing a music well being programme for Sompar NHS Trust. Nigel studied music therapy for two years in Bristol, before switching to counselling skills for a third year; his professional background is music performance, recording, composition and song writing; composing original instrumental music for BBC television and recording many established artists.

Song Therapy Assignment Tutors

Liz Radford and Peter Brown were among the first to complete our Song Therapy Certificate course. They provide independent support and advice for those on the course and for those planning to build their song therapy careers in the future. They also provide feedback and third party advice and have recently taken on tutoring responsibilities offering assignment feedback to students on our certificate course.

  Liz Radford has a degree in Psychology / Sociology from Lancaster University and achieved a Distinction Certificate and Enhanced Certificate in Song Therapy, studying with the Song Therapy Network. As a professional songwriter, she has written for singers, film and TV and also for leading brands and advertising companies such as Saatchi and Saatchi. Her songs have charted in several countries, including #1 on the iTunes Jazz chart in USA / Canada. Based in Dorset, UK, she continues her work as a songwriter and musician whilst developing song therapy sessions for the workplace, aimed specifically to address issues arising from stress and anxiety.

 Peter Brown is based in Winchester, Hampshire, UK, where he provides services through the Winnall Rock School (WRS); a charity that supports young people by providing free music workshops and tuition. Promoting wellbeing through the soul-bearing acts of singing and songwriting is key to this and Peter is extending links with counselling and support services to promote this.