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News and stories from McCabe

News features, stories from our guests and updates from the McCabe Educational Trust.

The Power of Music

Research has proved that learning an instrument enhances the brain’s sensitivity to sounds, including speech. Playing music can “fundamentally shape” our brains in ways that may improve and enhance every day tasks we take for granted, such as reading and listening.


Music can help children to communicate and interact with those around them, it can help them to relax and to express their emotions; it can aid children with severe emotional problems often caused or compounded by the effects of war, poverty, neglect or abuse.

Project Bethlehem


Early last summer, the McCabe Educational Trust, together with the Diocese of Rochester, became jointly involved in Project Bethlehem: a fund-raising initiative established by music therapist Claire Tillotson and Canon Paul Miller, for music therapy in an SOS children’s village and school in Bethlehem. The project has just completed its initial phase and we are delighted to bring you a first hand report of its challenges and successes:


Hannah McCabe (no direct connection to The McCabe Educational Trust!), a volunteer, helped to train six members of staff in music therapy. The staff were able to see the immediate benefits of interactive music-making on the children, including improved concentration, better communication and improved social interaction skills. Hannah’s report gives us a real insight into the music therapy we are supporting.

The SOS Village


The SOS Children’s Village is run with a very specific and unique style of care, love, psychological support and cultural/religious consideration, with the fundamental vision being that every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.


The children are between the ages of newborn and 14 and are living at the village because their parents have either died or because they come from a family which, for many reasons is unable to support and bring up a child.


During our six weeks there, we got to know everyone at the village extremely well…we got to be part of an Arabic household and gained a real insight into how their family life operated.


We were treated with such humbling kindness every day but living here also awakened our eyes to the ongoing emotional struggle these children are going through. This highlighted to us how important a role music as therapy could have here.


For more than twenty years, the McCabe Educational Trust has been creating partnerships with inspiring people we have met on pilgrimage. A special Thank You to McCabe pilgrims who helped us raise £37,094 during February contributing to a total of £65,994 raised so far this year.


With your help, we will continue helping those in need we encounter on our travels.