UK Charity Nordoff Robbins and Gibson team up with the band Monster Truck to give a young fan an unforgettable surprise

Nordoff Robbins
(Image credit: Nordoff Robbins)

Nine year old Phoenix attends a Nordoff Robbins music therapy centre in London and it's changed his life. 

Phoenix spent his early childhood in and out of hospital due to an immune disorder and when he hadn't begun to speak by the age of two and was eventually diagnosed with a speech delay, his mum Fior turned to the UK's largest music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins after hearing about its successful work and Phoenix began working with musical therapist Kwaku. 

“It was amazing how quickly he bonded with Kwaku. He built up his trust and became a really important role model in his life – someone that could help him to express himself without being judged," says Fior. 

When we can’t find the words, music therapy helps us to speak in a different way

"Phoenix could pick up whatever instrument he wanted and Kwaku would let him lead. He’d go into music therapy and come out happy and confident. Singing was also a big part of the sessions. This really helped him develop his voice. The words, that understanding and the meaning behind them just came together. When we can’t find the words, music therapy helps us to speak in a different way."

During the lockdowns Phoenix discovered a love for guitar via online lessons and attended his first gig earlier this year; Canadian band Monster Truck. The band decided to repay Phoenix the favour the next day.

Calling it at the Croydon Centre, they surprised the young rocker with not just a shiny new Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul but a guitar lesson and jam with Monster Truck's Jeremy Widerman.

Widerman gave Phoenix some pointers on the band's track Golden Woman, and was hugely impressed with the results. As are we! Check it out in the video above, and keep rocking, Phoenix! 

For more information on the incredible work Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy do visit

Monster Truck's Jeremy Widerman: the 10 records that changed my life

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.