James Robertson is a composer, music therapist, choral conductor and lecturer. From 2005 to 2013 he was the Programme Leader of the MSc Music Therapy (Nordoff Robbins) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. He has published many songs for use in music therapy as well compositions and arrangements for choirs.
James Robertson comes from Helensburgh. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), studying composition with Frank Spedding and winning several prizes in harmony and composition. He then studied as a music therapist at the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London and later trained as a music teacher at Dundee College of Education.
As a composer, James has published many songs for music therapy purposes. He has also written and arranged extensively for choirs. His largest-scale work, Requiem for the Innocent, is scored for choir, orchestra and soloists. He has conducted several choirs throughout Scotland and is currently the Musical Director of Lauderdale Community Choir in the Scottish Borders.
As a music therapist, James began working with adults with learning disabilities in East Lothian and later with children who had a range of additional support needs in schools throughout Perthshire. James also worked as a music teacher in Kinross High School. In 1992 he moved to Northern College in Aberdeen where he focused particularly on the overlap between music therapy and music education with students studying to become music teachers in schools. In 2002 James was appointed Programme Co-ordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma in Music Therapy (Nordoff-Robbins) at the Moray House School of Education (University of Edinburgh). This programme transferred to Queen Margaret University in 2005 and was then offered at Masters level; James was the Programme Leader until 2013. As a clinician, James continued to work in a range of settings including palliative care, forensic psychiatry, autism and perinatal depression. His doctoral research investigated the potential health benefits that may be acquired by patients and staff in a forensic unit when singing in a choir. James lives in Edinburgh and now works on a freelance basis. He also supervises music therapists in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Since 2014 he has been a Visiting Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University.