They say you learn something new every day. And my clients are like fountains, pearls and springs when music is involved. Here are a few random tidbits - knowledge, wisdom and truths - I've learned along the way which you might be interested in.
I quietly loaded my instruments and gear into the delightfully large boot of my car early on Tuesday this week. Brushing out the sand from my relaxing, much needed summer break, appreciating again the wonderfully accommodating size of my station wagon's boot, I began to think about my year ahead. As I did so, I began to smile, celebrating how calm I felt in the face of my forthcoming schedule and commitments. There would be fewer places to go this year, a more focused case-list of people to see, and a glorious amount of therapeutic music to be made.
With looking forward comes reflecting back, and I began to think about my tiny red Peugeot hatchback I had when I first began my Masters and as I started out as a registered music therapist. Eager, ready to go, darting here and there going everywhere it could whenever it could. I started 2012 as a Master of Music Therapy Graduand - completed the Masters, awaiting my marks, but not yet graduated - with two contracts over two half days, and by the end of the year I had six contracts and a more than full week of work. (Putting it like that might make it sound easy, I can assure you hard work and dedication built that amount of contract work so quickly)....
Over the past six years I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a splendid, resilient, caring, fun group of people. We've been singing together at the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research, singing in a choir, but for therapeutic reasons. As you may have and can read in our various research and write-ups (check out where to read more here), quality of life is better if you sing! People living with Parkinson's might sing in a choir to maintain their breath control and strength of voice, while people who have experienced a stroke might join as a way to reconnect with their voice, regain their confidence and speech. It's a way to join in, exercise our voices and sing songs we know, and 'work' on the hard stuff.
I'm celebrating these six years, as it has come time for me to step back from co-leading the choir, in order to focus on other work which is continuing to grow. I will be popping back from time to time to locum with the choir when needed, so it's, 'So long, farewell" but also, "Auf wiedersehen" - until we meet again. Yes, amongst many we have been singing The Sound of Music!
There have been so many highlights, and so many meaningful moments and stories. I will think of the choir every time I pull a tiger face or a lemon face, every time I sing 'Haere Mai', and every time someone taps their watch - ready and raring to start making music! I have learned a lot from each and every choir member and they have a lot to teach the world about resilience, perspective, dedication, fellowship, empathy and warmth. In writing their x-mas cards I found myself continually thanking each of them for their warm smiles, and it was an invigorating reminder of just how much a smile can mean, and how far it can go.
Here's to you, CeleBRation Choir!
A wee video I put together with the choir earlier this year - I love the final comment, "The bikkies!!..gotta remember that".
Go to: www.cbr.Auckland.ac.nz/choir for more videos and photos
I love being a member of Music Therapy New Zealand Council - being part of what's happening on a national level is so exciting, and so much has been happening! Looking forward to what's coming in 2018!
We met recently over a weekend, kindly hosted by Linda, Council chair, and Nolan, Council member, for some intense, fruitful strategic planning and a highly beneficial governance workshop with Tim Walker (www.timwalker.co.nz). Here you see us taking a quick but very yummy lunch break!
Many thanks to Spectrum Care for their support of their service users accessing Music Therapy. Since 2014 in various places at different times I have been providing individual and small group Music Therapy in West Auckland and on the North Shore. Maricor, a Spectrum Care Outcomes Broker, asked me to write about David's experiences - happy reading!
- Since I wrote this, David has joined a music therapy group, going from strength to strength!
(Just a reminder, any and all information and images of clients are shared with consent).
Contributing to this book really was a journey in itself. When I was invited by Claire, the music therapist I most want to be when I grow up, I began to consider what and how I might contribute. I started to think about what I had previously written about, and what I wanted to say next about my experiences as a music therapist. Read, digest and let me know what you think!
PS very exciting news - Jessica Kingsley Publishers are picking up our book!!!
As a registered music therapist, one inevitably and often contends with the quandry: I want to share and celebrate about the work, but the work is therapy - it works because it is private and about the confidential space and relationship between client and therapist.
So here I seek to share about the elements of the work I feel I can, and that which clients and their loved ones/carers have given consent for - with my thanks.
NZ Registered Music Therapist, co-creator, songbird, collaborator, advocate, lover-of-music.