As music uses many different areas of the brain, this enables participation even when parts of the brain are failing due to illness or damage. So, for instance, when speech or motor skills are not fully functioning, a person may still respond to rhythm, melody or harmony. Active engagement in music also stimulates other areas of the brain, for example, someone who may have lost the ability to talk may be able to sing the words of a familiar song.
What happens in a music therapy session?
Music therapists are trained to improvise so can work with whatever their client does. In some cases, they would use familiar songs, at other times they might create some music together with the client. They use a variety of percussion instruments, so enabling anybody to take an active part. They also draw on their clients’ preferences, facilitating them in expressing themselves by providing harmony and musical support.
A means of expression
Music is an effective medium through which to express emotions, so it can help to release difficult feelings which sometimes are unable to be verbalized. This can be effective for a whole range of emotions such as anxiety, anger, and grief. Sometimes it can be a first step to verbalizing a difficult feeling.
Who might benefit?
As music therapy does not depend on speech it can be especially helpful when speech is limited. People with conditions such as dementia, a learning disability, autism, or brain injury, might benefit.
Even when someone has verbal skills, music offers a different form of expression.
Group or individual work?
Making music with others is naturally sociable and encourages listening, cooperation, and using non-verbal communication. It offers opportunities for interaction, reducing isolation, and experiencing the support of others within a group. Sometimes this social element is a vital part of music therapy. However, individual therapy may be appropriate, if someone has a high level of need or particular personal difficulties.
Frances Attwood did her initial training at the Guildhall, London in 2001. She has since gained an MA in Music Therapy from the University of the West of England. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, has DBS clearance and undergoes regular training in safeguarding.
She practiced from 2002 to 2009 at the Coda Music Centre in Walkford with children and adults with a variety of needs, from learning disabilities and autism to social and emotional needs. She lived and worked in Uganda for five years, mainly with children with special needs. Recently she has been running groups for people with dementia and their carers who are living within the community.
How much do you charge?
Group sessions £5-£10 (depending on size of group) per hour
Individual sessions cost £50 per hour pro rata
How do I contact you?
Phone: 07500 117814
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