Impact of music therapy on individual lives

I live in a small community and have an opportunity to spend time with nearly every person with special needs around here throughout their lifetime. I’ve known some of my music therapy friends for over 30 years. Every week we see many of these individuals taking steps forward in their ability and willingness to, for example, communicate, to interact with others, to be more self-sufficient, to work cooperatively with others, to read, to complete a task or project, to learn to make music more independently, or other cool things that impact their quality of life. Every week I observe some rather miraculous moments in music therapy, e.g., first words, first time to reach out, first time to connect on a personal level, first laugh. Some are the stuff of television specials, movies, and best-seller books if we were so inclined. On the other hand, it takes a microscope and a very optimistic, highly observant attitude to find bits of forward progress with other MT friends. But I firmly believe in the incalculable value of my on-going personal relationships with these folks and their families/caregivers. Music therapy allows me to provide the sound of a familiar voice, the presence of a long-time loyal friend, the enjoyment of mutual music-making, the wonder of exploring new topics and new music, and close and personal interaction with my MT friends, some of whom are too loud, too aggressive, too unattractive, too unresponsive for the “real world.” I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

My daily work as a music therapist is also reflected in the mission of “We focus on providing inexpensive, easy-to-access, self-study e-courses to broaden and extend clinical and professional knowledge, skills, and expertise, equipping therapists to maximize the potential and enhance the quality of life of those with whom they work.”