Music therapy is a powerful medium and great tool for children at Acorns. Music therapist Leanne explains the importance of her sessions and says music has a big impact on how we feel. It evokes memories and feelings, and it can be used in a therapeutic way to create change.
Some people can be a bit intimidated by the thought of music therapy – “I can’t play an instrument,” is something I hear often. But that doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be musically talented to benefit from music therapy.
Music is such a creative medium which has the power to create change and help people. Every single person can get something out of music therapy, and it is a fantastic tool for the children at Acorns.
By using music therapy at our hospices, we can help lift the positive environment which already exists even further. We can create happiness and joy and encourage positive mental health and wellbeing.
As well as this, music therapy can also encourage the progress of developmental skills, social skills, motor skills, and emotional resilience. All of these can be enhanced through music. The use of instruments and singing allows children to use their bodies and voices as they may never have before.
When I get asked what a typical session looks like it’s a little hard to say as they vary depending on the child. I always like to begin with my ‘Hello song’ which I play on one of my colourful ukuleles and we end with a ‘Goodbye song.’ But what happens in the middle will be led by the child.
Some children will tell me what they want to do. For others, that’s more difficult so I pay attention to what they react to. If the child starts using their hands, I will use lots of instruments. If they start singing, we will do some singing exercises. It’s very much what I think the child would benefit from and if one thing doesn’t work, we try something else.
We invite families to get involved too which creates a positive family experience. I’ve worked with families who have never seen their child respond as they do in the sessions. It gives them new ways to interact with their child. I’ve even known parents go away and buy instruments after a session.
I’m very honoured to do the work that I do. I know that music is such a beneficial tool but seeing a child smile or hearing them sing- there’s just no better feeling. Going home knowing that I’ve had a really positive impact on a child is just great.