Suffolk Music Therapy Services
Making music, changing lives.
Music therapy is a process through which children and adults can express themselves, become aware of their feelings and interact more easily. Through making music with the therapist, a range of benefits may be achieved.
The music therapist is trained to improvise music spontaneously with the child or adult. Through improvised music-making an immediate and personal relationship begins to form. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' notes in music therapy. Instead, the person is encouraged to use a variety of musical instruments to find their own personal 'voice' and to develop listening, communicating and relating.
The therapist, a highly skilled and trained musician - accompanies and supports the person in their development. The therapist listens and responds to the person through the improvised music. Together the person and their therapist build a shared understanding through their music-making and this informs the aims and intentions for the therapy. The aims of music therapy are tailored to the needs of each individual, but might include:
"A fundamental aim of the music therapist is to allow the experience of making music to be a positive one that brings comfort, peace, meaning, joy, challenge, insight and hope to a person who lacks and needs these things".
Music is all around us. Music forms our heritage, culture, identity and spiritual beliefs. We have music played at football matches, in shopping centres, churches and on the television. Music is a powerful medium which can affect us all deeply. Music can affect our mood. It may help us to relax when we have had a long day at work or school.
Alternatively, it can stimulate and motivate us when we are at the gym or a party. Music therapy is based on the understanding that everyone of us is musical - we are all able to respond to music, no matter what our age, impairment or psychological situation. Both children and adults with a wide range of needs and difficulties make use of music therapy. Therapists work with both individuals and small groups. Those who benefit from music therapy may include people who experience:
- Acquired disabilities (e.g. stroke)
- Autistic spectrum disorders
- Emotional and behavioural difficulties
- Impact of old age
- Music therapy provides a means of communication and self expression, when words are either not an option or are inadequate.
- Music therapy may lead to increased interaction and concentration for individuals with communication difficulties.
- Music therapy can raise self-esteem, confidence and dignity, because there can be a real sense of achievement in making music.
- It gives control and choice for people who have very little or no control over other aspects of their lives.
- Music therapy can help to lower anxiety levels and encourage improvement in co-ordination skills, because music can be a great motivator.
- Music therapy adds a spiritual dimension and can help to give people's lives meaning and purpose.
- Music therapy can provide psychological and emotional support for individuals experiencing difficult life situations (e.g. bereavement, family breakdown, depression).
It can simply bring fun and enjoyment to people who may not be able to participate in other activities.
- Music therapy may help to contribute toward the health and well-being of the 'community' and individuals within.
- Learning disabilities
- Life-limiting illness
- Neurological impairment
- Sensory impairment
- Speech and language disorders